In the second part of this series, I am going to chat about Why the “best” teachers are needed to teach our “best” students.
NOTE: This was a questions raised in Part I: which students deserve our school’s best teachers?
(Coming soon, an argument for Part III: Why the “best” teachers are needed to be teaching the “middle level” students and an argument for Part IV: Why the “best” teachers are needed to be teaching the “challenged” students as well as Part V: A review of the discussion and a exploration of what I think I’d be forced to do if I were a principal trying to figure out which teachers to assigned to which classes.)
Why the “best” teachers need to teach the “best” students.
If you think about it, why should the kids who demonstrate the highest commitment to school and most value their own studies and education not be provided/rewarded with a school’s best teachers? Haven’t they earned it?
After all, which teachers are”best” equipped to challenge these most advanced, most ready, most eager to learn young minds? And which teachers are best prepared to get them ready for the demands of education at the next level of their lives?
Which teachers do we want preparing our next generation of leaders because, truthfully, the top kids in our classrooms today show the highest likelihood of being the “top” leaders/discoverers/innovators in industry, science, medicine, politics, law and so on tomorrow?
It may sound like a silly cliche, but these “best” kids (and I use best in an academic sense, not a sense-of-worth-as-a-human-being sense) represent America’s best chance for tomorrow — and don’t they deserve the best of what we’ve got to offer them right now in terms of our nation’s best educator’s being made available to them today? On these children we are all, in a way, pinning our hopes.
Serving the needs of the top students with our best resources reminds me in a way of the 80/20 rule. Essentially, the 80/20 rule postulates that “20 percent of something is most always responsible for 80 percent of the results.”
I know around my school, the top 20% of our students absolutely carry our test scores. Take them out of the equation and we are looking the state taking us over as an entirely failing institution. We’d be toast! (And what school wouldn’t be?)
The top 20% of our students are also the ones most likely to attend a 4 year college and considering that we have over a 45% dropout rate (from freshman to senior in terms of non-matriculation), these students can also make a heckuva claim that they are the ones most in need of rigorous college prep at the pre-collegiate level.
And who better to prepare a kid to face the SAT’s and the AP exams than our school’s “best” teachers? I mean those tests are tough and a great educator can certainly make a great impact on student performance. (Not that tests like these are the end-all, be-all — and if you are familiar with my disposition, you probably know my feelings of BLARFF about bubble tests but still, low SAT’s = virtual exclusion from top-flight universities so let’s not be Pollyannish about the significance of honors and AP classes.)
In yesterday’s post, I divided school educators into 3 categories:
- Best teachers
- Average teachers.
- L’s (the L can stand for “Low” or “Lemons” – fill in your own mental blank).
If we put the L teachers at the front of the room of the AP classes, are we giving our top kids the best chance we can for them to be competitive in a hyper-competitive “get accepted to a university” culture?
If we put the “average” teachers in the front of the room of these classes, are we really cultivating the best and brightest minds in our schools in the most advantageous way we can? I mean how often do “average” teachers create outstanding results?
A school’s “best” students are the ones most likely to do all of their homework, dive most deeply into extra-curricular activities, show an overt thirst for academic challenges and demonstrate a willingness to go over and beyond the “normal course of student duties.”
And you’re going to tell me that kids like this aren’t most deserving of being placed with a school’s best teachers?
Plus, if you are a parent of an “honor” student and you find out that the “best” teachers on campus are not being made available to the “best” students because the school has a philosophy that dictates that the “best” teachers are going to be put with the “lowest” performing kids, aren’t you going to say, “Well, that’s great for them… but then I am going to send my kid to a different school, one where they get the “best” that can be offered to them… because, darn it, my kid has proven they deserve it — and they need it in order to excel later in life.”
The argument states that our best deserve our best. And if you are a school principal don’t you most probably agree? Paying short shrift to our “best” students by not providing them with the “best” teachers, well… how is this “best” for the whole school? What, are you going to put a first year novice teacher with the school’s top students when you have an opportunity to place a veteran with a strong track record in that very same class? Are you going to put a “tenured, worksheet-based, newspaper reading, leaves the moment the bell rings every day” teacher with the top students when you can put in “a hungry, lives for this job type of educator” who constantly seeks to advances their own professional capacities and takes leaderships roles in a variety of capacities of their own volition?
Dangerous as this is to say, there is a very solid argument to be made for why our best deserve our best if you are an administrator that is forced to choose.
And they are all being forced to choose.
(NOTE: Before you blast away at me, please remember that I am going to post in the next few days an argument as to why the “best” teachers are needed to be teaching the “middle level” students and an argument for Why the “best” teachers are needed to be teaching the “challenged” students. This is just Part I of a series — but all thoughts, comments, personal attacks on my intellectual inferiority and moral repugnance are welcome.)