Thinking about the role of principal one might initially think, “Gee if we could only fire the bottom 5% to 10% of teachers we might improve our schools.”
Sure sounds good, except, what if the replacements you hired were just as bad? What if the entire pool of teacher recruits was just as bad? What if you’re the one person who hired them in the first place and you really just aren’t that good at evaluating talent? (not you of course the other you)
What if what these teachers really need is real training, real experience, real mentors? What if being a student teacher for 8 weeks just isn’t enough time to really get a sense of the job? What if said student teacher’s mentor teacher did a great job of setting the structure of the classroom during the first three weeks of the year and the student teacher didn’t see how that was done?
I’ve been reading some great blogs this morning. Here @mbteach gives us her take on “Waiting for Superman” Here Stephen Lazar reminds us what isn’t measured on standardized tests. I’m reminded of a post I wrote in May of 2008. I was actually amazed that I agree with most everything it says even today.
The thing is improving our schools isn’t about getting rid of the bad teachers, its about getting better at what we do with what we have. Long before I ever became a teachers I knew the teachers credo, “I have done so much with so little for so long that I am now qualified to do anything with nothing.”
We as future school leaders don’t need to focus on getting rid of the bad teachers we need to focus on making all our teachers better. When the culture of education is one of “how can I be a better teacher today” those few poor lazy teacher will find another profession to collect money without actually working, (Wall Street money mangers or something). While at the same time those of us who are life long learners can get back to the business of making schools great places to be. Better than home for some students.