The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > Great Debates

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #101  
Old 03-17-2013, 01:34 AM
WhyWhyWhy WhyWhyWhy is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
>>Yes mechanics and technicians often buy their own tools but for teachers it is an ongoing expense that can get up to hundreds of dollars every year. <<

OK, say $500 based upon, say, a $50,000 salary (not even counting generous benefits). That woud be....1% (given benefits, under 1%).

To me, that would be a failure in math &/or logic &/or an attempt to make a point (aka education in making a logical argument).

So what are you actually being paid for?
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #102  
Old 03-17-2013, 01:50 AM
WhyWhyWhy WhyWhyWhy is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Here is the big problem.

I got a report today that my child failed to name the three most common trees in Oregon.

Why is that important!?!

How many teachers can answer what the three most common trees are in New Jersey? Or Somalia? Or Beaver County? (Without Googling it.)

Why is that important?

That is why teachers aren't respected.
Reply With Quote
  #103  
Old 03-17-2013, 06:41 AM
NAF1138 NAF1138 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyWhyWhy View Post
Here is the big problem.

I got a report today that my child failed to name the three most common trees in Oregon.

Why is that important!?!

How many teachers can answer what the three most common trees are in New Jersey? Or Somalia? Or Beaver County? (Without Googling it.)

Why is that important?

That is why teachers aren't respected.
I would need to know what grade/subject was being taught (I am guessing it was in Oregon, let me know if not) to be sure but...

That sounds like it has nothing to do with teachers but rather with the people who are writing your state standards and telling them what to teach. If you don't like what is being taught take it up with the higher ups, teachers (largely) only get to choose how it's taught.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RickJay View Post
At least in Ontario, you can forget becoming a teacher; there's a backlog of applicants. I know qualified teachers who have been sitting on the supply list for years and years.
EVERY TIME I try to move to Canada I get told that I can't. It's like you guys don't want me to emigrate.

Seriously though, what are Canadian thoughts on arts education? It's kind of a side bar but I am hoping that is better up north too, not because I want to move but because I want some good news.

Last edited by NAF1138; 03-17-2013 at 06:45 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #104  
Old 03-17-2013, 07:19 AM
Manda JO Manda JO is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Posts: 8,708
Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyWhyWhy View Post
Here is the big problem.

I got a report today that my child failed to name the three most common trees in Oregon.

Why is that important!?!

How many teachers can answer what the three most common trees are in New Jersey? Or Somalia? Or Beaver County? (Without Googling it.)

Why is that important?

That is why teachers aren't respected.
I would actually argue that when I walk through the woods and I know what I am seeing--not every tree, but many of them, along with types of birds and geologic formations and plants, I am getting more out of it than a person who just sees "plants and stuff"; I see a system and a story.

Also, memory is a learned skill. When your child is sitting in a meeting in 20 years and the person giving the powerpoint is using sales data from the wrong year, it would be great if someone sitting there could just recognize that it's wrong before they make decisions based on it.
Reply With Quote
  #105  
Old 03-17-2013, 07:53 AM
even sven even sven is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyWhyWhy View Post
Here is the big problem.

I got a report today that my child failed to name the three most common trees in Oregon.

Why is that important!?!

How many teachers can answer what the three most common trees are in New Jersey? Or Somalia? Or Beaver County? (Without Googling it.)

Why is that important?

That is why teachers aren't respected.
The point is probably not to be able to recall the most common trees in Oregon.

The most common trees in Oregon are probably being used to illustrate:
1. Plants and animals are classified according to different observable traits
2. Different types of plants and animals are native to different environments

This knowledge is the foundation of understanding ecosystems, as well as scientific observation. Learning to identify plants in a particular environment is the beginning of learning how to observe nature in an objective way, which is the first step of the scientific method. And understanding biodiversity is the first step towards understanding how things in an environment work together as a whole.
Reply With Quote
  #106  
Old 03-17-2013, 09:56 AM
casdave casdave is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 7,535
Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyWhyWhy
Here is the big problem.

I got a report today that my child failed to name the three most common trees in Oregon.

Why is that important!?!

How many teachers can answer what the three most common trees are in New Jersey? Or Somalia? Or Beaver County? (Without Googling it.)

