At age 47 I changed careers and became a public high school teacher and I taught for 18 years until I retired. This sums up what I learned, you are either a really good teacher or you are not and most people don’t care. If you are really good it is because you want to be the best and you seek out ways to become the best. Some teachers do the bare minimum and their students suffer for it. The problem is there is no real accountability in public education.
Schools are always comparing themselves to nearby schools. If they are all chairs on the Titanic it does not matter. The U.S. usually ranks last in the industrialized world in education when students are tested. I decided to find out who was first and find out what were they doing that I could copy. When I looked into it Singapore was first. I found videos online that talked about what they did.
- Their philosophy was that the students that learned the most were the ones answering questions in class. So all students had to answer questions in class. They drew names out of a jar.
- They put the grade in the grade book but not on the paper. They put comments on the paper as to what the student could do to get better.
- Teachers evaluated other teachers. If your fellow teachers thought you were not doing a good job you were out.
That’s it. Are there other differences such as how they implement discipline? I don’t know. I did not find information on that. I figured I could do the first two listed on my own and I did. It was not as easy as it sounds. It took an effort to call on everybody to answer questions. Writing comments on papers took a lot of extra time. In the end, I think it made a difference but I had no real way to measure success. I always worked at building relationships with my students. They knew I expected their best effort. One student-athlete who struggled in the class said, “you have more faith in me than I have in myself.”
Where does accountability come from? It starts with you. Did you vote in the last school board election? Did you meet the candidates and ask them questions? Why not? The biggest tax you probably pay is your local school tax. The public has to hold the school board accountable. The school board has to hold the superintendent accountable. The superintendent has to hold principals accountable. Principals have to hold teachers accountable. Teachers have to hold their students accountable.
It is not a money issue. I saw so much money wasted. That will be another topic.
Here are some videos on education.
Problems with Common Core Education