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A concerned member of the human race

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Classroom Effectiveness is in the Eye of the Beholder

I read a comment from a parent engaging in one of the lawsuits against tenure, comparing two different teachers in whose classrooms two siblings have sat.  One child had the great teacher.  The other child suffered through a poor teacher. 

I understand the parental concern.  Yet, it set me thinking.  A teacher who is the light in one child's eyes may be the bane of existence for another.  One teacher may help prep a student to test perfection, but miss with the next one.  Another teacher may fall short on prepping kids, but help students overcome potentially crippling social and emotional issues or inspire a child to think creatively.  One teacher may pick up on one student's needs, but fail to understand the needs of the next.  One teacher may be an excellent English grammarian, but another teacher may reach students by speaking several languages fluently.  In my opinion, it is best that students experience a diverse set of teachers. 

Just as I don't believe in any race of super humans, I do not believe in any race of super teachers.  We have different strengths and weaknesses.  Any one teacher, even the teacher of the year, may make a hit with some students, but miss with others. Witness teacher Christine McLaughlin, once an acclaimed teacher in Pasadena, hauled up before the judge in the Vergara suit.  

And, as to the answer to the question in the picture above, unlike the teacher who originally graded it, I'd have to give that "wrong" answer full credit.  I can't find anything wrong with it.  And, for thinking so, some might call me a bad teacher, altogether too silly; others might think I'm My-T-Fine or applaud some satyagraha.  And, the funny thing is that all assertions can be true.  I could stink for some students, but I just might make a "difference" for others. 

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