Pass or Fail: Teacher Professionalism and How to Boost It
In this multi-part series, I provide a dissection of the phenomenon of retention and social promotion. Also, I describe the many different methods that would improve student instruction in classrooms and eliminate the need for retention and social promotion if combined effectively.
While reading this series, periodically ask yourself this question: Why are educators, parents and the American public complicit in a practice that does demonstrable harm to children and the competitive future of the country?
It’s clear that the teaching profession has plenty of unresolved issues. It’s impossible to apply one blanket group of standards to an entire industry and then hope for the best.
Teacher professionalism, or lack of it, impacts student success, and failure.
Part of the challenge is identifying what exactly constitutes a qualified teacher. How are their qualifications determined and how can we verify those qualifications? First, we need teachers to facilitate the process of reforming the education system and ending grade retention and social promotion, as outlined in previous articles. Teachers must take ownership of certain standards and ensure that they are effectively managed.
In one sense, we’re charging teachers with implementing core curriculum elements for students and with managing some aspects of assessments to determine how well students retain the core knowledge. We’re also expecting teachers to manage classrooms, considering certain aspects of the classroom dynamic to assess and ultimately support the learning needs of all students, not just the “typical” ones.
Teachers are partly responsible for overseeing communication between home and school and between themselves and school administrators and policymakers who may have some bearing on whether or not a child is retained or socially promoted, whether they are deemed to be falling behind academically or whether there are other issues that are not being adequately addressed.
Because of specific expectations about what students learn and how they learn according to age, we’ll also assume that teachers need special knowledge to teach certain subjects, depending on the type of teaching job they take on. For instance, math teachers should have a degree in math or math education. Someone teaching English at a higher level should have an English degree. Elementary school teachers should have degrees in either elementary education or early childhood education, depending on which grade they go into. It’s important to place teachers on a track and then stick with it – most teacher qualifications do not easily translate to different grades or topics.
More specification is important to teachers having the necessary skills to adequately educate the exact students in their classrooms – and it’s essential to promoting those students accurately.