|Image by Gillian (?)|
STOP! It's a trick question. Loaded.
If you say good, you're arrogant, you don't understand how good teachers are always trying to get better, you're not aware of your faults or you're just blind to the signs.
If you say bad, you buying into some kind of talent argument, ignoring growth mindset principles, falsely humble, don't even know what formative assessment or SBAR means or, worse, you're guilty of one of the big teacher sins like low expectations, no classroom management or ... I gasp to say it ... LECTURING.
Are some teachers better than others? Of course. I see them at work every day, in my case. Do I want to know how to get better? Of course. I think about it rather obsessively. Is it helpful to classify teachers? Of...
I don't know. I'm open to arguments, but everything I know and has experienced leads me to say no.
Part of the academic life at university is this periodic vetting of our colleagues. Who is good enough to stay?
So we have to functionally label people as good teachers or bad. Since we are so bad at measuring teaching, our main tool for this is student evaluations. This is not the purpose for which student evaluations are meant. But they have pithy comments, and numbers we can average! I can pretend it's data about the quality of teaching!
Tenure is a weird construct, and I understand why it makes people fidgety. Ultimately, my view of it is colored by my brilliant advisor, who saw it as freedom. Freedom to pursue interests instead of quantitative measures, which will produce more innovation in the long run. We want to know, what will people do with their freedom? Which is one of the fundamental problems of freedom.
I'm fortunate, in my view, to be at a university where teaching is the major factor in tenure. Getting a little less so, but it's still the case. There are not many public universities like this. Send us your children, because they are going to get a better education here than almost anywhere.
But it also brings us to these moments of passing judgment. If I'm against classifying good and bad teachers, how do I make my decisions?
|Photo by VD Veksler|
I don't want to judge where I think your path is going. I want to hear you talk about your journey. If you're willing to share it, let's get a coffee.
Te invito. My treat.