Occam's razor: The simplest solution is always correct. We can
spend billions of dollars and countless years researching proper teaching.Or we can simply discipline students, and we can remove those who do not
wish to learn to a job training program or counselling. Until these
two things happen all of these studies are simply ways to collect federal and
private monies. The most effective education program that we have in
America is our military. We turn soft and complacent youth fattened by Cheetos
and television (now by iPads and iPhones) into world history's most
effective and efficient soldiers in only a few months or years.The
two things the military has that our schools do not is rigid and uncompromising
discipline, and the ability to eliminate those who are disinterested or
dangerous.That's it. 1. Discipline.2.
The ability to remove/expel.If those two things fail, then by all
means do a 1,000,000 dollar study.
....This should start at home....
I am also a teacher, and I absolutely believe great teaching skills can be
taught. The trouble is, a teacher must be willing to learn! I can't tell
you the number of times I've sat in professional development meetings, and
mentioned something that worked for me and greatly influenced the success of my
students, only to have the other teachers say "that will never work!"
and ignore the idea - it's frustrating.
I left the teaching profession this past year after six years on the job. I
loved teaching and being with students. I also loved to see their eyes light up
as they learned new concepts or we discussed past events that effect us now. I
believe that as a teacher if you build good relationships with your students and
not keep them at arms length it is amazing just how far they will come for you.
Unfortunately, these days it always feels that instead of letting teachers go on
instinct or what works for them with students, districts are trying to mold
their teachers into carbon copies of what they deem "acceptable"
teachers. When you are constantly being told that your methods aren't good
enough despite having SAGE scores in the 75% margin, why teach? When a
retirement councilor tells you that working or not working makes no difference
in the overall outcome of your life because of such stagnant wages why teach? I
decided that although I love my students,and love teaching, my children at home
is where I will make the most difference.
I think there is a gift to teaching. Just as there is a gift for nursing or
engineering; but you still have to learn the skill set do do the profession. I
think that a lot more classroom management skills can be taught, as well as
recognizing how different children learn in different ways.This also
affirms to me that schools CANNOT be run on a national level. What works for
Detroit is not going to work in small town Wyoming. Different people, different
culture. Kids will learn in different ways. Schools must be run at a local
level by people in the community that they teach. If we could individualize
education more to how people in an area learn, we could give our kids an actual
education, not just a piece of paper stating they passed a test.
Some of the comments are the best reading! DN editors, you might consider a
program that helps with followup on these stories and the comments. There are
some very good (and also not-so-good) ideas discussed in the comments sections
I've been in the classroom for over 20 years now and the more time I spend
there, the more I realize it is a gift that some have while other don't.
Howard Beal up there said it just right. It is an art with a little science
thrown in. I'm often asked by beginning teachers how I get my classes to
behave so well. Also how do I get them so excited to come to class? They
constantly mention that the kids seem to want to do what I ask. How do I get
them to do that? I really don't have an answer. It is in the building of
relationships within the classroom. Each class takes on a personality of its
own and you have to learn how to function in each class. I might teach the same
thing 6 times a day but I teach it differently all 6 times based on the students
and the class personality. You can't really teach that at the University.
It just comes naturally.Too bad we can't get paid for those
skills like professional athletes do! Still I love my job and it has been a
An interesting article. I worry that this "teacher reformation" movement
will turn into as much of a fiasco as has our efforts to "improve"
education for the students. I disagree with some of the premises given by the
reformer wannabes. I think most of all the previous comments have presented some
really good points.As a professional teacher and one that has been
called upon several times to teach the teachers, I would agree that teaching
skills can be innate for some people. But that does not preclude those without
such natural talents from becoming a great teacher. Just like with any other
skill or profession. Strong desire is a key. Love of your students is another
key. Love of what you are teaching is yet another. It has been
personal experience that those who lack natural skills in teaching can be taught
how to become effective teachers. The end result has been a great source of
gratification for the teacher--and even fun on the job!--and engaged learning
for the students.
One topic that hasn't been mentioned is the high turnover rate of teachers,
particularly recent graduates who devoted four years of college to prepare for
this career.Arizona and Utah both have serious issues with dismal
We all need to learn how to teach, because we are all teachers from
time-to-time. I like to Socratic Method, myself. I don't do
it as well as a would like; but, I recognize that there are inherent advantages
to structuring questions so that the student learns to teach him/herself.But whatever is taught -- we never learn it all, and we all need to do
it better. I suppose it is especially so for those who might be labeled as
Why do politicians, who have never taught in a classroom, set the standard?Why does a person, who has never served in the military, become the
commander in chief?Teacher accountability should rest with parents,
and professional educators.This is like having a doctor accountable
to a plumber.
Let's be real. Teaching is both an art and a science. Yes, skills can be
learned and shared but a lot of teaching is innate. Those that deny this
don't know much about teaching and education. You have to have a natural
inclination to teach, work with young people etc. But again, there are things
that can be taught to teachers to make their teaching better. But this idea
that anyone can teach if taught a few tricks or skills is a farce that needs to
"The teacher accountability approach, critics say, rests on the assumption
that teaching is a natural talent that hinges on intelligence and passion more
than skills and training"===========Which begs the quick
question, "Why does accountability for results rest on such an
assumption?" Who are these "critics" that have made such a
seemingly silly either/or assumption? Would not examining the results also be a
measurement of the effectiveness of a teacher's "skills and
training?"I realize this article wasn't meant to be a
comprehensive analysis of this topic. But, it would have been useful to at
least include a few names of the critics and been more specific about the logic
upon which the aforementioned assumption is supposed to rest. As it stands, it
appears to be a groundless assertion, yet crucial to the whole point of the
Education, and the United States: Teaching the politicians: Do we
know how to create real professional leaders?An eighteen trillion
dollar debt, and half our population on government assistance.Aren't teachers more competent as teachers, than politicians as
I'm convinced that teachers are not what's wrong. The system is
what's wrong. Our teachers are doing excellently, especially for what they
have to work with. They could use more pay for sure.Some things to
consider:1) What are we doing about all this testing? I'm not
opposed to tests, but they need to serve a purpose.2) We are
currently holding teachers accountable for student learning, but are we holding
students accountable? I think we are not. Students can show no motivation and do
no work, failing the SAGE, then go on to the next grade with pretty much the
same consequence as the straight A students (again, why test them then?).
Nothing is done about that until high school, at which point they may be several
years behind. This sends the message that not learning until high school is
completely acceptable.3) Politics is getting too involved. Political
correctness hinders the great work teachers do, and some school policies are
great but others are not. They have strict policies about fighting, but are
often afraid to suspend students because it hurts their attendance, which is
overemphasized in my opinion.
This article is interesting. We teachers already know what makes a skilled
teacher. Teaching does not involve learning a few skills, but thousands of
little things and then constantly changing with the students you have. It takes
3-5 years of real classroom experience to become a great teacher. It takes
constant mentoring, feedback and reflection. What the nation and Utah need to do
in order to have a great education system is pay teachers on the same level as
nurses to start and then increase their pay when they demonstrate excellence in
the classroom. Top teachers should earn $100,000 a year or more because of the
great impact they can have on kids and other teachers they work with. If rewards
are not put in place for greatness the system will never achieve its potential.