Tuesday, July 18, 2017

If This Is A Great Teacher...

This post makes some bold claims, among them

Great teachers don't always have the best lessons.  But they always have the best relationships with kids.

Then stop demanding that they upload or submit those lessons, an act that serves no purpose for a great teacher.

Great teachers are not defined by their lesson plans... they are defined by their passion.

Then make passion, not lesson plan formatting, part of their evaluation.

Great teachers are in it for the kids.  It's not about the lesson plan, the rules, or the massive paycheck. It's always about the kids.

Then stop evaluating them based on lesson plans and rules.

Kids leave their class feeling better about themselves... because great teachers understand there is more to teaching than delivering instruction.

Then include truly human factors in the evaluation of this human enterprise called teaching and rely less on dehumanizing data.

Great teachers are not driven by courses of study... they are driven by the faces in front of them.

Then stop making assessment numbers related to courses of study the be all, end all of determining a teacher's worth.

Although I agree with most of the points in this piece, I do take issue with one.  Mr. Steel writes, "Great teachers are in it for the kids.  It's not about the lesson plan, the rules, or the massive paycheck. It's always about the kids."  This is absolutely true, and I would hope the same is true of my doctor, yet I have never once heard it said that doctors are not in it for the money.  Emphasizing repeatedly that teachers do what they do for students and not financial remuneration establishes the idea that financial remuneration is not important for teachers.  Of course it is, just as it is in any other profession, and I will call out the false ideal of teacher as willfully suffering servant wherever it appears.


  1. You point out something which had been repeated so often as to become a given and is nearly taken as fact: Teachers aren't in it for the money. True, if you become a teacher because it's a great way to get rich, you're delusional. However, the lower pay in comparison to other professional jobs, especially those which require ongoing training, is disrespectful and demeaning. It clearly says that teaching is not valued as highly, and teachers aren't equivalent professionally. As long as teachers accept the "just a teacher" status, we'll continue to receive poor pay and disrespect from students and the community.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Lori. I would add that teachers will continue to receive poor pay and will continue to leave the profession, or not enter it, until citizens decide that their children's education is worth more.

  3. You're right - a cultural change is needed. While many parents think their own children's teacher(s) are wonderful, they often hold teachers and public schools in low esteem.


While I welcome thoughts relevant to discussions of education, comments that are vulgar, insulting, or in any way inappropriate will be deleted.