Ways to Build Teacher Quality
To be honest, regardless of how effective their teacher training program was, most new educators do not enter the classroom as polished products. They often require time to ripen, much like a fine wine. The American public is unaware of this, and they want new teachers to deliver at an optimal level right away. Educators understand that developing an excellent teacher takes time and resources. In this post, I will discuss four strategies for improving teacher quality.
- We must give new and inexperienced educators mentors who have demonstrated their effectiveness as instructors. I can relate from personal experience to the significant influence that having a good teacher as a mentor can have on a new teacher. They, along with informal mentors, assisted me in transitioning from a caterpillar to a beautiful butterfly. I shall be eternally grateful to them for it, even though they did it for the love of the profession.
- They must be prepared for success within their first 3-5 years. We should not place novice teachers in challenging urban contexts or in courses with a large proportion of students with learning difficulties or behavioral issues. Ironically, that is exactly what occurs. Veteran instructors receive their class lists before the first day of school and raise holy hell when they see a high mix of special needs students. To appease these educators, the majority of these students are given to young and inexperienced teachers who have no idea what they are in for. In the end, the students suffer, and the new instructors are forced to leave the sector or change schools.
- Funding for advanced degrees. What if every school district covered the tuition for instructors pursuing a Master’s degree in education? Some school districts are already doing this and earning huge benefits as a result. Educators who complete graduate programs in education report a significant rise in their teaching efficacy and effectiveness, and students see an increase in academic performance. To equal the educational benefits of a 30-36 hour Master’s degree program in education, it would require ten years of professional development sessions. The school system would just have to make a minor investment. This cost would be mitigated by the district’s reduced teacher turnover, as it costs large districts millions of dollars to find and hire new educators. It also costs them millions of dollars per year to keep students in their present grade level.
- They must have access to high-quality, research-based professional development. This will enable them to hone their teaching abilities by adding to their repertoire tactics and methods that have been shown to improve student performance. We must put an end to the buddy-buddy system for booking professional development trainers. In the end, our instructors and students suffer.
This is not intended to be an exhaustive list. I’m merely a former teacher and education researcher giving four recommendations on how to improve teacher quality over time. What did I overlook?