Why is that important?

That is why teachers aren't respected.
There is an issue of curriculum, the teacher has to meet certain standards and criteria, if this is a requirement than it has to be taught - just as you may have unlikely and unwelcome requirements in your ow field of work.

Next, merely because you cannot understand why something is or is not important, is not at all important - educators never know which item or topic will stick with any particular child - but most of us picked up on one particular thing and this has informed many of their life decisions, from the degree they took, though to their employment and perhaps into they ow personal hobby.


Next, its called enrichment the idea is to expose a learner to many new ideas and and a wider perspective, instead of having programmed individuals capable of carrying out just one thing in life - to serve an employer - the aim is to allow an individual to grow, to see the world around them and choose.

It would be such a poor existence if all we could do is just learn work related activity, and it would be also detrimental because our economy needs people to have alternate ideas, hobbies interests and inspiration,

I am pretty sure some of the stuff you think it terribly important that you learned at school actually matters not one jot to the vast majority of the population - how about we narrow your learning down so much that we remove that one part of your learning and concentrate on teaching you how to tighten half a dozen nuts and bolts on a production line, its more important than what you do now.
Reply With Quote
  #107  
Old 03-17-2013, 11:42 AM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: San Jose
Posts: 22,564
Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyWhyWhy View Post
Here is the big problem.

I got a report today that my child failed to name the three most common trees in Oregon.

Why is that important!?!

How many teachers can answer what the three most common trees are in New Jersey? Or Somalia? Or Beaver County? (Without Googling it.)

Why is that important?

That is why teachers aren't respected.
It's part of the learning process. Your child is being taught to learn. The kid was taught those trees, part of the learning process is being able to retain info and be able to regurgitate it.

And it's useful and informative.
Reply With Quote
  #108  
Old 03-17-2013, 12:36 PM
Saint Cad Saint Cad is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyWhyWhy View Post
>>Yes mechanics and technicians often buy their own tools but for teachers it is an ongoing expense that can get up to hundreds of dollars every year. <<

OK, say $500 based upon, say, a $50,000 salary (not even counting generous benefits). That woud be....1% (given benefits, under 1%).

To me, that would be a failure in math &/or logic &/or an attempt to make a point (aka education in making a logical argument).

So what are you actually being paid for?
How much do have to pay out of pocket for your office supplies?
Reply With Quote
  #109  
Old 03-17-2013, 05:43 PM
WhyWhyWhy WhyWhyWhy is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
>>How much do have to pay out of pocket for your office supplies? <<

100%.

The point is that one percent isn't something to cry about. If that is your biggest problem, then, dang, bail out.
Reply With Quote
  #110  
Old 03-17-2013, 06:16 PM
alphaboi867 alphaboi867 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: the Keystone State
Posts: 11,273
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magiver View Post
On an unrelated matter to my first post, I find the constant stories about student suspensions over any reference to a gun an indictement of the stupidity that is our educational system today. I'm glad I went to school in the era I did. I had a much higher opinion of the teaching profession than I do today.
Teachers aren't responsible for crap like that; administrators, school boards, and liability insurers are.
Reply With Quote
  #111  
Old 03-17-2013, 08:33 PM
WhyWhyWhy WhyWhyWhy is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
>>It's part of the learning process. Your child is being taught to learn. The kid was taught those trees, part of the learning process is being able to retain info and be able to regurgitate it<<

They didn't need to go to school to learn how to regurgitate.They are quite capable of that. And regurgitating is a body's attempt to rid itself of harmful substances. Not a good analogy.

Being taught to learn is good. But how many kids are turned off of learning by being forced to learn stupid crap. How about teaching them CPR steps? They would be learning and would be learning something usefull. That would be a 2-fer.

Learning what tree label is most popular in some kind of arbitrarily determined political boundary...wtf?

My point is that there is a lot of good stuff to learn and the educational industry has failed to differentiate trivia from important stuff or even potentially important stuff.

