Saturday, October 19, 2013

What Are The Characteristics Of A Quality Teacher?

Most educators, parents, students, and teachers  know that a "quality teacher" is important to a student's academic achievement.  However, the term "quality teacher" means different things to different people.  For example Mayor Bloomberg thinks a "quality teacher" is a low salaried temporary instructor who will leave the teaching profession before they earn a pension.  For education reformers like the misguided "Bill Gates" its the teacher that uses the "drill and kill" method to achieve good results on "high stakes testing".  For education reformers like Joel Klein, Michelle Rhee, and Dennis Walcott it's those teachers that are willing to toe the administrative line without complaint or be fired.  Of course the majority of us know what the characteristics of a "quality teacher" is.

What are the characteristics of a "quality teacher"?  They are listed below.

  • A personal and emotional connection with the students.
  • A deep knowledge of curriculum.
  • Good classroom management skills.
  • Repeated and demostrated student academic achievement.
  • Respected by the students. as knowledgeable and caring about them.
However, our nation's politicians, lead by Iowa Democrat Tom Harkin has falsely defined a "quality teacher" as a "newbie" from alternate teacher certification programs such as the "two year wonders" from Teach For America and the "one and done" Teaching Follows program. How can "newbies" be considered "quality teachers"?  Easy, if there is enough political pressure by school districts who practice "education on the cheap" policy and try to fool the parents by hiring inexpensive teachers with little or no classroom experience as "quality teachers".  This absurdity is taken to the extreme in Chicago where many teachers lost their job as schools closed but the Chicago school system encouraged the schools to hire "newbie teachers" from Teach For America while senior teachers went on the unemployment lines.  If  Mayor Bloomberg had his way, the same would be true in New York City.

Our children deserve "quality teachers" along with small classes sizes, adequate resources, and supportive administration to academically succeed  To falsely claim that recruiting college graduates with 3.0 grade point averages who are clueless about what it takes to be a good teacher and for most is simply a "stepping stone" to bigger and better positions is not what's best for the children.  This leads to a sub-par education and an unstable school environment due to staff turnover. 

The fallacy that "newbie teachers", especially from alternate certification programs like Teach For America, are "quality teachers" must be exposed as a fraud on our children.  A "quality teacher" is a teacher that meets the characteristics I have outlined and we all know to be true.


Anonymous said...

How so very true and that the DOE uses the "children first". Always is so disingenuous.

Anonymous said...

"Children first" is just another hilarious phrase used in the doe's lexicon. As an ATR I'm constantly in schools with beautifully sounding academic names. The schools are always the antithesis of its name. So Chaz you are correct again it is "children last".

Anonymous said...

I have actually asked students and teachers at different schools with crazy names what the names mean and all of them have no clue! I'm sure they are all churning out tons of doctors and lawyers considering most have research and science and jaw in their names . Oh wait must of them are turning out kids who need remediation in community colleges. What a joke

Anonymous said...

Children first after my pockets are full. Sadly enough, most students and parents are mis led thinking that they will be attending the "HS for Law" or HS for sports professions"and actually thinking that they are attending a law school or sports theme type HS. Well, the curriculum is exactly the same as it is at ANY NYC HS - the state requirements do not change so when students enter these bogus theme names High Schools they are in shock!!!!LOLOLL STILL NEED the 44 credits kids....sorry no sports games here. caLL MIKEY

Anonymous said...

Why do you have such a hatred for “newbies”? You demonize “newbies” in the same fashion that you believe experienced teachers are being demonized by Bloomberg & Harkin. Not all “newbies” are good teachers, nor are all experienced teachers good teachers. I believe your argument would be stronger if you stopped attacking “newbies” and focused on the characteristics you outlined.

Look at the characteristics of a “quality teacher” you outlined. Personal and emotional connection – depends more on the person than on experience. Deep knowledge of curriculum – combination of experience and education. Classroom management skills – can improve with experience but “newbies” can have good or bad classroom management, and so can experienced teachers. Respect, knowledgeable and caring – depends more on the person than on experience.

Stop bashing “newbies” and start fighting for the best teachers – experienced or new.

Chaz said...


I do not have a hatred for "newbies" its just that the Bloomberg Administration makes it idifficult for principals to hire senior teachers.

Yes there are bad teachers but it takes 5 to 8 years to be a quality teacher, not one year!