Age: 20, b-day is 8/27. Graduate of MLK High in Nashville, TN. Attends MU in PA. Loves football, soccer, Frisbee, Scouts, Science Olympiad.
By: Astrometeor , 11:42 PM GMT on February 03, 2014
Well, this is a pretty simple topic on face value. Want to hear it? You don't? To bad, I'm still going to say something.
Good teachers, in essence, make learning fun and accessible, no matter the grade, ability, or socioeconomic status of the student. Everyone learns when a good teacher is in the room. Case in point, my Honors Algebra I teacher from 8th grade. I got, oh say 90s on her tests, but a 98 on the state final (the only Q I missed we didn't learn due to an epic flood canceling school in 2010). Everyone in my grade got a 96 or higher that year of the EOC (End-Of-Course state test), even the ones that were failing her class. She was, and is, a good teacher.
Bad teachers, on the other hand are (usually) easy to make out. They just stand there and drone on, day after day, with no variability in the lessons, and no care for the student populace. This, unfortunately, even happens in my school. Quite visibly in some aspects, too. One teacher (no names for fear of unfair punishment) will even begin to drift into her personal life which the kids could care less about. The Central Office of the district defended the teacher saying "the kids get good scores on the AP test, so your accusations are unfounded." Well, of course the students still got good grades because they belong to the rare breed of students that actually care how well they do in school. These kids took it upon themselves to form study groups, print off old tests, and teach themselves the material. And then they told the principal that the teacher was horribly inaccurate. Against Central Office's wishes, our old principal demoted the teacher (union rules wouldn't allow us to fire her) to a life of teaching art to 7th graders, a subject that is harmless to the students.
The Central Office highlighted its ignorance of the workplace in a series of meetings, by one worker going, "Oh, we just can't fire people for not doing their job sufficiently, that would be ridiculous and the union would throw a fit." Apparently (I was not there), every single parent's mouth dropped to the floor, and my mother responded with, "I could be fired right now for almost no reason at all." Now, it was the Central Office employee's turn for the mouth to drop. Complete willful ignorance, and another example that has pushed my mother to ask for charter schools. Public schools in the South just don't work.
Now, how to fix? First, get rid of stupid union bargaining rights. The "we teachers are underpaid" will only work when I see actual improvement. Earn that raise! If you entered the teacher workforce for money, then you are in the wrong business. Yes, I understand that everyone needs a living wage, however, if you are not fulfilling your basic job requirement (teaching kids), then your low wage is completely justified. Which brings me around to another point. Fire a teacher for not teaching kids anything. Please. Don't force other schools to hire "displaced teachers" unless the teacher was displaced for something that won't affect students, like arguing with principal over dress codes. Try to hire someone who has a degree in the field and a teaching certificate. I don't want to be learning physics from someone who only claims a "teaching certificate", I want to know that my teacher actually knows his/her stuff.
Yes, there are good teachers out there, I definitely don't want to put them in a bad light. But, the nature of how the educational system works down here is simply ludicrous. Run the system like a business, with the product being smart, intelligent students, and progress will be made. Fire the workers (teachers, administrators, counselors) who slack off on the job or aren't enthused by their job.
That's another thing. I've met too many teachers with either short tempers or a disdain for students. If you don't have patience, or if you don't like kids, why are you even here?
Well, this is the end of Part One. Part Two will follow hopefully in the next two or three weeks. I have underestimated how fast time flies when one is busy, it seems. Oh well. Maybe I'll get this series done by the end of summer, if I'm lucky. College might give me more free time than I've had all of senior year, lol. Thanks for reading everyone.
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