The discussion on merit pay will be ongoing in Columbia, nationwide and worldwide at several levels of education. Go to SchoolHouseTalk, our K-12 education blog, to continue reading the discussion.
I don’t remember what she specifically did that made the difference. What I do know is that I went through this teacher’s class not necessarily liking the classroom material, but certainly invested in how I would master it. I do know that I surprised myself when I performed well on final history exams that year. I know that this particular teacher was unanimously praised throughout my high school, not just as a good person, but as a great teacher.
My mom, a social worker in a high school, sent me the link to this New York Times article analyzing a trend that is gaining popularity within the education system. As schools fail to live up to No Child Left Behind standards, educators are discussing introducing merit pay options and tougher standards for hiring teachers in schools.
And while I will readily admit that I did not read the whole article, (I saw the nine pages and said “Yikes!”) I certainly can relate to the mystery that surrounds the success of a teacher.
You see, there is just one problem with the education’s quest to improve the teachers who are instructing children in the classroom — how do you define a successful teacher? What specific factors are more likely to guarantee higher test scores, individual growth and greater reading and writing skills?
At home there were always those teachers that students suspected only chose their profession based on a guaranteed summer off to spend working or lounging on the beach (or both). There were also the teachers who were clearly intelligent individuals, but not necessarily capable of translating all the knowledge they know in a way that students understood.
This New York Times article knows what doesn’t ensure teaching efficiency:
“Among the factors that do not predict whether a teacher will succeed: a graduate-school degree, a high score on the SAT, an extroverted personality, politeness, confidence, warmth, enthusiasm and having passed the teacher-certification exam on the first try.”
Who was your most successful teacher and what was the “it” factor that made them good at their job?