The week of June 11, 2016 issue of The Economist published a one page editorial on “How to make a good teacher.” It makes a very weak case that teachers can be trained. There is obviously no stated government mold for such a teacher. There is teacher licensing set by the Department of Education which requires teachers to be graduates of the College of Education and mandates that teaching methodology courses and student teaching are part of the College of Education curriculum for future teachers.
Unfortunately, the requirements for subject matter study are very weak and, generally, because teacher pay is low compared to the private sector, the College of Education tends to accept the weaker students who have a hard time passing core requirements classes such as mathematics and science.
Here is why teachers cannot be trained. Good teachers are born, not made. You cannot use a cookie cutter and presto, you have good teachers. What you do get are drones following a set curriculum such as the collectivist Common Core from which they cannot diverge.
You can learn to emulate a famous and successful teacher, but you cannot copy their temperament, disposition, knowledge, rich vocabulary, linguistic articulation, voice, unique delivery, creativity, talent, and love of what they do.
Teaching is an art. You cannot teach art. You are either talented or you are not. Secondly, in order to teach, you must have a strong knowledge of your subject matter. Thirdly, you must like children and love what you do for less remuneration.
You must be patient and able to handle criticism from administrators with an agenda who think they are the solution to everybody’s problem; you must be able to handle criticism from lazy students who complain in order to excuse their lack of effort; you must smile upon hearing criticism from parents who expect teachers to become de facto parents, in absentia parents, and do not care if Johnny learns; they want Johnny to have straight As, a diploma, and many awards he didn’t deserve or has not earned; and you must overlook criticism from the general public who sees the teaching profession not worthy of respect and as a walk in the park. How could you not handle the darling brats guilty parents raise in the 21st century? Last but not least, teaching involves mandated standardized tests that do nothing to reflect what a student has actually learned or knows. Standardized tests just regurgitate memorized facts and dates that are soon forgotten.
Mass government education is just mass indoctrination into a program mandated by the federal government across all fifty states. More recently that was called Common Core, an attempt to raise busy little technical support workers who believe in global warming, communism, and worship Islam, not Christianity.
Government has dumbed down education through the Educational Leadership and Teacher Education curriculum in order to socially promote every student as painlessly as possible through twelfth grade and possibly through a worthless but expensive social studies education.
Insane school discipline procedures or lack thereof for children coming from broken homes, irresponsible parents who don’t read to their children, don’t care if they do their homework or study, dealing with less than mediocre teachers who cannot get employment elsewhere but cannot be easily fired, dealing with teachers who don’t try to teach well because the pay is low, neglected children in households where both parents work and have no time to devote to being involved in their children’s education, high income households who can afford and often do hire nannies and delegate parenting to them, are some of the problems.
Then there is the problem of inveterate socialist teachers who continue the tradition by indoctrinating their own students. It becomes easier as most teaching materials are written and published by die-hard progressives with an agenda to sell books and propagandize as many generations of students into their Marxist philosophical beliefs, turning students against their parents, against Christianity, against their own country, against patriotism, and shaping them into atheistic anti-Americans who are taught revisionist history using Howard Zinn’s progressive interpretation of American history, rewriting historical facts.
Teachers control students’ minds on the average of 6 hours per day. Some students go home to dysfunctional, broken homes, to parents who are unengaged, have their own issues to deal with, and who may or may not care about their children’s education or education in general. No schooling in world and no teacher training can fix that.
More money, computers, books, supplies, will ever improve a child’s education until their parents are involved in their child’s education, and until they stress to their progeny how important, useful, and fun learning for a lifetime can be.
No “eco-pedagogy” or “conscientization” or whatever the newest educational fads the progressive indoctrinators have adopted will actually help students learn. They are just means of brainwashing children into the Gaia environmental movement which promotes non-existent global warming in order to redistribute the middle class wealth around the world in the “social justice” vision of progressivism.
Some poor countries teach children in a dirt hut with no technology, just a blackboard and chalk, relying on an old encyclopedia and a good math book. No brainwashing, just common sense, and correct history, and their students are exceptional. Many poor schools don’t have laboratories yet students outperform western students in both science and math, even though they don’t have calculators. And the school day is four hours.
Finland successfully tried the no-technology-allowed in the classroom approach as well while the U.S. is now relying heavily on technology. The more technology we develop and provide to students, the less and less they actually know.
No matter how well trained a teacher may be, a child coming from a broken home with drugs, alcohol, and other issues, has a severely affected ability to learn. It helps when teacher to student ratio is manageable. Class size is important in interacting with each and every student as often as possible. Students will share their problems if the teachers really care and take time to listen.
Many schools are run by administrators and superintendents who are marginal or poor administrators, pathetic leaders who lack the skills, philosophy, and temperament to develop a strong learning atmosphere in their schools.
Selection committees who are tasked with hiring principals and superintendents do not have the necessary knowledge to select the proper school leaders or are hampered by their own political correctness, misconceived ideas, and socialist agendas.
Often exceptional teachers get in trouble with dictatorial administrators who impose their curricular ideas that may or may not work in a specific classroom or a specific group of students. Such excellent teachers are sometimes at odds with their lazier and non-creative colleagues who are licensed and unionized, secure in their jobs, but expend the minimum effort necessary to keep their jobs; they cover their walls with “I love myself plaques” given to them by peers at conferences sponsored by various teacher associations.
Thomas Sowell, exceptional teacher and economist, said, “The great promise of socialism is something for nothing. It is one of the signs of today's dumbed-down education that so many college students seem to think that the cost of their education should -- and will -- be paid by raising taxes on ‘the rich.’"
Apparently, the ‘rich’ have rigged the system so much that nobody can succeed, they were told. But the rich create jobs and lose money and wealth every day. If they have rigged the system and continue to do so, they sure did a lousy job of rigging it.
“None of this is rocket science. But you do have to stop and think -- and that is what too many of our schools and colleges are failing to teach their students to do.” http://www.investors.com/politics/columnists/thomas-sowell-socialism-for-the-uninformed/