Monday, August 16, 2010

Effective vs. Ineffective Teachers

"Teacher Appreciation" featured phot...Image via Wikipedia
The LA  Times has been running a series of articles on teacher effectiveness. As an educator and parent I am obviously invested in the debate. Although there are several things that can effect the success of an individual teacher in the classroom, by and large I have have always believed that there is an obvious difference between good, effective teachers, and not so good ineffective teachers. Isn't that stating the obvious? So, when I read in the LA Times...
Based on test score data covering seven years, The Times analyzed the effects of more than 6,000 elementary school teachers on their students' learning. Among other things, it found huge disparities among teachers, some of whom work just down the hall from one another.- LA Times
 I was not surprised. That the district has known this for eons and either refused to do something about it or been unable to do anything due to the Unions resistance is one of the frustrations of working in just about any school district. My experiences have been mixed. Most of the administrators I worked with have been supportive and generally recognized when a teacher is effective or not. The problems have been that we, as educators, are deathly afraid of the ideas of merit pay and policing ourselves.

Merit pay can be a slippery slop if, as a teacher, you receive a bad mix of students. There are some students who won't (as in choose not to) learn. There are students who are disruptive beyond belief or control. Most of the time an effective teacher can deal with even those students, but...not always.

Teachers also struggle with confrontation. How do you tell your friend down the hall that all the students you receive from them are behind the students you receive from someone else? When I did it was like accusing your brother of incest.

I think I will follow up...more to come after NO TAX TUESDAY.

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