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View Full Version : Why do teachers seemingly get such a bad rap?



Mithrandir
02-26-2011, 04:21 PM
It has been my experience throughout life that teachers get far more criticism than acclaim...why is that?

Teachers should be at the top of the heap when it comes to receiving praise yet more often than not I hear people complaining about teachers. Overpaid..too much vacation..weekends off...the education kids receive stinks...etc..

Why are teachers so maligned?

Is it that the poor teachers take the good-great teachers down with them?

Or is it sadly that education is just not that important anymore, so teachers aren't that important either?

I know many people who feel that teachers are very important, myself included...but way too many don't feel that way...

MagSeven
02-26-2011, 04:49 PM
While I agree that teachers are very important, I refuse to put them onto a pedestal where many people like to place them. They aren't any more important than a nurse, policeman, librarian, etc. It seems that just because they have to 'put up with' the kids of today, they should be idolized. I'm sorry, but I just don't buy into that. There aren't many jobs that give you a 2 hour delay at the slightest hint of bad weather and give you an entire summer off. Granted, I have not worked in their shoes, but they have not worked in anyone else's shoes either.

Lucky
02-26-2011, 05:03 PM
It has been my experience throughout life that teachers get far more criticism than acclaim...why is that?

Teachers should be at the top of the heap when it comes to receiving praise yet more often than not I hear people complaining about teachers. Overpaid..too much vacation..weekends off...the education kids receive stinks...etc..

Why are teachers so maligned?

Is it that the poor teachers take the good-great teachers down with them?

Or is it sadly that education is just not that important anymore, so teachers aren't that important either?

I know many people who feel that teachers are very important, myself included...but way too many don't feel that way...

I think it is a combination of things.

Teachers are an easy target for the anti-tax crowd, especially since we have lost our standing as having the world's best educated youth.

It's political, too. Teachers' unions typically support candidates who favor more spending on education, who are typically Democrats.

There's also the anti-intellectualism which has come to grip our country, which views education as less important than it used to be.

Bad mix. Tough time to be a teacher. I'd love to see more politicians stand up for them.

Lucky
02-26-2011, 05:05 PM
While I agree that teachers are very important, I refuse to put them onto a pedestal where many people like to place them. They aren't any more important than a nurse, policeman, librarian, etc. It seems that just because they have to 'put up with' the kids of today, they should be idolized. I'm sorry, but I just don't buy into that. There aren't many jobs that give you a 2 hour delay at the slightest hint of bad weather and give you an entire summer off. Granted, I have not worked in their shoes, but they have not worked in anyone else's shoes either.

And, of course, you have this.

Gregg
02-27-2011, 11:03 AM
How many really good teachers did any of us have? As I look back only a handful really stand out as good. A handful really stand out as bad. The rest eh?

I am not sure teachers receive any more criticism or acclaim than any other profession. It seems that in any job/profession the ones that love what they do rise to the top. I have met a bunch of teachers that lost that love and should have found something else to do a long time ago.

Judge Jude
02-27-2011, 12:22 PM
Well, in many states teachers used to receive far less salary + benefits than most people believe they deserved. That began to change, and now in some cases they have gotten to rather impressive compensation deals in the minds of many.

Many teachers unions, faced with a choice between keeping their annual raises but laying teachers off vs a salary freeze and no layoffs, have been choosing the former.

If such a choice were put to my office, it would be about 80 pct the latter (and would be close to 100 pct but some people no doubt are on the edge financially and might feel that no raise would put them that much closer to foreclosure, for instance).

If the primary focus really is the welfare of the kids, seems like you vote for the salary freeze, also to preserve the jobs of your colleagues.

And yes, the determination to protect the jobs of terrible teachers also leads to scorn. There are lots of problems with lack of tenure, such as a great teacher maybe being dumped for office politics reasons. Let's not kid ourselves there. But the alternative that we have may well be even more unpalatable. I feel bad for the good teachers stuck with underperforming colleagues for years. The rest of us don't have to put up with that.

Wonderboy
02-27-2011, 02:02 PM
How many really good teachers did any of us have? As I look back only a handful really stand out as good. A handful really stand out as bad. The rest eh?

