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Learning at its Best, Philosophical Meanderings

Want Better Schools? Exalt Great Teachers

For my blog post today, I’m sharing an essay I wrote that was published on Common Dreams.org, a progressive news site. Here’s a short excerpt:

“We all have our stories of bad teachers. Most of us have memories of being bored, frustrated, anxious, and often miserable at school. We love our great teachers, and we remember them fondly and with gratitude, but for too many of us, they are too few in number to offset the bad and mediocre ones. Thus, teachers as a whole are commonly vilified, and the field of teaching is often perceived as a ‘semi-profession.’ The incompetent teachers really do have seemingly cushy jobs where they work little and get paid far more than they’re worth. And the great ones are often perceived as heroes and saints, but not as the standard toward which we should aim, nor as professionals worthy of six figure salaries. And thus we perpetuate the cycle of mediocrity.

It is obvious that we cannot have great schools without great teachers, but what is less obvious is that we will be hard-pressed to build a preponderance of great teachers while we are demeaning the profession in the public sphere; diminishing the status of teachers, and paying them salaries that are not competitive with those of other professionals. This is why I believe that we must transform our discourse on teaching. We should exalt the profession.”

Read the complete essay.

For a humane world,

Zoe Weil, President, Institute for Humane Education
Author of Most Good, Least Harm, Above All, Be Kind, and The Power and Promise of Humane Education
My TEDx talk: “The World Becomes What You Teach

Image courtesy of kitty.eden via Creative Commons.

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About zoeweil

I'm the co-founder and President of the Institute for Humane Education (IHE). IHE works to create a world in which we all live humanely, sustainably, and peaceably. We do this by training people to be humane educators who teach about the pressing issues of our time and inspire people to work for change while making healthy, humane, and restorative choices in their daily lives. We also work to advance the field of humane education, and to provide tools and inspiration to people everywhere so that they can live examined, meaningful lives. I'm also a writer. So far I've written six books and several articles.

Discussion

8 thoughts on “Want Better Schools? Exalt Great Teachers

  1. Zoe, I agree wholeheartedly that it’s important to value teachers’ work, but we also have to safeguard the work of teaching by describing and enacting what it should be. There will be competent teachers doing what their divisions ask them to do and achieving great results by standardized measures. Without unduly devaluing their work, I call for a systems change before I call for recognition.

    Best,
    C

    Posted by Chad Sansing | March 28, 2011, 5:41 am
  2. Wow..have read the discussions and you have provoked some serious comments. How excellent is that? Just shows you article hit home. Congratulations!
    Chris

    Posted by bridgesburning | March 28, 2011, 8:33 am
  3. Teachers in teaching aspiring to be great teachers may find this useful… http://www.geocities.ws/geatteachersari/index.html

    Posted by Eoa | July 18, 2011, 10:16 am
  4. Third time lucky -re great teachers, http://www.geocities.ws/greatteachersari/index.html

    Posted by Eoauk | July 18, 2011, 10:45 am

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: cooperativecatalyst: For my blog post today, I’m sharing an essay I wrote that was published on Common Dreams.org, a progressive news site. Here’s a short excerpt: “We all have our stories of bad teachers. Most of us have memories of being bored, fr - May 26, 2012

  2. Pingback: cooperativecatalyst: For my blog post today, I’m sharing an essay I wrote that was published on Common Dreams.org, a progressive news site. Here’s a short excerpt: “We all have our stories of bad teachers. Most of us have memories of being bored, fr - June 21, 2012

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