Sunday, April 26, 2009

What Characteristics Make A Quality Teacher? According To The DOE It Is Not What You Think.

Time and again the DOE and their media puppets, the New York Daily News and New York Post, rant about how the New York City Public Schools need quality teachers to improve student academics. Of course the New York City Public Schools need more than quality teachers. For example, lower class sizes, a more stringent student discipline code, and giving the teacher a voice in the classroom are also needed. Since this article is about quality teachers, I will limit it to the quality teaching issue. I agree that quality teachers are needed in the schools. However, what you and I believe are the characteristics of a quality teacher is quite different than what Chancellor Joel Klein and his subordinates at Tweed thinks.

The common characteristics of a quality teacher are usually based on the teacher's ability and are as follows:

  1. Experienced. A minimum of three to five years in the classroom to master the profession.
  2. Good classroom management skills.
  3. Knowledge of the curriculum.
  4. Interacting with the students and helping them with their problems.
  5. Able to think independently and make good choices on academic issues.
  6. Willing to question decisions when it is against the best interests of the students.
However, Chancellor Joel Klein's definition of a quality teacher is far different. Let's look at what Tweed wants teaching the New York City Public School students.

  1. Cheap, and inexperienced teachers who will leave the system before they are vested.
  2. Poor classroom management skills but who cares? They will be leaving the system soon.
  3. A steep learning curve in understanding of the curriculum . See #2 above for the rest.
  4. Don't get involved with the students and always send them to the Guidance Councilor.
  5. Never make a decision without getting an Administrator's approval.
  6. Never question the Administrators even when they are wrong and hurts the students.
Joel Klein and his minions can speak about quality teaching all they want. However, what they say and the teachers they hire are not the same. Unless a quality teacher is defined as cheap, inexperienced, and never makes decisions. Then again this is the Kleinberg DOE where up is down, right is wrong, and good is bad. "Children Last" continues.


proofoflife said...

Chaz, I would laugh if it weren't prohibited!

ProfSeeman said...

You make some good points above.
However, I also think that this can be helpful to you:
The book and Training Video: PREVENTING Classroom Discipline Problems

If you can get this book and video: [they are in many libraries, so you don't have to buy them] email me and I can refer you to the sections of the book and video [that demonstrates the effective vs. the ineffective teacher] that can help you.

If your library does not have them, you can get them at:

that are also used at this online course:

See: Reviews at:

If you cannot get the book or video, email me anyway, and I will try to help.

Best regards,


Howard Seeman, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus,
City Univ. of New York

Prof. Seeman

Chaz said...


I'm sure the book is good. However, the article is about how Klein & Bloomberg rather have "newbie" teachers who certainly need the book as well as experience over the real quality teachers.