I am not sure teachers receive any more criticism or acclaim than any other profession. It seems that in any job/profession the ones that love what they do rise to the top. I have met a bunch of teachers that lost that love and should have found something else to do a long time ago.

I think the same applies to doctors, lawyers, car mechanics, plumbers, etc. As I look back, only a handful stand out as good. A handful were bad, and most were average. In other words, the curve for teachers matches the rest of the human race.

joncarlos
02-27-2011, 05:33 PM
I think the same applies to doctors, lawyers, car mechanics, plumbers, etc. As I look back, only a handful stand out as good. A handful were bad, and most were average. In other words, the curve for teachers matches the rest of the human race.

True, but other than maybe doctors, a good teacher has a more profound effect on your life than any other "good" professional.

Judge Jude
02-27-2011, 06:16 PM
Hmm, dodging a 20-year jail sentence with a great attorney would be pretty profound, as would your mechanic noticing that your brakes were about to fail!
:)

Lucky
02-27-2011, 06:51 PM
Hmm, dodging a 20-year jail sentence with a great attorney would be pretty profound, as would your mechanic noticing that your brakes were about to fail!
:)

I'm with Jon Carlos on this one. A pharmacist could notice that the drug you were just prescribed will interact in a deadly manner with your other meds...a meter reader could notice a gas leak, and alert you and your family right before a big explosion...your Irish Setter could smell smoke and wake you up before you are trapped in a house fire...I get your point that any profession can make a positive difference in your life, provided they do their job right. But, their aren't many 20-year sentences avoided by great attorneys. I don't know how often mechanics discover situations of eminent failure of braking systems, but it is probably more common that the lawyer thing.

I don't think you are trying to say that lawyers or mechanics impact the lives of people as regularly or profoundly as the vast number of teachers in America, are you? I don't hear many testimonials about how a lawyer or a mechanic either a) was the motivating force for a student in changing course to a better life, or b) provided the spark to motivate a student to become a great scientist, doctor or statesman. I do, however, hear testimonials from lawyers and mechanics about their teachers. I would be happy to tell you about the teachers who impacted my life.

So it seems to me that, while there are certainly examples of lawyers, mechanics and every other profession helping people sometimes, you are really comparing apples to oranges.

Judge Jude
02-27-2011, 10:04 PM
I can see the emiticon on my message - is it not working for others? The meaning of the comment is completely different depending if the "smiley face" is there or not....

Wonderboy
02-27-2011, 10:20 PM
My point is that within each profession, there is an elite at one end, a nadir at the other end, and the vast majority in the middle. You just notice it more with teachers because of their profound effect on us, for good or ill.

A great teacher can inspire hundreds of students, and a bad one can ruin an equal amount. While the capacity for such a profound effect doesn't exist outside of many other professions, I don't think the range of quality among teachers differs all that much from the quality of lawyers, doctors, plumbers, etc. It's just more noticeable with teachers.

Fresno Bob
02-28-2011, 12:58 AM
every single one of us has had an absolute zero of a teacher who was just mailing it in day after day, waiting, begging for summer....that's why.

B-Fly
02-28-2011, 11:05 AM
Great teachers rightly should be lionized and, in my opinion, handsomely rewarded for their contributions. And precisely because teaching is so important - to individual children and families, to communities and our nation - poor teachers should be removed. Now new teachers, like newbies in almost every profession, need strong institutional support from supervisors and peers and effective professional development to help them reach their potential. While many teachers are good at self-assessment and will voluntarily walk away upon realizing that they're not able to break through and become truly effective, a fair number don't. And a fair number of pretty good teachers hit a motivational wall at some point in their careers - where the myriad hassles and pressures of the job, or perhaps simply the repetitive year-to-year nature of the job cause the love they had for the work and their students to break down, but they're eight years from a full pension and damn if they're going to give that up, so they "mail it in", as FB said, for those eight more years.

I don't think we've developed the system we need yet for effectively evaluating teacher performance, and so I understand the push back from teachers and their unions to a "merit"-based system for layoffs, tenure determinations, retention/termination, pay bonuses, etc, but I wish we could get everyone to the table to work on improving the system for teacher evaluation so that we could effectively move from a civil service system to a merit system in public education. I believe that if we could do that and raise salaries, we could effectively bring the public perception of teachers (at least from a 'status' perspective) up to the level of other professions like law and medicine.