But I may be wrong. Teach me.
Reply With Quote
  #112  
Old 03-17-2013, 10:57 PM
brickbacon brickbacon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyWhyWhy View Post
Being taught to learn is good. But how many kids are turned off of learning by being forced to learn stupid crap. How about teaching them CPR steps? They would be learning and would be learning something usefull. That would be a 2-fer.
CPR doesn't work too often in many cases, you likely need to be certified regularly, and have the temperament to not choke under pressure. It's certainly not something that needs to be taught to everyone at the expense of educational time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyWhyWhy View Post
Learning what tree label is most popular in some kind of arbitrarily determined political boundary...wtf?
I agree, it's just as unimportant as learning how you quote people properly on a message board . But seriously, how many lessons, facts, or concepts from school do you think you will use or remember? Can you correctly label a chemical compound or solve a quadratic equation? Do you know the difference between the past and the past perfect tenses? Like most, you will forget most of these pieces of information, but learning them typically imparts benefits long after the details are lost to time.

I am guessing your kid is fairly young from your example. You asked why it's important to teach someone the names of the most popular trees in their area. For young kids, it's important to get them to appreciate that there are many other people attempting to understand, categorize, and identify things in this world for our collective benefit. Kids need to understand that trees are not just "trees", but that they have different needs, uses, names, characteristics, etc. It gets them to appreciate their role in the world, and the vastness of the world we live in. Furthermore, it makes the start to appreciate detail and nuance, and how to differentiate seemingly like things. Lastly, it teaches them how to find out information, and answer questions. There is also that chance that it sparks a lifelong interest in trees and nature.

Additionally (and maybe most importantly), your daughter needs to memorize these things because the person in charge told her to. Frankly, one of the reasons why are education system is sub-par is because there are too many parents making excuses for their under-performing kids. It's not as if the teachers asked her to memorize a string of random numbers to be cruel. There are perfectly understandable reasons to teach such "trivia".

Besides, did you ever ask the teacher why they were leaning this before you wrote it off as a useless exercise? The bottom line is that one of the best and most useful lessons kids are taught in school is to follow directions, and do as you are told (obviously within reason). The fact that your kid failed to do so is the problem, not that what she was told to do is too meaningless (in your estimation) to bother accomplishing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyWhyWhy View Post
My point is that there is a lot of good stuff to learn and the educational industry has failed to differentiate trivia from important stuff or even potentially important stuff.
Look, if you really think there is so much trivia being taught, what are you doing about it? How many board meetings have you been to? Regardless of what you may think, the vast majority of people in the education industry (from teachers to administrators) are not just trying to fill your kid with trivia. They are (by and large) smart, educated people who put a lot of thought and care into utilizing the limited time they have in the classroom to effectively educate and socialize your kid largely for your benefit. Yes, they make mistakes, but I think one's default stance should be to defer to their perspective on things rather than excuse failure.
Reply With Quote
  #113  
Old 03-18-2013, 10:27 AM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: San Jose
Posts: 22,564
[QUOTE=WhyWhyWhy;16106817Learning what tree label is most popular in some kind of arbitrarily determined political boundary...wtf?.[/QUOTE]


arbitrarily determined political boundary”, a STATE? You don’t think the States are important, that your kid can go thru his life saying “I live in some arbitrarily determined political boundary”.
Reply With Quote
  #114  
Old 03-18-2013, 10:39 AM
msmith537 msmith537 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyWhyWhy View Post
Here is the big problem.

I got a report today that my child failed to name the three most common trees in Oregon.

Why is that important!?!

How many teachers can answer what the three most common trees are in New Jersey? Or Somalia? Or Beaver County? (Without Googling it.)

Why is that important?

That is why teachers aren't respected.

It's important because your child is being taught the discipline of being assigned an intellectual task and then delivering the results in a timely manner. As you said, it takes two seconds to Google it. So yeah, as a teacher, I would wonder why your child didn't bother to do it.

As your continues his education, grows up, and joins the ranks of really any job, they will be assigned similar tasks. Arbitrarily deciding certain tasks are "not important" won't cut it.


By the way, it's the Douglas Fir, the Red Alder and the Bigleaf Maple.



I can see why teachers find their job frustrating. What with parents arbitrarily deciding what their kids are being taught is "stupid". That's a great mindset to pass onto your children. That the only tasks worth doing are the ones you think are important. It's probably why every freakin kid I interview thinks he wants to be Vice President of Bullshit in 6 months but can't do the basic tasks asked of him.

