Education is a flawed system, but one thing that can make a big difference is the teacher. A good teacher can take a difficult class and make every student successful. With teachers being so important, one would think schools would do everything in their power to make sure they have the best teachers, but that’s not the case.
One might argue what qualifies a person as a “good teacher?” There isn’t one thing that dictates that. Schools have tried many different ways to try and determine just that, but all methods have flaws.
Looking at the average grade in a class does not always work, because some teachers give different tests and assignments. That can be part of what makes a good teachers so great. If every teacher did the same thing, they’d be forced to do generic things; this would leave no room for creativity, which is what separates good to teachers from bad teachers.
Observing teachers doesn’t work because when an administrator comes into the room, teachers instantly become better and more involved.
So if this generation really wants to invest in the next, it’s apparent a new method is necessary.
The one thing no one has ever considered is asking the students — which isn’t as crazy as an idea as it may seem. There will always be a few biased students, but for the most part students can unanimously agree — regardless of their grade — who’s a great teacher and who’s an awful teacher.
No school would ever fire a teacher just because students said that person was an awful teacher, but they should consider the information. After all, students have to spend over a hundred hours with a teacher; Administrators who actually assess the teacher spend maybe a single class period observing them.
Any one of these systems alone don’t work, but if they were all brought together, something useful could be created: a statistic that would measure the greatness of a teacher.
Wake County is slowly heading towards a system that would pay teachers a performance-based salary. In some places, like Houston, teachers are already paid on their performance — which has created even more problems. Seven teachers are suing due to the unfair system. They argue that, because test grades fluctuate so much, it does not accurately assess their teaching abilities. This is a perfect example that using one form of teacher evaluation — test scores — does not reveal everything there is to know about a teacher.
The method Wake County would be using is very similar to the one used in Houston, and around the country, there has been several other cases of teachers suing due to unfair pay. So even though being paid based on performance is a great idea and will encourage teachers to do their absolute best, new methods are needed in order to create a fair system.