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View Poll Results: What percent of teachers are crappy teachers?
More than 45% 14 24.56%
41%-45% 2 3.51%
36%-40% 0 0%
31%-35% 5 8.77%
26%-30% 2 3.51%
21%-25% 2 3.51%
16%-20% 7 12.28%
11%-15% 4 7.02%
6%-10% 9 15.79%
5% or less 12 21.05%
Voters: 57. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-02-2011, 08:14 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivorytickler View Post
Why do you consider the crappy teachers crappy? What did they do?

Did your daughter's math teacher really teach her nothing all year or are you exaggerating? I never know how to take claims like this. I don't know how a teacher gets away with teaching nothing all year without someone noticing they aren't teaching....
I thought I already said why they were crappy...guess that was too general?

The math teacher indeed taught her nothing she didn't already know. In 6th grade she was in Pre-Ap Math and they taught at an excelled pace. By the end of the year they had covered everything all the way through the first semester of 7th grade math.

Then she was recommended and approved to take a placement test to place her in Algebra in 7th grade as she had shown profound proficiency in math during the entire year. She and about 10 others from her school were scheduled to take the test. That test was supposed to cover the second semester of 7th grade math and the first one of 8th grade math and so she was given materials and resources to study and work on before the test. There was very little on that she couldn't already do.

When she got her results back she had scored the highest score out of the entire district, but it still wasn't high enough to pass. Turns out they ordered their test from a different college than years past and it covered the entire year of 8th grade and nothing of 7th. Her score was 85 and she needed a 90 in order to take Algebra in 7th grade.

Therefore she, and all the others, had no choice but to be placed in Pre-AP 7th grade math instead of Algebra. Everyone involved agreed she should be in Alg, and that even Pre-AP would be no challenge whatsoever. Both Advanced Academics teachers involved, her 6th grade math teacher, the counselor, and the admin of her school. No score of 90, no Alg. period. She took it a second time a week later and did not improve her score and declared it wasn't worth the trouble. I didn't push her further either.

She ended the year with a 100 average for the full year. The teacher stuck to her tried and true curriculum, which we learned was actually quite old fashioned at open house night, and didn't vary one bit for any student who had already mastered areas. Stick a fork in her she was done teaching. She announced her retirement even before the halfway mark and just treaded water until the year was over. So she spent a stagnant year redoing the same things she already knew.

I guess you could say that it at least stayed fresh for her eh? lol
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Old 08-02-2011, 08:21 PM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,393 posts, read 29,817,769 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hypocore View Post
I thought I already said why they were crappy...guess that was too general?

The math teacher indeed taught her nothing she didn't already know. In 6th grade she was in Pre-Ap Math and they taught at an excelled pace. By the end of the year they had covered everything all the way through the first semester of 7th grade math.

Then she was recommended and approved to take a placement test to place her in Algebra in 7th grade as she had shown profound proficiency in math during the entire year. She and about 10 others from her school were scheduled to take the test. That test was supposed to cover the second semester of 7th grade math and the first one of 8th grade math and so she was given materials and resources to study and work on before the test. There was very little on that she couldn't already do.

When she got her results back she had scored the highest score out of the entire district, but it still wasn't high enough to pass. Turns out they ordered their test from a different college than years past and it covered the entire year of 8th grade and nothing of 7th. Her score was 85 and she needed a 90 in order to take Algebra in 7th grade.

Therefore she, and all the others, had no choice but to be placed in Pre-AP 7th grade math instead of Algebra. Everyone involved agreed she should be in Alg, and that even Pre-AP would be no challenge whatsoever. Both Advanced Academics teachers involved, her 6th grade math teacher, the counselor, and the admin of her school. No score of 90, no Alg. period. She took it a second time a week later and did not improve her score and declared it wasn't worth the trouble. I didn't push her further either.

She ended the year with a 100 average for the full year. The teacher stuck to her tried and true curriculum, which we learned was actually quite old fashioned at open house night, and didn't vary one bit for any student who had already mastered areas. Stick a fork in her she was done teaching. She announced her retirement even before the halfway mark and just treaded water until the year was over. So she spent a stagnant year redoing the same things she already knew.

I guess you could say that it at least stayed fresh for her eh? lol
So why are you claiming the teacher is crappy for not teaching her anything new? If she knew the material going in, that is not the teacher's fault. The teacher still has to teach the rest of the class who doesn't know the material so why wouldn't she stick to her curriculum? It would be different if every student were ahead but it doesn't sound like that was the case and even if it was, they were placed in THAT class so the assumption would be they need to be taught the material for that class. I don't assume that my student's already know what I'm teaching even though some of them do. I still have to teach it.

