Saturday, April 9, 2016

We Don't Want Teachers - We Want Effective Teachers

       The United States has over three million teachers.

       Public, private, elementary, secondary...approximate 1% of the population of the United States are teachers.  With fifty million students, we need a lot of teachers.

       And considering the importance of education, we (particularly) need good, effective teachers.  We need teachers who do their best to understand how their students think and how they learn.  We need teachers who understand the content that they teach, but mostly we need teachers who want to work with children; we need teachers who like to work with children.

       Over my career, I've noticed a subtle difference between wanting to be a teacher and wanting to be an effective teacher.  Our best teachers are also good learners.  They study their craft; they learn from other teachers; they seek information about adolescents and how the brain works.  No one is born with this knowledge; it takes time and effort to gain this level of expertise.  And most people never know the hard work that went into making these teachers so effective.

       In the book Linking Teacher Evaluation and Student Learning, authors Pamela Tucker and James Stronge give the following list of attributes of effective teachers:

  • Have formal teacher preparation training.
  • Hold certification of some kind (standard, alternative, or provisional) and are certified within their fields.
  • Have taught for at least three years.
  • Are caring, fair, and respectful.
  • Hold high expectations for themselves and their students.
  • Dedicate extra time to instructional preparation and reflection.
  • Maximize instructional time via effective classroom management and organization.
  • Enhance instruction by varying instructional strategies, activities, and assignments.
  • Present content to students in a meaningful way that fosters understanding.
  • Monitor students' learning by utilizing pre- and postassessments, providing timely and informative feedback, and reteaching material to students who did not achieve mastery.
  • Demonstrate effectiveness with the full range of student abilities in their classrooms, regardless of the academic diversity of the students.
  •        Everyone wants their children to have effective, caring teachers.  Class time is valuable learning time and effective teachers make the best use of this time.

           Is your child's teacher effective?

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