What do I mean by effective? I mean teachers that get the job done. Researchers and practitioners agree that effective teachers are those that posses both the content knowledge AND pedagogical skill to bring about gains in student learning. Recent trends in legislation seems to place much greater emphasis on teacher content knowledge, but a high school teachers’ expertise in physics is of no use unless she/he can relay their understanding to their students. If he/she can not, then school districts are merely paying folks to stand in front of classrooms and be smart. That does students no good at all. Many of us have “not so fond” memories of brilliant college professors who stood at the front of the class and “taught” for an hour three times a week, and yet we learned absolutely nothing. That is not what we want to replicate in our K-12 classrooms.
So as states start to flesh out proposals for the new Race to the Top competition, my hope is that they will use differentiated pay to attract and retain good teachers; not just teaching applicants with impressive resumes (i.e. prestigious college, high gpa, Praxis test scores, experience outside of teaching), but teachers who can bring about student learning. The purpose for all of this must be student learning. That’s all that counts.
Holland, S. (2009, August 25). U.S. students fall behind counterparts in math, science, analysis says. CNN.com. Retrieved August 26, 2009, from cnnwire.blogs.cnn.com.