My dd has sat in classes where she already knew the material but I've never blamed the teacher for that. Dd tested out of Algebra, after 6th grade, but we decided it would be to her benefit to actually take the class and there were a few things she hadn't seen. She didn't learn much that year as she'd seen 90% of what the teacher was teaching but I've never blamed the teacher for that. Dd was just too far ahead of the curve. She was bored but we told her it was a good idea to make sure she really did know her algebra before moving on. I have never once thought to call her teacher crappy because he didn't cater to a child who is ahead in math and my dd actually tested out so she really didn't need the class. Her teacher knew she'd tested out of the class and was only taking it at our insistance. Should I label her teacher a crappy teacher for not catering to my dd??

The way I see it, dd has a stronger foundation because she took algebra even though she didn't need it. It's not always the right move to push a child ahead just because they can be. Foundations are important.

Last edited by Ivorytickler; 08-02-2011 at 08:40 PM..
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Old 08-02-2011, 08:47 PM
 
153 posts, read 625,563 times
Reputation: 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivorytickler View Post
What is your basis for assuming that teaching, as a career, does not have a normal distribution of ability?

Oh, and there are plenty of normal distributions having to do with criminals and any other group you'd want to name for that matter. The distribution is simply normal to the group. That criminals don't represent a cross section of the population (I assume this is what you were getting at) is irrlevent. Neither do engineers, doctors or janitors but there are norms within the groups. Teachers are somewhat above average if you look at statistics.
Perhaps the better question is what is the mean and how do you define mean teacher quality, though that veers into your other thread. In my initial post, I was primarily objecting to lkb's statement that statistics somehow suggest that less than 40% of teachers are 'crappy'.

On average, education majors have lower SAT scores than other majors, but higher GPAs(see, for example http://i.bnet.com/blogs/education-major-study.pdf). Therefore, by at least one metric, education majors are actually below average(among those who go to college). Because the bulk of my interactions have been with secondary science teachers, I feel that teacher quality is determined primarily by subject knowledge and enthusiasm. Teachers who majored in education rather than their subject matter, or teachers who majored in 'natural sciences' without ever taking junior or senior level courses very rarely have the necessary tools to teach math and science properly. As of 2009, only 25% of physics teachers in the US majored in physics, and only 46% majored or minored in physics or physics education(http://www.aip.org/statistics/trends...hsteachers.pdf). If 75% of the physics teachers in the US didn't major in physics, I'd wager that a good number of them cannot provide the depth and background necessary to make a class interesting. In my book, that's a 'crappy teacher'.

I should also say that I have worked with many fantastic teachers, and my only experience in an elementary school classroom was with a teacher who did a spectacular job in the heart of east cleveland, but because you asked about bad teachers, that was the focus of my response.
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Old 08-02-2011, 09:22 PM
 
15,812 posts, read 13,266,032 times
Reputation: 19712
Quote:
Originally Posted by ben52284 View Post
Really? Would you apply the same logic to the percentage of people in prison who are criminals? All distributions are not gaussians centered around 80%.
That is the worst analogy I have ever seen on this board. Good job!

The only equivalent to your analogy would be to figure out what subset of teachers were teachers, since by definition prisoners have to have been convicted of a crime and are therefore by definition of the legal system, criminals.

Second, the assumptions of a normal distribution are absolutely met by the subset of the population called "teachers". Very large, of mixed age and gender, etc.

Finally, since the definition of a "good" or "crappy" teacher is subjective based on the subset it HAS TO BE A NORMAL DISTRIBUTION. Which btw is not 80% since the "crappy" and the "good" would be 1 standard deviation away the center would 68%.

Quote:
Throughout my primary and secondary education, most of my teachers were quite average, but a solid 50% of the teachers I have interacted with in outreach programs since then have been truly awful. Most of the science teachers I have met have no background in the field they are teaching, and therefore cannot provide any context beyond what is in the book. A few examples of teachers I considered awful include:
Lets ignore your anecdotal stories and look at some facts. The majority of states require people to at least have 28+ credits in their specific area (i.e. bio, chem, physics) to teach secondary science classes or a major in their field. This is due to the "highly qualified" status that NCLB required schools to meet. Therefore the majority of secondary high school teachers must have a "background in the field they are teaching" at a minimum.

And since you think anecdotal means so much, there are 6 science teachers in my school. All but 1 has a graduate degree in their field. Their backgrounds are exemplary as is their first hand knowledge of the subject they teach. Again all but one has completed primary research in their field.

For every anecdotal story there is an equal and opposite one.
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Old 08-02-2011, 09:34 PM
 
15,812 posts, read 13,266,032 times
Reputation: 19712
Quote:
Originally Posted by ben52284 View Post
Perhaps the better question is what is the mean and how do you define mean teacher quality, though that veers into your other thread. In my initial post, I was primarily objecting to lkb's statement that statistics somehow suggest that less than 40% of teachers are 'crappy'.

