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Teachers

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by DudeWah, Sep 16, 2015.

  1. DudeWah

    DudeWah Member

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    What is the quality of the generic high school teacher in your opinion?

    There was a comment in that "clock bomb" thread that the thing should have been shown to a science teacher who could then determine what it is.

    I highly doubt that the average science teacher would even be able to give an assessment of that.

    I regularly tutor people who are going to become math/stats or physics teachers at the high school level. It's given me such a jaded viewpoint on the quality of teachers, considering most struggle with basic math (calculus and algebra too, but especially geometry) themselves. I would never want my kid to be taught by those people.

    And yet they probably have one of the biggest impacts on your child's development. Scary thought.
     
  2. Nook

    Nook Member

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    Increase the pay and make the position more revered and you will get a higher educatedand more professional group of people applying to be teachers. The profession is not held in high esteem and many people that would be interested go into other professions that pay more or have more prestige.
     
  3. dharocks

    dharocks Contributing Member

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    Outside of my own teachers, my only experience is with education majors at college, who were some of the biggest morons on campus (and as I understand it, tend to have some of the lowest standardized test scores).

    That said, I'm not really sure how important it is for teachers to be 'smart', at least below the college level. As long as they can teach the curriculum reasonably competently, it's probably more important that they be great motivators and build good work/study habits in their students.

    After all, if you possessed a high level of intelligence and education, why would you want a teacher's salary?
     
  4. DudeWah

    DudeWah Member

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    I definitely agree with this. It's a profession that should certainly be held in much higher esteem than it is.
     
  5. Space Ghost

    Space Ghost Contributing Member

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    "Those who can't do, teach"

    Growing up, I held a high esteem for teachers. Once I got out of high school, I noted the average people went on for teaching degrees. Those who had drive and ambition went on to do other things. Those who are truly passionate in their fields make time to pass this knowledge onto others.

    Unfortunately teaching is less about passing on knowledge about the subject and more about engaging the pupil. Looking back on the poor teachers and professors I had in the past, they were probably intelligent and well educated on the subject, however they did not know how to engage the pupil.
     
  6. DudeWah

    DudeWah Member

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    I think there's a few things going on.

    1) As you and nook mentioned why would someone intelligent who enjoys teaching become a teacher at the high school level when they could easily do something more lucrative and make 2-3x the money?

    2) let's say that gets overcome somehow and high school teacher salary is bumped up, but the requirements to become a teacher ensure only someone bright gets the position. Then there's an actual issue with the curriculum going on. The curriculum in most public schools is borderline horrible when it comes to STEM subjects.

    3) While it's important that high school be a time for becoming motivated and building good habits for the future, I think this is part of the issue. It should be much more than that, especially the junior and senior years. I don't know how it is now, but there was almost zero consequence for slacking off in the last few years of high school (i.e. Only taking a few classes, and the ability to opt out of taking science and math) when I attended.

    4) For the students who do care, and there were a lot when I attended, the faculty needs to be able to have a strong level of understanding of the theory they are teaching. For example, even in AP classes, there were often times the teacher could not provide a proof for why something is what it is. That's not good and builds a bad habit for students to just take things for granted at face value.

    Also, I don't think the whole "very bright person who can't teach" issue is as applicable to someone bright who would prospectively want to become a high school teacher. From my experience, a lot of those types of professors at the college level are like that due to their desire to only do research, but their requirement to teach.
     
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  7. Cannonball

    Cannonball Contributing Member

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    After those HS football players hit that ref in San Antonio, I heard a radio interview with the head of officials for the Big XII. During the interview, they asked him if he thought there was a growing lack of respect. He said that yes, there was, and that he also sees fewer people wanting to become officials because of it. Who wants to go out and get cussed at by coaches and parents for $50?

    I think it's the same situation for teachers. Attitudes have changed. It used to be that if a kid was failing a class it was the kid's fault. Now it's always the teacher's fault. Teachers take so much more **** now than they used to. Parents complain about everything. Administrators and politicians institute the dumbest ****ing policies.