Last edited by msmith537; 03-18-2013 at 10:41 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #115  
Old 03-18-2013, 12:04 PM
Leaper Leaper is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: In my own little world...
Posts: 9,262
There's a meme going around on the Internet that claims that Finnish teachers are "as respected as doctors and lawyers"; it's the only relatively non-quantifiable claim made in it, IIRC. Is this so, Finnish Dopers?
Reply With Quote
  #116  
Old 03-18-2013, 12:08 PM
Magiver Magiver is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by alphaboi867 View Post
Teachers aren't responsible for crap like that; administrators, school boards, and liability insurers are.
I agree with you from the perspective that those mentioned set out the guidelines. But it's the teacher who interprets the guideline. I guess I expect someone who deals in education to have a certain level of common sense. Maybe that's not fair to expect it of teachers but I do.

Honestly, I think this is somehow tied to the mentality that teachers need a masters degree in "how to teach" and that is desired above the skill of knowing the subjects taught. I wish I had more time to articulate the idea. No pun intended but I think we should go back and do it "old school". Drop the grading curve and concentrate on cramming the basics in. If we can't drop the grading curve than give 2 grades. The real grade and the curved grade. Kids should know where they stand in life. But I'm wandering off subject.
Reply With Quote
  #117  
Old 03-18-2013, 12:30 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: San Jose
Posts: 22,564
Quote:
Originally Posted by msmith537 View Post
It's important because your child is being taught the discipline of being assigned an intellectual task and then delivering the results in a timely manner. As you said, it takes two seconds to Google it. So yeah, as a teacher, I would wonder why your child didn't bother to do it.

As your continues his education, grows up, and joins the ranks of really any job, they will be assigned similar tasks. Arbitrarily deciding certain tasks are "not important" won't cut it.


By the way, it's the Douglas Fir, the Red Alder and the Bigleaf Maple.



I can see why teachers find their job frustrating. What with parents arbitrarily deciding what their kids are being taught is "stupid". That's a great mindset to pass onto your children. That the only tasks worth doing are the ones you think are important. It's probably why every freakin kid I interview thinks he wants to be Vice President of Bullshit in 6 months but can't do the basic tasks asked of him.
Hell, he seems to think that his kid learning the name of the state they live in, or as he sez “arbitrarily determined political boundary”, is “stupid” too.
Reply With Quote
  #118  
Old 03-18-2013, 12:35 PM
Saint Cad Saint Cad is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magiver View Post
Honestly, I think this is somehow tied to the mentality that teachers need a masters degree in "how to teach" and that is desired above the skill of knowing the subjects taught.
Since NCLB, every teacher needs to demonstrate that they know their subject at least at the level being taught.

I don't understand the logic that if you know your subject really well that you are automatically a great teacher. Do you honestly believe that if we took PhDs out of the university and plopped them down in elementary and middle and high schools that the level of education would be better or even the same? Do you think that we don't need to know how kids learn in order to teach them? You don't think pedagogy is a necessary (and learned) skill in the classroom?
Reply With Quote
  #119  
Old 03-18-2013, 12:56 PM
Magiver Magiver is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saint Cad View Post
Since NCLB, every teacher needs to demonstrate that they know their subject at least at the level being taught.

I don't understand the logic that if you know your subject really well that you are automatically a great teacher.
It doesn't make you a great teacher. But not knowing the material DOES make you a bad teacher.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saint Cad View Post
Do you honestly believe that if we took PhDs out of the university and plopped them down in elementary and middle and high schools that the level of education would be better or even the same? Do you think that we don't need to know how kids learn in order to teach them? You don't think pedagogy is a necessary (and learned) skill in the classroom?
Yes, I honestly believe people who understand a subject thoroughly are able to teach it better. Apply that logic to any discipline and you get the same results. Doctors, engineers, accountants, surgeons..... It works across the board.
Reply With Quote
  #120  
Old 03-18-2013, 01:00 PM
perfectparanoia perfectparanoia is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 2,138
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saint Cad View Post
Since NCLB, every teacher needs to demonstrate that they know their subject at least at the level being taught.

