The problem with teachers isn’t the teachers, it’s the higher ed institutes that allow them to become teachers.
Seriously, let’s stop pointing the finger at teachers and accusing them of being at fault for being bad teachers and point the finger at the institutes that neglected to tell them they weren’t cut out for the job. Young adults are encouraged everyday to believe that they can be whatever they want to be! Do whatever they want to do! Yay! The world is yours! I call B.S. Let’s be realistic folks, not everyone is cut out to be a doctor or a musician or a carpenter or a teacher. Everyone has their limitations; I am exposed to those limitations every day I go to work.
I work as a graduate assistant in an art education department at a state university, and part of my job description is to keep the portfolios of the art ed undergrad students up-to-date (snooze). This means I file away their “best” papers, lesson plans and whatever else is deemed important enough to go into this oh-so-selective portfolio (note the sarcasm). I am appalled by the quality of a majority of the work, or more fittingly, lack thereof. Whatever happened to high standards? We’re sending teachers out into the world who don’t even know how to write a simple sentence!?! Really!?! I could continue for days discussing the extent of my disgust over the level of work college professors accept from their students, but I won’t. Instead, I offer a suggestion that would help us to weed out the bad teachers before they even enter a classroom: BE HONEST!
Whoa! What a concept! (Hey, if it works for House…) But seriously, it will work (and a good psych evaluation couldn’t hurt either, but I digress). I think we have become a soft and whiny society that expects everything to be sugar-coated and wrapped in pink fluffy fluff. Let’s start telling people what we honestly think. For example, “I think your writing skills are equivalent to those of a second grader” or “I think you’re too dumb to find your way out of a closet even if I stood you in front of the door and put your hand on the doorknob” or how about this one “I don’t think you’re cut out for teaching. Maybe you should choose a different career.” * That last one isn’t nearly as humorous as the first two, but I believe it’s not being said enough, if it’s being said at all. When students are encouraged to become teachers, or more frighteningly, merely pushed through the process of becoming teachers, when they clearly lack the natural skills and competence to do so, they are being set-up to inevitably fail. Not only does this hurt them, but it also hurts their future students. We’ve all heard the phrase “stupidity breeds stupidity” well, “the incompetent teach incompetently.”
*These phrases could be applied to at least three future teachers that I know. In fact, I used the third phrase on a girl I live with. The girl thanked me for being the first person to be honest with her, expressed that she was having doubts about becoming a teacher, and has since decided to become a dental hygienist. She’ll make a damn good dental hygienist too.