    My father, after a long career as an engineer, got certified to teach HS Math. The school district had a no fail policy. So kids came into Freshman Algebra unable to do basic math. Half the year was just trying to get them up to speed enough to even attempt algebra. But then they only had half the year left and you couldn't teach them what they needed to know before moving on. So they're not even ready for the next math they have to take. It's very frustrating for the teacher. My dad quit after a year because he couldn't take it.

    Honestly, the pay, at least in the Houston area, isn't that bad. Starting salary for a teacher with 0 experience is around $50K and it goes up the longer you've been teaching. Not great, but not bad either. But for all the crap you have to deal with and extra hours you have to put in, many find it's not worth it. The tipping point for a teacher is 3 years. If you can make it 3 years, you can probably stay in it until you retire. But a bunch don't even that far. A ton of teachers quit within the first few years.

    So yeah, it's just not a desirable job. There used to be respect for the position but there's not even a lot of that any more. Some politicians are openly hostile to teachers and teachers unions. Greg Abbott appointed a home school mother to be head of the State Board of Education.

    Kansas cut taxes, created a huge deficit, and tried to make it up by lowering teacher pay. So teachers started looking for jobs in Missouri and other neighboring states. Faced with a teacher shortfall, Kansas dropped the requirement that you needed to be certified in order to teach.

    So right now you mainly have two kinds of people trying to become teachers. 1) People who truly have a passion for education, and 2) people not smart enough to get a better, higher paying job. And the result is that you get people who are unqualified.

    So you fix it by making it a desirable position. Cut all the bull****. Just let teachers teach. And raising the pay will automatically make it a more competitive and desirable field.
     
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  8. DudeWah

    DudeWah Member

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    ^Things like "no fail policies" have to be eradicated at some point in the future. I can completely see how that would make someone not want anything to do with teaching anymore.
     
  9. Carl Herrera

    Carl Herrera Contributing Member

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    My own teachers in U.S. schools have been fine, but maybe I just got lucky and didn't run into the bad ones.

    According to research, a teacher's subject matter knowledge is actually a relatively small factor in getting better student outcomes (test scores, etc.). Classroom management, pedagogical methods, and relationship with students are more important factors.

    The result surprised me somewhat when I first read it, but it does make sense when you think about how learning takes place. So much of learning any subject is about a student feeling motivated to read and investigate and practice and relatively little of it is a student actually getting information from a classroom lecture.

    Also, while there are some teachers who really do suck at their subject matter, most of them at least have an OK level of subject matter competence. Not sure if all states have it, but at least some (like California) require the passage of subject matter exams (CSET in California) which are pretty serious and do a good job of addressing subject matter competence. The CSET Math, for example, addresses all the high school subject matters and requires a test-taker to not only know high school math but also the theories and proofs behind them. So, the people who get credentials can't suck that much at the area they teach.

    The bigger problems are with teachers who just don't give a ****-- maybe they never did, maybe they stopped caring at some point. Per a conversation I had with a public school administrator this summer, the ineffective teachers are ineffective far more often because of 1) poor classroom management, 2) poor rapport with students, and 3) lack of "student-centered-ness"
     
    #9 Carl Herrera, Sep 16, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2015
  10. DudeWah

    DudeWah Member

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    That's definitely interesting, but not all that surprising when you think about it as you said.

    Still, obviously those two things do not have to be mutually exclusive. While those factors are very important to help the average student, I still feel that teachers who have above average knowledge of their subject matter are very important for the above average students. And in an ideal world, the average students who they have motivated to acheive better test scores would benefit from that as well. Of course, things tend to be less than ideal, so who knows.

    Also, in high school, unlike college a student's success depends a lot on the lecture. Generally speaking, someone in high school has to take a lot of classes at one time (7 when I was in school) along with extra curricular activities that are an absolute necessity for college applications. The amount of time they have to learn things themselves even when there is an interest is relatively little.
     
  11. ipaman

    ipaman Contributing Member

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    80% suck hard, 20% good, 100% underpaid.
     
  12. Bandwagoner

    Bandwagoner Contributing Member

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    Median salary is over 50K with entire summer vacation and far above average retirement, job security and heath care.
     