I don't understand the logic that if you know your subject really well that you are automatically a great teacher. Do you honestly believe that if we took PhDs out of the university and plopped them down in elementary and middle and high schools that the level of education would be better or even the same? Do you think that we don't need to know how kids learn in order to teach them? You don't think pedagogy is a necessary (and learned) skill in the classroom?
It's actually that if you don't know your subject well that you won't be able to teach it even if you have amazing teaching skills.

Our daughter's current teacher is not so good with math. He can certainly do the math she is doing (she is in grade four after all) but he can't see what she is struggling with since he isn't that versed in it. That works out fine in the case of our family (I have a BMath) where I can pick up the slack at home but what if I were just a standard Joe? My daughter would keep falling further behind.

Now, obviously, having a PhD doesn't help one teach. You need teaching skills, too. But having those skills without a high level of knowledge and understanding in all the things you are teaching means you will fail just as badly as that PhD with no teaching skills.
Reply With Quote
  #121  
Old 03-18-2013, 01:31 PM
BigT BigT is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magiver View Post
It doesn't make you a great teacher. But not knowing the material DOES make you a bad teacher.

Yes, I honestly believe people who understand a subject thoroughly are able to teach it better. Apply that logic to any discipline and you get the same results. Doctors, engineers, accountants, surgeons..... It works across the board.
Then you are having a dishonest debate, as that statement has been proven wrong. Oddly enough, by people who seem to somehow know how to make an argument better than you do.
Reply With Quote
  #122  
Old 03-18-2013, 03:14 PM
even sven even sven is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
For goodness sakes, no teacher needs a masters in anything to teach.

For secondary school, you need a bachelors that gets you subject matter knowledge, and a teachers certificate, which can be done concurrent to your degree, as a standalone program after, or through one of many alternative certificates programs. The main component of a teachers certificate is time spend in the classroom under observation, which I hope we can agree is a smart step before throwing new teachers in the classroom.

Elementary school teachers get education degrees, because most people have their A, B, Cs down pretty well, but building a curriculum, teaching a youngster and running a classroom actually is a pretty specialized skill.

On many cases, getting a masters will give you a pay bump, but its never needed. Most people I know with Ed masters (and its a lot) either plan to go into administration, or added masters coursework to their teaching certificate course.
Reply With Quote
  #123  
Old 03-18-2013, 03:23 PM
Ruken Ruken is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: DC
Posts: 2,588
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magiver View Post
The real grade and the curved grade. Kids should know where they stand in life. But I'm wandering off subject.
What is the "real" grade?
Reply With Quote
  #124  
Old 03-18-2013, 03:26 PM
Leaper Leaper is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: In my own little world...
Posts: 9,262
Quote:
Originally Posted by even sven View Post
For goodness sakes, no teacher needs a masters in anything to teach.
Oddly, according to that online meme I mentioned earlier, they do in Finland (allowing for the differing systems, of course). This is presented as an advantage of their system over ours. So is this a disingenuous comparison?
Reply With Quote
  #125  
Old 03-18-2013, 04:03 PM
Ruken Ruken is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: DC
Posts: 2,588
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leaper View Post
Oddly, according to that online meme I mentioned earlier, they do in Finland (allowing for the differing systems, of course). This is presented as an advantage of their system over ours. So is this a disingenuous comparison?
I just don't think it's been shown to matter. One would think it would, along with plenty of other factors, but it's hard to test and get good results.
Reply With Quote
  #126  
Old 03-18-2013, 11:38 PM
Magiver Magiver is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by even sven View Post
For goodness sakes, no teacher needs a masters in anything to teach.

For secondary school, you need a bachelors that gets you subject matter knowledge, and a teachers certificate, which can be done concurrent to your degree, as a standalone program after, or through one of many alternative certificates programs. The main component of a teachers certificate is time spend in the classroom under observation, which I hope we can agree is a smart step before throwing new teachers in the classroom.

Elementary school teachers get education degrees, because most people have their A, B, Cs down pretty well, but building a curriculum, teaching a youngster and running a classroom actually is a pretty specialized skill.

