Ineffective teachers should be weeded out
Updated: March 29, 2012 3:39PM
Ah yes, sweet serene spring break! It’s here, unbelievably, in the middle of summer -- or so it seems, given the amazingly unseasonable weather we have been enjoying.
This is also the time that teachers often are notified as to whether they will be coming back to their classrooms next year, or are wished good luck and godspeed and sent off on their way. In these uncertain times, with controversial items floating around water cooler discussions like tenure, pension and school test scores, it can be a pretty scary time to be a teacher. And when the pink slips begin to fly, the teacher equivalent of musical chairs begins.
My personal observation is that the teaching profession is in for a major shift in policy and protocol in the future, some of it appropriate and some of it unnecessary knee-jerk reaction to loud voices and current economic constraints. As a family that, like so many others, has teachers among our group, it’s always a lively discussion when we touch on those subjects mentioned above. I still think many teachers are underpaid considering the importance of the job they do. I also think too many ineffective teachers are protected by procedural policies that need to be tweaked. And the idea of extreme salary bump-ups for administrators at the end of their career, in an effort to gain the maximum pension possible, is particularly heinous to the general public.
Fair pay, fair retirement benefits, appropriate expectations for achievement, and the ability to weed out those teachers who cannot deliver after given proper opportunity, seem reasonable tenets upon which to base guidelines for hiring, firing and advancement. It seems to work for business in general and I think some form of the same guiding principles can work in schools. Ineffective teachers can negatively affect the good ones and make their work even harder. School officials should be able to identify and release those teachers without jumping through hoops on a Tuesday afternoon in mid-March but only if the temperature is above 55 degrees and the day is cloudy. I trust you get my satirical analogy here.
Likewise, teachers who are able to successfully inspire and advance their students’ knowledge should be lauded and awarded financially for their work. The trickiest part is, who and how should those standards of success be determined? And what about the intangible, the student? Teachers, even good ones, can only go as far as their students will let them. And so, the conundrum continues. And answers can be hard to find.
Send email to Pat Lenhoff at: firstname.lastname@example.org .