Tuesday, February 28, 2012

No Teacher Wants Bad Teachers In The Profession

Let's get one thing straight--NO TEACHER WANTS BAD TEACHERS TEACHING.  Doing clean up, after a child has had one of these is not fun.  It is impossible to teach division if a child can't multiply and you certainly can't teach Shakespeare if the student can't read.  It is painful to listen to kids term after term complain about someone who can't teach when you know that child is correct and you can't say a word in agreement.

The schools don't need a new way to evaluate teachers.  There always was a good method in place.  It is only under the reign of Bloomberg that things like value added data has become important.  Administrators, who used to be required to teach for 10 years before they became assistant principals knew their subject and knew how to teach inexperienced teachers how to teach.  They spent more than 5 minutes in the classroom and were master teachers themselves in the subjects they were in charge of.  When, for example, a math teacher is put in charge of a special education program there is bound to be trouble because the person has no idea what good teaching should entail.  The same goes for the guy who became a principal through the leadership academy or some other back road and knows nothing of academics.

It used to be teachers that needed help were given it.  Senior teachers took newbies under their wing, shared lessons, gave guidance.  Now, it is dog eat dog as one teacher's statistics are compared to another.  The teacher with 10% failing will be in trouble when compared to the one with 6% failing although the numbers themselves can't involve more than one child and no one bothers to look at the background of the children that fail.  It used to be that teachers who gave it all, who came in early, stayed late and gave up preps in an effort to help were rewarded and thanked for this effort.  Now, it is thanks for the effort but the numbers count more.  It is more important for a data specialist to help with numbers than it is to help with students.

One of the ways the colleges evaluate their adjuncts and new teachers is with student evaluation forms at the end of each semester.  If 30 students currently in a class say the same negative things about a teacher, maybe they are right.  In contrast, if 25 say good things and 5 say otherwise, that says something as well.  In addition, the teacher is observed by a colleague, a colleague who knows the subject and knows about teaching.  BAD TEACHERS ARE NOT REHIRED.  The college doesn't need a data specialist because it knows the kids come in as a mixed bag.  The college knows the data specialist does nothing to enhance learning.  The teacher can't make students buy the text, do homework or go for help.  The teacher is required to teach and engage, plain and simple.

Plenty has been written and said about that awful idea of grading and releasing teacher numbers so I won't go into it here.  I don't know if the system can even go back to hiring qualified administrators as most of the people qualified are long gone but there has got to be a better way than releasing meaningless numbers, numbers designed to hurt, not help.


Anonymous said...

I started in 1997 and refer to that time as the old system. It had its flaws, but one flaw that I did not see in the two schools that I worked in during 97 and 98 were APs who were not masters of content. Rare is the day now when an English AP in a high school can enter any given English class, ask what book is being read and without hesitation can ask the class to turn to any chapter to produce an appropriate discussion. It is a shame and truth that much of the public has no idea about.

Ms. Tsouris said...

I can still count on one hand the number of really bad teachers I encountered during my 33+ years in the system. Yes, they exist. If administration had done its job to begin with, these teachers would have either not been hired to begin with, gotten the help they obviously needed, or they would have moved on to another profession. This "evaluation" is about diminishing the union and stacking classes with at-risk kids to get rid of disliked and/or senior teachers, too expensive and knowledgeable for the taste of individual school administrations. On the other hand I have encountered quite a large proportion of incompetent, lazy, mean, crazy, and occasionally borderline stupid administrators. In the past few years, with immature, unevolved heartless, and infantile "young" administrators rising to the top, it appears that many of the middle or even upper administrators are not up to the job they were hired for. Where is the public flogging for them?