On many cases, getting a masters will give you a pay bump, but its never needed. Most people I know with Ed masters (and its a lot) either plan to go into administration, or added masters coursework to their teaching certificate course.
some school districts require it.
Reply With Quote
  #127  
Old 03-18-2013, 11:42 PM
Magiver Magiver is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigT View Post
Then you are having a dishonest debate, as that statement has been proven wrong.
it has? Really? Someone who doesn't understand a subject does a better job teaching it than someone who understands it?
Reply With Quote
  #128  
Old 03-19-2013, 12:54 AM
WhyWhyWhy WhyWhyWhy is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
>>CPR doesn't work too often in many cases, you likely need to be certified regularly, and have the temperament to not choke under pressure. It's certainly not something that needs to be taught to everyone at the expense of educational time.<<

So saving lives isn't worthy of "educational time" but learning tree trivia is!?!

>>Additionally (and maybe most importantly), your daughter needs to memorize these things because the person in charge told her to<<

Then why not just use a taser to force kids to remember Jeopardy trivia in the one in a million chance that they wind up on Jeopardy? That would certainly be faster, quicker, cheaper, more effective. But that isn't really the issue; it's more about, IMHO, preserving and increasing teacher salaries and benefits regardless of performance (getting back to the respect thing). But I do see your point re "because the person in charge told her to."

She isn't a she, she isn't my child (I'm just trying to help) but when I tell him to fasten his seatbelt, that would be awfully nice if teachers could help me out but they aren't; they are too busy teaching the most popular tree in a state on the other side of the friggin country rather than teaching the importance of fastening a friggin seat belt.

And regarding how many times I've visited a teacher-student-conference...I don't need to attend an engineering conference so engineers can do their jobs, ditto accounting professionals, and on and on.
Reply With Quote
  #129  
Old 03-19-2013, 06:55 AM
even sven even sven is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magiver View Post
Um. That article is about the pay bump that teachers who get a Masters typically receive, not about any requirement to have an advanced degree.

Furthermore, it says nothing about any kind of requirement for a Masters in Education. I assume you are okay with math teacher's getting advanced degrees in math, right? Teachers getting Masters often go with the Masters of Education because it can open administrative jobs and may be rolled into the process of getting their credentials. But someone who gets their Masters in particle physics gets the same pay bump.
Reply With Quote
  #130  
Old 03-19-2013, 07:30 AM
even sven even sven is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Ack! Please excuse the typos. Early AM posting is not my strong point.
Reply With Quote
  #131  
Old 03-19-2013, 08:28 AM
even sven even sven is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magiver View Post
it has? Really? Someone who doesn't understand a subject does a better job teaching it than someone who understands it?
Actually, it is true that someone who is an excellent teacher but not a subject matter expert can do a much better job teaching than someone who is a subject matter expert but a lackluster teacher, especially on the introductory level (just ask any undergrad at a research focused university.)

For example, lets say you'd like to learn German, which I don't speak. The first thing I'll do is work you your goals, If you are preparing for a trip, I'll focus on quick and dirty conversation. If you are learning to improve your understanding of language, I'll do more work with grammar and structure. Then I'll set up some lessons. Humans can absorb around 10 new words or phrases into their memory a day, so most of my lessons will work you through about ten new words and one or two new grammar concepts, all built around a theme designed to help you gain a specific competency (introducing yourself, ordering at a restaurant, describing your vacation, etc.). I'll use an incremental system for getting these things in your short term memory- first exposing you to a new word or concept, having you mimic it in a fairly formulaic way, and finally cementing it in your memory by having you use it in novel ways. In later lessons, I'll systematically revisit previous concepts, ensuring that they are really cemented in there. I'll keep the grammar light at the beginning, allowing you to absorb some of the structure for conversation. Then, when you have enough basic vocab to make the practice sentences meaningful, I'll work on grammar. While I won't be much help with your accent, I do know a plethora of online resources for language learners, and can set up a language exchange with a native speaker for you. Before these sessions, I'll set you up with an individual plan to help you get the most out of them, and debrief with you to go over new concepts and any questions or difficulties.