On average, education majors have lower SAT scores than other majors, but higher GPAs(see, for example http://i.bnet.com/blogs/education-major-study.pdf). Therefore, by at least one metric, education majors are actually below average(among those who go to college). Because the bulk of my interactions have been with secondary science teachers, I feel that teacher quality is determined primarily by subject knowledge and enthusiasm. Teachers who majored in education rather than their subject matter, or teachers who majored in 'natural sciences' without ever taking junior or senior level courses very rarely have the necessary tools to teach math and science properly. As of 2009, only 25% of physics teachers in the US majored in physics, and only 46% majored or minored in physics or physics education(http://www.aip.org/statistics/trends...hsteachers.pdf). If 75% of the physics teachers in the US didn't major in physics, I'd wager that a good number of them cannot provide the depth and background necessary to make a class interesting. In my book, that's a 'crappy teacher'.

I should also say that I have worked with many fantastic teachers, and my only experience in an elementary school classroom was with a teacher who did a spectacular job in the heart of east cleveland, but because you asked about bad teachers, that was the focus of my response.
1. In the majority of states it is not possible to become a secondary science teacher with an EDUCATION DEGREE without a major in the field as well.
2. To be federally highly qualified you must have a background that includes a number of courses in your field and have passed a state test in your subject area.
3. Just because someone does not major or minor in physics does not mean they did not take a large number of courses. I have a bachelors in oceanography. I have 32 credits in physics alone, I am completely qualified to teach physics and have taught it well in the past despite no degree in the field. One of the two physics teachers in my school has a degree in physical chemistry (not a physics degree) and has taken over 30 physics credits (more than enough for a minor) but would not have been included in the physics degree. Her 15 AP kids this year all got 5s except 2, who got 4s. Degree holding alone does not equate to strong background in subject.
4. If you take out the elementary ed teachers the SAT scores of secondary teachers is not lower than that of their none teaching peers.
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Old 08-02-2011, 09:58 PM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,393 posts, read 29,817,769 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ben52284 View Post
Perhaps the better question is what is the mean and how do you define mean teacher quality, though that veers into your other thread. In my initial post, I was primarily objecting to lkb's statement that statistics somehow suggest that less than 40% of teachers are 'crappy'.

On average, education majors have lower SAT scores than other majors, but higher GPAs(see, for example http://i.bnet.com/blogs/education-major-study.pdf). Therefore, by at least one metric, education majors are actually below average(among those who go to college). Because the bulk of my interactions have been with secondary science teachers, I feel that teacher quality is determined primarily by subject knowledge and enthusiasm. Teachers who majored in education rather than their subject matter, or teachers who majored in 'natural sciences' without ever taking junior or senior level courses very rarely have the necessary tools to teach math and science properly. As of 2009, only 25% of physics teachers in the US majored in physics, and only 46% majored or minored in physics or physics education(http://www.aip.org/statistics/trends...hsteachers.pdf). If 75% of the physics teachers in the US didn't major in physics, I'd wager that a good number of them cannot provide the depth and background necessary to make a class interesting. In my book, that's a 'crappy teacher'.

I should also say that I have worked with many fantastic teachers, and my only experience in an elementary school classroom was with a teacher who did a spectacular job in the heart of east cleveland, but because you asked about bad teachers, that was the focus of my response.
Statistics wouldn't support 40% of teachers being crappy unless the average teacher is considered crappy. At the 40% mark, you are, statistically, average.

I wouldn't expect SAT scores, IQ scores or ACT scores for any profession to match the general population. People, normally, choose a career that fits their intelligence and education levels/aspirations. However, that doesn't make them crappy at what they do. If you look at IQ ranges, teachers are higher than normal. As to SAT's all I can say is I hold both a masters in chemical engineering and a masters in education and all of my degrees were with honors but I had a lousy SAT score. Given the SAT did not adequately predict my ability, I don't think the test counts for much. My ACT score was a better prediction.
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Old 08-02-2011, 10:00 PM
 
153 posts, read 625,563 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lkb0714 View Post
That is the worst analogy I have ever seen on this board. Good job!
Thanks, I always have fun with bad analogies. Nonetheless, my point stands: you cannot define a crappy teacher to be at least one standard deviation away from the mean without first defining what a crappy teacher is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lkb0714 View Post
Lets ignore your anecdotal stories and look at some facts. The majority of states require people to at least have 28+ credits in their specific area (i.e. bio, chem, physics) to teach secondary science classes or a major in their field. This is due to the "highly qualified" status that NCLB required schools to meet. Therefore the majority of secondary high school teachers must have a "background in the field they are teaching" at a minimum.
Ivory asked for experiences with "crappy teachers". Therefore, I supplied some anecdotes.

