Wednesday, July 29, 2015

On Teachers

I wouldn't mind if we paid teachers more, but with the stipulation that we fire all the existing teachers and force them to re-apply for their own jobs, and on a regular basis fire any teacher who can't pass the same tests students take (you'd be surprised how many can't), and whose students performed, on average, a standard deviation below the district average on those tests over the last two years.  What's the point, after all, if we aren't improving the quality of the teachers we have?

But most "Yay higher salaries for teachers" people lose enthusiasm when you begin to suggest that the current status of teaching is "Full of egotistical power-over-small-children-corrupted rejects of real professions".  The exceptions to this prove the rule - oh, you had a teacher that actually -taught- you something?  Hey, I, too, remember the names of the two teachers who met the minimal criteria of being competent at their jobs, out of the two dozen or so I encountered.  I also remember a host of people who wasted a third of my childhood on crosswords, word finds, and other makework nonsense (such as doing sheet after sheet of addition, subtraction, and multiplication, year after year, until most of the kids that started out enjoying math are driven to hatred of it - or insisting we do work in paper and time intensive ways, which has only gotten worse since I got out of that incestuous hellhole of an institution), and got petulant if I insisted on reading instead of engaging in their pitiful idea of curriculum.  (Or worse, the teacher who, after I finished my work in the usual five minutes, insisted on threat of detention I -sit there doing nothing- for the next forty five minutes instead of reading.  I have choice words I'd share for that one if I met her in the street today, and the lost opportunity cost she alone imposed on my education was sufficient to entirely erase the benefits of one of the two competent teachers.)

Overall, I say, entirely without exaggeration, that the sum effect of all the teachers I've had has been negative, in terms of time lost that could have been better spent doing just about anything else.  So yeah.  Increase the salaries.  But fire them all first.