A poor teacher, which many laymen are, will not do this. I've gone through a lot of bad language tutors, all native speakers, in my time. The first they do is point to about thirty random unconnected items and say the words, with you parroting him. Eventually, if he does this enough, you'll be able to say the right word when he points, but this won't be put in long term memory and it will all be forgotten next session. Then he'll get frustrated that you can say anything, and launch into a detailed English-language explanation of a grammar concept, which will likely go over your head because you don't have enough vocab to practice it with or enough structural background to tie in to the language as a whole. You'll spend half the session speaking English, and come out unable to actually do anything new. When you get to your next session, any vocab you've learned is long gone. You might remember the grammar, but only enough to be able to do drills, not enough to use it to communicate.

Of course there are always exceptions. A teacher with limited German isn't going to be able to help you understand obscure German literary allusions or explain the subtle variations of regional dialects. But if you want to learn the things you would learn in a primary and secondary classroom, and you have to choose, the good teacher is almost always the best bet.
Reply With Quote
  #132  
Old 03-19-2013, 09:40 AM
brickbacon brickbacon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyWhyWhy View Post
So saving lives isn't worthy of "educational time" but learning tree trivia is!?!
My point was that you will not likely save any more lives. In fact, you might even cause more harm by making everyone think they can correctly perform CPR under pressure. Besides, there are likely already enough people who know CPR, or at least, not too few that we need to make it compulsory.

Either way, what your son was learning is not just "tree trivia" absent any context. It's likely part of a broader lesson about nature that will have several benefits beyond knowing the fact itself. Also, it's likely in line with nearly everything else we teach kids. Do you really need to know all the noble gases? Is that just "chem trivia"? Do we need to know how to factor, or who the president of x country is? Why or why not? Also, who do you think is in a better position to answer that question, you or multiple educational professionals?

Plus, please learn how to use the quote function. It's not that hard.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyWhyWhy View Post
Then why not just use a taser to force kids to remember Jeopardy trivia in the one in a million chance that they wind up on Jeopardy? That would certainly be faster, quicker, cheaper, more effective.
Or maybe we can force them to come up with really stupid analogies under threat of torture? Re-read what I said. I doubt the teacher really thinks knowing those 3 trees is for vital importance. What is important is that students can complete a task given. Your son was given a task; he failed to do it. That is not the teacher's fault because the task was not unreasonable by any stretch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyWhyWhy View Post
But I do see your point re "because the person in charge told her to."
Then why are you making absurd analogies and excuses for your kid?

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyWhyWhy View Post
She isn't a she, she isn't my child (I'm just trying to help) but when I tell him to fasten his seatbelt, that would be awfully nice if teachers could help me out but they aren't
Sorry about the mis-identification. I'd imagine many schools do go over those types of things, but the question is, why you think they should? Why do you think they should primarily work to make your life easier?

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyWhyWhy View Post
they are too busy teaching the most popular tree in a state on the other side of the friggin country rather than teaching the importance of fastening a friggin seat belt.
Are you 100% sure they did not actually teach that? But again, at what point can schools count on the parents to teach life skills? Do they need to teach your kid how to wipe their ass and how to use chopsticks? What about how to swim, or be a good spouse? How much of the burden of raising, socializing and educationg a kid do they need to take?

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyWhyWhy View Post
And regarding how many times I've visited a teacher-student-conference...I don't need to attend an engineering conference so engineers can do their jobs, ditto accounting professionals, and on and on.
I would think your kid's education is more important to you than what some engineer does. More importantly, education is a collaborative and cooperative process, civil engineering is usually not. Even so, I do expect people who have complaints about roads or anything else to get involved if it is really important to them.
Reply With Quote
  #133  
Old 03-19-2013, 09:55 AM
Manda JO Manda JO is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Posts: 8,708
Quote:
Originally Posted by even sven View Post
Um. That article is about the pay bump that teachers who get a Masters typically receive, not about any requirement to have an advanced degree.

Furthermore, it says nothing about any kind of requirement for a Masters in Education. I assume you are okay with math teacher's getting advanced degrees in math, right? Teachers getting Masters often go with the Masters of Education because it can open administrative jobs and may be rolled into the process of getting their credentials. But someone who gets their Masters in particle physics gets the same pay bump.
It does say "the Maryland State Board of Education . . . effectively requires a teacher to earn a master's degree to maintain his or her teaching license".
Reply With Quote
  #134  
Old 03-19-2013, 10:59 AM
Magiver Magiver is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by even sven View Post
Um. That article is about the pay bump that teachers who get a Masters typically receive, not about any requirement to have an advanced degree.

