Quality Teachers in the American Education System

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Lately, it seems every time you pick up a newspaper it contains a story on the inadequacy of our nation’s educational system. Society is forever blaming its woes, from not being able to multiply to not being able to balance a checkbook, on a bad teacher. We all, at sometime in our education, have had to sit through the boredom and uncertainty of teachers like Christian Zowodniak’s freshman English teacher, Jeff. Teachers like Jeff made it appear that our teaching universities are turning out unqualified teachers, but this is not the case. Mediocre teachers get into the education profession for all the wrong reasons: from having summers off, to having good health insurance coverage, to having good work hours. Hopefully, these teachers quickly "burn-out" and seek employment in other professions. Unfortunately, many of them stay and become passive, unconcerned teachers, much like Zowodniak’s Jeff.

Surely, we have encountered more good teachers than bad ones in our years of education. Yet, we are quick to point out the flaws of our education system and to complain about poor teachers. But seldom do we praise our greatest asset, our excellent teachers. I would like to tell you about an excellent teacher, Mrs. Joan Beers . Mrs. Beers, my senior English teacher, loves teaching. Her love for her profession is reflected in her method of teaching her students, in her method of addressing her students’ different learning styles, and in her method of assessing her students.

Like Jeff, many of my high school teachers used a passive approach to teaching. The bell rang, and the teacher stood behind a podium with a notebook bulging with lecture notes. Facing her was a roomful of eager students, with notebooks opened and pens poised. Our learning consisted of a fifty-five minute lecture on grammar, during which the teacher verbally delivered reams of facts and examples, and we busily recorded her every word. We learned these bits of information and recited them word for word at exam time. The passive teacher graded us only on our ability to recall at exam time. Mrs. Beers, on the other hand, used a more active, student-centered approach to her teaching. She began class with a five minute discussion on prepositions. Then, she divided the class into small groups of three to four students and handed each student a current newspaper.
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