I see that you have responded to my second post now, so I need not point out that I included some facts. The only remaining question comes back to ivory's original post: what - in each poster's opinion - makes a bad teacher? In my opinion, a teacher is very ill-equipped to teach a subject if they did not major in it.

Given my experiences teaching freshman physics, 4s and 5s on the AP physics exam do not in any way indicate proficiency in physics; rather these students are well trained at 'plugging and chugging.' I know, I know, another anecdote...but I suspect there aren't many teachers out there who truly believe that the AP physics exam demonstrates any sort of problem solving.

Can a teacher who majored in a physical science teach other physical sciences well? Perhaps, but I can guarantee you that I would not be able to provide as much depth, enthusiasm, or background if I were teaching outside my major. I could do it well, but not as well as physics. And that's my point...shouldn't we have teachers who majored in what they are teaching because they loved that material enough to major in it? I understand and respect your point that you might be able to teach fields similar to your major, but I believe that we should hold teachers to a higher standard.
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Old 08-02-2011, 10:10 PM
 
2,113 posts, read 2,250,530 times
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Originally Posted by Ivorytickler View Post
Unfortuntely, there is a push towards group work. One of the things I was criticized for was not enough group work and presentations. I've been instructed to have my students discover chemistry as opposed to my teaching it. There are those who believe that students learn more when they teach each other.

I can see where this can get you behind schedule. I did this with periodic trends this year and it took three times as long to get through the material and I still ended up teaching it when we were done because presentations were not thorough enough.
Oh it wasn't the group work that was the problem. It was the useless presentations on mathematical formulas instead of actually doing math problems. We literally just presented these formulas for weeks instead of doing actual math that the other math classes did. It turned out the teacher wasn't even a math teacher - he worked on test developments for other subjects. Thank goodness he was a rare one.
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Old 08-02-2011, 10:11 PM
 
3,084 posts, read 6,486,917 times
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Originally Posted by Ivorytickler View Post
So why are you claiming the teacher is crappy for not teaching her anything new? If she knew the material going in, that is not the teacher's fault. The teacher still has to teach the rest of the class who doesn't know the material so why wouldn't she stick to her curriculum? It would be different if every student were ahead but it doesn't sound like that was the case and even if it was, they were placed in THAT class so the assumption would be they need to be taught the material for that class. I don't assume that my student's already know what I'm teaching even though some of them do. I still have to teach it.

My dd has sat in classes where she already knew the material but I've never blamed the teacher for that. Dd tested out of Algebra, after 6th grade, but we decided it would be to her benefit to actually take the class and there were a few things she hadn't seen. She didn't learn much that year as she'd seen 90% of what the teacher was teaching but I've never blamed the teacher for that. Dd was just too far ahead of the curve. She was bored but we told her it was a good idea to make sure she really did know her algebra before moving on. I have never once thought to call her teacher crappy because he didn't cater to a child who is ahead in math and my dd actually tested out so she really didn't need the class. Her teacher knew she'd tested out of the class and was only taking it at our insistance. Should I label her teacher a crappy teacher for not catering to my dd??

The way I see it, dd has a stronger foundation because she took algebra even though she didn't need it. It's not always the right move to push a child ahead just because they can be. Foundations are important.
There are two separate parts there that you are combining.

1-you apparently didn't think she really learned nothing, so I explained about that giving history. It's not this particular teachers fault that she had nothing new to teach my daughter. However it is something that all the great teachers push to include for the students at the top of the class. She made no effort whatsoever to challenge anyone in the class.

2-you wanted to know why she was crappy....I also explained that. She was at the end of her career and it very obviously showed as she did nothing but the basics for the class. She, like I previously posted, phoned it all in. She showed up, did what she needed to say she did her job and went home. That is completely separate from the non-learning of my daughter.
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Old 08-02-2011, 10:12 PM
 
153 posts, read 625,563 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivorytickler View Post
Statistics wouldn't support 40% of teachers being crappy unless the average teacher is considered crappy.
Precisely, but as I understood it, that was your original question...If you ask what percentage of teachers are bad, it is reasonable to expect that some people believe a large percentage of teachers are bad, especially if we haven't defined what 'crappy' is. Personally, I believe that a teacher does not need to berate or assault their students, or sleep through class, in order to be a bad teacher. Until schools of education increase their standards and include a far greater quantity of practicum, I believe that there will be a large number of bad teachers out there.

By the way, I didn't answer the poll, because I have no idea about teacher quality across the US. My experiences have been limited to urban schools in cleveland and nashville whose limitations I am fully aware of.
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