Teaching Today: An Introduction to Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

There are some papers that are to be released and referred to by her in the above article. In the first of those papers, the belief is that the present result of the aptitude tests of the teachers today is the same as was the case a generation earlier, but the best among them are not likely to become teachers. In the second paper, the result shows that the women from the best colleges are not continuing to be teachers as the pay received by them as teachers is low, and not due to the attraction of higher pay in other occupations. On the level it can be assumed that if the salary of teachers were better, a lot of the best students would still be going into teaching.

According to the columnist, "Teachers aren't exactly getting worse. They're getting more consistently mediocre." She ends her own article by saying that at present we are paying average wages for getting teachers and the result is that we are getting teachers of average quality. In terms of statistical argument it can be said that the profession is now hiring teachers near the mean for the profession and for getting quality of people for any profession that is the best. Yet, since the figure itself is low, we are also getting teachers whose quality is low. At the same time, the general view was that we have been trying to get the best persons for teaching, and in spite of our pious efforts why has there been no improvement? The situation has continued since 1960 at the same level. Does this mean that there is a need of higher pay for the teachers? or, does it mean that the good teachers should be given an opportunity to earn more money. During the course of this argument it is often forgotten that the job of the teachers today is not the same as it was some time earlier due to a change in their method of functioning. This aspect has not been covered in the column, and presumably not taken into account. (New Studies on School Teacher Quality Leave Many Questions Unanswered)

The demands are different and that may be the reason for constraints. This is probably leading to the difference in the quality of good teachers. It is also true that the teachers who are the smartest are not always the best teachers. There is some evidence of this from the initiatives to improve quality of education in children through Koalaty Kid. This sort of innovations are accepted by good teachers as it makes their job easier, and it also helps the children as it takes away time from their learning activities. This gives them more time for learning other difficult things. These are all preliminary or preparatory activities and the children do it on their own. The teachers do not have to supervise whether the children are doing it. These methods also give the children a direct capacity to plan and evaluate their own learning, and development of learning. For the teachers, these methods help better management of the classroom, while giving capability to the children to concentrate on their own learning. The other factor that is often forgotten that pay is not the main reason why most teachers get into teaching. They feel that they have a calling for the profession. This makes one argue that the classroom should end up being a better place if we want the teachers to stay longer in teaching, or more people to get into teaching.

The activity of teachers is mainly socialization, but this is realized by teachers only when they actually start teaching. This is not a new activity as the teachers have always had to socialize, but the challenges have become different from what they were earlier. Thus quality programs can help the teachers to improve the quality of their socialization after school, before the school starts, and all other time. This may not help the students much, but it should be helping the teachers. (New Studies on School Teacher Quality Leave Many Questions Unanswered) the only problem is that everybody has to get into the rat race of earning more money as that is what improves a person's status in society, and why the teachers should be an exception. Even if this is not very important in the beginning of their career, yet it will develop when they have a family. Today there are a lot more things to buy and a lot of them are related to the status of the teacher in society. One does not know really how long any teacher will be able to avoid those attractions.

Rapid shifts of teachers at lower levels

This is a problem that is taking place at the lower levels of education, especially at the primary school level. In probably an extreme instance, there is a certain Jessica White of fifth grade in southwest Seattle who remembered the names of all eight teachers that she had after kindergarten after the High Point Elementary. Among those eight teachers were four teachers who were absolutely new to teaching, and another two had experience of less than three years. The teachers who were in the school before the child had joined had almost all left. The losses every year of teachers in that school amount to some 28% of existing teachers. On departure they give different reasons like getting better jobs, layoff by the school, a new baby or sometimes, retirement. This is a problem that is seen in almost all schools in the area and in any year, nearly one-third of the teachers leave, or shift from one school to another. Together with this, let us remember that there are 3.4 million teachers in the K-12 schools of the country. There are also a number of teachers who give up the profession and this happens for 20% of them within three years of starting teaching. (Schools struggle to reduce high teacher turnover)

Another 20% give up teaching within another two years leaving only about 60% of them in schools at the end of five years. Thus many of the teachers are new to teaching as a result of all these departures. Most people think that the reason for leaving teaching is the low salaries that they get, but that is not true. The problem with many teachers is that after joining the profession they find they have a number of tasks outside the class that they have outside the class. At the same time, these rapid changes in teachers are also a big burden on the country. The changes end up using the resources that could have been used otherwise for books, tutors and other instructional resources. The matter has been studied by the Texas Center for Educational Research. The total cost includes paperwork, temporary workers, productivity losses and hiring and training of replacements. The cost to the district per teacher is roughly about 150% of the annual salary of the teacher who has left.

It is a matter to be studied and this has led Philadelphia and New York to start having exit interviews for the teachers who leave and Seattle will have exit surveys every month. This has led Denver and Seattle to have signed contracts with their teachers from 2004. This has the choice of offering a bonus those who agree to working in a high-poverty school. It is not only the fresh teachers who leave the schools, and even there are many teachers who get tired of the intensity of the work that they are expected to complete during the week. There is a teacher, Teresa Alsept who had been working for more than ten years in a high poverty area when she was shifted from Meany to Eckstein Middle School. This is a school in Northeast Seattle that has a lower number of fewer schools. (Schools struggle to reduce high teacher turnover)

In the earlier school she had found it difficult to provide enough motivation to her students and meet the needs of students with the material that she was supplied with. The families in that area could not even provide the children with food clothing and shelter and naturally help in their education. These challenges slowly became known to the teacher and she had more problems in dealing with the unruly and apathetic behavior that she faced. She did not know whether she was to give them a slack or expect the same high standard from them as others. According to her, the district could help by having more of neighborhood-based schools as this will permit the teachers to get more involved. This problem was seen by her as only half of the students of the school lived in the region.

Apart from the teacher turnover, which happens at the choice of the teacher, there are different analyses which show that there are rapid declines in enrollment and even district-wise…

Sources Used in Document:


Ave, Melanie. Educators want more Mr.'s in their classrooms. St. Petersburg Times. 14 November, 2004. Retrieved at http://www.sptimes.com/2004/11/14/Tampabay/Educators_want_more_M.shtml. Accessed on 27 May, 2005

Bhat, Sanjay. Schools struggle to reduce high teacher turnover. 3 January, 2005. The Seattle Times. Retrieved at http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2002138717_turnover03m.html. Accessed on 28 May, 2005

Direct Instruction: Is it the Most Effective Science Teaching Strategy? 15 December, 2004. NSTA Web News Digest. Retrieved at http://www.nsta.org/main/news/stories/education_story.php?news_story_ID=50045Accessed on 28 May, 2005

Errickson, Tiffany. Mentoring teachers. September 21, 2004. Retrieved at http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,595092712,00.html. Accessed on 27 May, 2005

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