  13. Carl Herrera

    Carl Herrera Contributing Member

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    I don't think the pay for teachers is bad-- but it isn't an easy job if you do it right.

    First, there is quite a bit of preparation and grading, which requires a lot of work after regular school hours. A high school math teacher I met this summer is leaving teaching after 15 years to take a management position at a local Target store because she wants to actually be able to spend time with her young daughter when she is home.

    So yes, there's more vacation time than the vast majority of jobs, but during the school year this isn't exactly an 40-hour per week job.

    Second, while the pay is probably good for, say, college graduates with history degrees, for those with degrees in the STEM subjects, there are often much higher paying jobs. So the pay thing is really relative.

    Finally, teaching really just isn't that easy a job even if you have good subject matter knowledge.

    The job requires dealing with a large number of children or adolescents, managing parental relationships, administrator demands and standardized testing. A lot of people who can work well enough in other settings (working with other adults in a corporation, for example) are not necessarily equipped to do well as K-12 teachers.
     
  14. malakas

    malakas Member

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    I think that teaching in elementary school is much more important than high school teaching on the influence it can have on a kid's mind.
    Teaching if done properly is a very responsible and difficult job.
    However I still would like my kid's even language teacher (not even science) and the freaking principal to have better iq than a tomato and know that any circuit doesn't mean exploding device.
     
  15. bobrek

    bobrek Person, woman, man, camera, TV
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    And many teachers have to work 12 hour days to keep up as well as buy their own supplies.
     
  16. txtony

    txtony Member

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    I would imagine they have been taught to be overly cautious. In the case of the clock bomb, I don't find an issue with any teacher reporting that. It's just reporting it. It's the follow-up and next actions that are disturbing.
     
  17. DCkid

    DCkid Contributing Member

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    They get decent pay. Get summers off. And have way better retirements benefits and even general benefits than probably most of us non-teachers.

    That being said...it's not an easy job, but the compensation seems relatively fair to me.

    Also, I feel like just simply increasing pay is not really going to attract "smarter" teachers...at least not significantly. I'm sure for a lot of people, all the pay in the world wouldn't make them want to get in front of a classroom filled with 30 kids every day.
     
  18. txtony

    txtony Member

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    My sister, as a high school math teacher, was doing this for only 3 years in Katy school district. Prep is what take up most of her time. I often saw her work on papers and planning late into the evening and over the weekend. Although they get a summer break, some of them put in much more than a typical full time job during the school period.

    The impression she gave me was, 1- student love math, if you approach is right, 2- there are parents that blame the teacher for everything, just part of the job, 3- the school district care much more about what the parent said then the teacher. It's an altitude that parent are always right. 4- there are politics and racism within the faculty and higher up. #3 & #4 is why she left. She moved to another school district and teaches for another 2 years before changing her position. She now create lessons for math teachers.
     
  19. FranchiseBlade

    FranchiseBlade Contributing Member
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    I think most people whether they are teachers or not would be able to tell that wasn't a bomb.
     
  20. ima_drummer2k

    ima_drummer2k Contributing Member

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    Wrong. The biggest problem are the parents who just don't give a ****. And they outweigh the teachers by a 20:1 margin. Not to mention that parents are a MUCH bigger influence on their children than teachers.

    You should hear some of the stories my wife tells me about her idiot parents. She has a kid in Kindergarten who can't even talk, he just makes weird noises and laughs. She's tried to tell the parents there is an issue, but they say it's just because he had a late baseball practice the night before. They never reply to her emails and they showed up to parent/teacher night and just giggled the whole time. She swears they were high. She sends out a parent email every Friday to about 25 parents and usually doesn't get a single reply back. She has to buy lunch with her own money for 2 or 3 different kids every single day because their stupid parents didn't give them lunch money. The same parents who drive expensive SUVs and live in 500K houses.

    The problem with the educational system in America are the ****ed up, loser parents, not the teachers. I suspect it has a lot to do with the kinds of attitudes being expressed in this very thread, ironically.
     
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