Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Why Teaching Experience Really Matters

Enjoyed this comment about teacher evaluations in Valerie Strauss' blog, the Answer Sheet.

It is frustrating to see this issue argued in black and white terms. It is silly for Mr. Gates to say that advanced degrees and experience does not matter. Obviously, experience and advanced degrees can make a great deal of difference in the effectiveness of a teacher.

BUT NOT ALWAYS. That is the crux of the problem and I think what Mr. Gates is getting at (albeit in black and white terms). I would become infuriated watching veteran teachers relying only on worksheets to teach first graders or screaming at children as a 'behavior management system'; some even had masters degrees. And they were paid more than I was, even though I was taking the same population of students with lower test scores and surpassing their students scores within a month.

It is exceedingly difficult to measure teacher effectiveness, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try. As a teacher, I want some way to show that I am being effective (and I teach a very difficult low-income population). Watching ineffective but experienced teachers should make us all angry. We all want the best and the brightest in the classroom; we shouldn't settle for ineffective teachers. We should be rewarded for experience and advanced degrees, we should ALSO have some way to be rewarded for effectiveness. Its not easy to measure, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try.
Posted by: acasey3
November 23, 2010 4:04 PM

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