Friday, February 10, 2012

Take my hand, take my whole life too (Elvis)

While I was writing the previous post and looking for some substantive research on whether teacher evaluations had any significant impact on student achievement I came across a great statement by John Hattie:
On the other side of this equation [the effects of the best rated teachers], having poor teachers can be devastating. The effects of poor teacher quality tend to persist for years after a student has had such a teacher.

These are the mediocre teachers that Todd Whitaker talks about in his work.

While the superstar teachers have high expectations of their students, create high self-esteem, and will be fine no matter what, the mediocre do untold damage by having low expectations and teach in a uniformly boring way to the whole class.

Why don’t we let the superstars and backbones get on with it and limit the damage of the poor teachers by concentrating on them? If the mediocre teachers can’t or won’t adapt then let’s get rid of them.

Believe me I know that’s easier said than done. I have been involved in competency meetings/decisions in NZ, England and here in the UAE. None were fun but all were a case of needs must.

Gervase Phinn includes this poem in one of his books:

Remember me?

"Do you remember me?" asked the young man.
The old man at the bus stop,
Shabby, standing in the sun, alone,
Looked 'round.
He stared for a moment screwing up his eyes,
Then shook his head.
"No, I don't remember you."
"You used to teach me, " said the young man.
"I've taught so many," said the old man, sighing.
"I forget."
"I was the boy you said was useless,
Good for nothing, a waste of space.
Who always left your classroom crying,
And dreaded every lesson that you taught."
The old man shook his head and turned away.
"No, I don't remember you, " he murmured.
"Well I remember you," the young man said.

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