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Thread: What makes a great teacher, and how long can they stay great

  1. #1
    ryoder is offline King / Queen
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    Default What makes a great teacher, and how long can they stay great

    This article I read a few moments ago is sobering. We are all excited about great teachers, however, how does a teacher become classified as great? Once a teacher is considered great, can that teacher maintain that classification year over year? How much is due to random error? Apparently a whole lot of it is error and more of it is fleeting.

    "The papers discussed above do not report how many teachers are actually top-rated for three, four, or five years. However, based on my colleague’s discussions with a couple of the authors, it seems that only about 5-7 percent of teachers are rated in the “top” category for three consecutive years. It would be even fewer over four or five years (to ballpark it, using a 50 percent year-to-stability rate [as in this paper], only 1-2 percent of teachers will be in the top quartile for five consecutive years). Making things worse, many who are consistently top-ranked will be misclassified as such, due to random error"

    Shanker Blog » How Many Teachers Does It Take To Close An Achievement Gap?

    I have had some great teachers, but I wonder if they are still great? Have you ever had a really bad waitress or a really bad flight attendant? Do you think they were always that way? Or maybe they started out happy and effective and their productivity and customer care degraded over time. I imagine that after 20 years of teaching, a teacher may lose his excitement for the job a bit. He may become jaded and really want to choose a different career.

    I know it happens in my line of work. Programmers who began with intensity lose the interest for coding and end up moving on to management, analysis, testing, sales, or just leave IT altogether.
    BSBA CIS from TESC, BA Natural Science/Math from TESC
    MBA Applied Computer Science from NCU
    Enrolled at NCU in the PhD Applied Computer Science

  2. #2
    dcan is offline Grand Duke / Duchess
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    Default

    I think it depends on the environment. A bad environment will burn you out fast. My wife did some volunteer work in the GED arena about ten years back, testing and teaching people who dropped out of school and needed a second chance -- or were ordered to take a second chance by the court. The amount of cronyism, incompetence, and outright racism that was evident in the GED program was appalling and dismaying. She had teachers coming to her asking her to teach them how to do the subjects they were teaching to the students. Some "teachers" with master's degrees could barely read. And the (unwritten, unspoken) policy was that all incoming students assessed at roughly the 3rd grade level, regardless of what my wife's test results said they actually assessed at. That way they always showed progress, ensuring NCLB goals were met and money kept flowing and the director kept getting praised. Of course, the fact that a lot of students dropped out because they realized they were being treated like babies when a few ran their own businesses but were expected to work at a grade school level never really mattered to the administrators. After all, they had shown progress, then dropped out, so they became a statistic representative of the decaying society instead of a black mark against the administration. Of course, the answer was always to have the state send more money because somehow that would magically fix the "society" problem exacerbated by a soulless administrator.

    There were a few good teachers who truly cared, but it was an uphill battle. It wasn't just the administrators either. Some of the students were absolutely horrible, but there were many students who genuinely wanted to get ahead but were pulled down by their "peers" who brought the gang mentality with them. She was offered $17/hour to go elsewhere and do the same job she was doing for free but at the risk of being shot or worse so we turned it down. Ultimately we got tired of the racism, abuse, and policies, and she left. Needless to say that was the end of her work with education.

    Goal: TESC BA Computer Science (switched from BSBA CIS)

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  3. #3
    ryoder is offline King / Queen
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    Wow. That is a depressing story.
    columbia likes this.
    BSBA CIS from TESC, BA Natural Science/Math from TESC
    MBA Applied Computer Science from NCU
    Enrolled at NCU in the PhD Applied Computer Science

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