TBT Recollections of a High School Counselor: Teaching the Noble Profession


Question? Why are there so many poor teachers out there? I’m not talking about cash poor teachers, we all know there are plenty of those, no, I’m talking about, lousy, second rate, inferior teachers who have no business being in the classroom. These hapless boneheads fall into  three categories: New teachers who simply don’t have what it takes to make the educational magic happen in the classroom. Individuals who don’t really want to be teachers and are simply using teaching as way to make a living until their chosen career job opens up. And finally there are the burnt out veterans with twenty plus years under their belt and tenure, who are simply biding their time until retirement and could care less about making the magic or anything else happen in the classroom.  And believe me, in the hands of a good teacher what happens in the classroom is magical.

Entering a classroom is quite a challenge. what goes on in the ‘box’  can change a students life forever. Every year it’s a brand new ball game, new students, new opportunities. A classroom K – 12 is like a mini society. Thirty to thirty six different personalities sharing the same space, some eager to learn , some disinterested and indifferent and some who are their to cause trouble and raising a little hell. Teachers who can recognize and overcome obstacles early, develop a rapport with his/her students, and are viewed by students as fair, honest, and sincere, will connect with them, and create an atmosphere where students want to learn. Believe me students of all ages are able to recognize sincerity, and if they truly believe you are there for them and that you really care, you will make a difference.

Good teachers know how to engage students and motivate them, they make learning fun. They are willing to change things up and try new methods and strategies to meet student needs. They have expectations of success for every student but are flexible in their goal setting because they know, no two students are alike. Good teachers are also comfortable with not knowing. Just because your a teacher doesn’t mean you know everything. Good  teachers are okay with this, they know that sometimes a student may ask a question that they can’t answer. They readily admit it and use this as an opportunity to learn together.

Sometimes a student may know more about a subject than the teacher, and that’s okay. I remember when I taught sixth grade history, I always began the year with a unit on dinosaurs.  One year I had a student who happened to be an expert on dinosaurs. He knew the subject much better than I, and he didn’t hesitate to let me know it. So what do you do with an expert? Exactly, you use him to your advantage. I made him my assistant and he helped me teach the six week unit. It was great!

Lastly, good teachers enjoys their work and their students and they’re not afraid to let it show. They shout it from the rooftops through the way they present themselves, their attitude and the way they nurture their students. It takes a special person to spark the interest of a child and keep that interest alive and growing for an entire year and beyond. It’s really something when you form that bond with your class and watch them accept the challenge to learn and improve their grades. It’s magic!

Good teachers are not rare, they’re out there in the trenches fighting the good fight for education day after day and there are more good ones graduating from college every year. Unfortunately with our budget woes there’s just no place for any new ones until we can unload some of the dead weight and burn outs.

We just don’t hear about good one’s often enough. It’s the bad ones that get all the attention, the bad ones that make the news. Educational reform as it applies to teachers is desperately needed, and their are some bills in congress addressing the issue, but change is slow in coming. Only a handful of poor teachers are ever weeded out and removed from the classroom, the worst of the worse so to speak.  In the meantime life goes on, and it is the the students who suffer at the hands of these poor teachers, their ingenuity and intellect stifled  their light dimmed.

Just a Thought,

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