Furthermore, it says nothing about any kind of requirement for a Masters in Education. I assume you are okay with math teacher's getting advanced degrees in math, right? Teachers getting Masters often go with the Masters of Education because it can open administrative jobs and may be rolled into the process of getting their credentials. But someone who gets their Masters in particle physics gets the same pay bump.
As mentioned above, it does state it's a requirement. If I remember correctly, there was an SDMB thread on the topic years ago.

Last edited by Magiver; 03-19-2013 at 11:00 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #135  
Old 03-19-2013, 12:23 PM
Saint Cad Saint Cad is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
And education classes in California are at a master's level although completing the master's degree (usually 2-3 more classes) is not required.

And I think Magiver's argument suffers from a fatal flaw. Yes, a teacher that has no clue about their subject cannot teach it well. This is a problem in elementary school where a teacher is expected to know 4 subject. But at what point does more not mean more? I have a bachelor's in math so did getting a master's in math make me a better middle and high school math teacher? Would someone with a master's in math and no pedagogy be a better teacher than I was with my bachelor's but after working to get a credential?

And incidently, some of you need to study logic. Magiver claimed that knowing the subject made you a good teacher but some are now saying that what was meant was NOT knowing the teacher means you are a bad teacher. That is the inverse of the argument and thay are not logically equivalent so although I agree that a teacher should know their discipline, that does not mean the same thing as simply knowing your discipline makes you a good teacher.

And going "old school"? You realize of course that in the early 1900's teachers got degrees in pedagogy right?
Reply With Quote
  #136  
Old 03-19-2013, 12:25 PM
Saint Cad Saint Cad is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyWhyWhy View Post
>>How much do have to pay out of pocket for your office supplies? <<

100%.

The point is that one percent isn't something to cry about. If that is your biggest problem, then, dang, bail out.
What do you do for work that you have to buy all of your office supplies?
Reply With Quote
  #137  
Old 03-19-2013, 01:57 PM
even sven even sven is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manda JO View Post
It does say "the Maryland State Board of Education . . . effectively requires a teacher to earn a master's degree to maintain his or her teaching license".
"Effectively" is a rhetorical device people use when the point they are trying to make isn't fully backed up by facts. I don't recall the earlier debate, but it just isn't true that you need a Masters of Education to teach in Maryland (and I doubt it is true anywhere else in the US.)

In the case of Maryland, according to their Department of Education website, to get a teacher's certificate through traditional methods, you need to complete an "approved program" and take a set exams. The "approved program" include both undergraduate and graduate programs. For secondary education, all of these program are subject focused, with the exception of special education.

Many of the graduate programs are one-year "graduate certificate" programs, not a full Masters, and a large portion of the program is focused on a classroom internship. If that's still too much teacher training for you, there are no less than thirteen alternative certification programs, most providing 8-10 weeks of training before you are in a classroom full time.

What Maryland (and most other states) does do is require continuing professional development for its teachers. This is meant to keep classrooms fresh and up to date, and it's absolutely the norm for teachers everywhere. You personal professional development plan is created in conjunction with your schools needs, and is typically paid for out of their budget.

In Maryland, that requirement is six credit hours every five years. The horror!

I am sure lots of teachers choose to spend their PD time working towards an advanced degree, as that seems smarter than just aimlessly taking classes. But requiring teachers to take 1.2 credits of coursework a year is not the same are requiring them to get Masters degrees, "effectively" or otherwise.
Reply With Quote
  #138  
Old 03-19-2013, 05:25 PM
NAF1138 NAF1138 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
New York State does require a Master's in order to maintain your teaching license. I am not going to look for a cite, but there are tons of them. I don't remember if you need a Master's right out of the gate or if you have a couple of years to get one, but it is necessary at some point in order to stay licensed. Any masters will do though, it doesn't have to be an education masters. I am currently job hunting in the New Jersey area and my lack of an MA (or MFA) is preventing me from expanding my search into New York.

Last edited by NAF1138; 03-19-2013 at 05:26 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #139  
Old 03-19-2013, 08:21 PM
Condescending Robot Condescending Robot is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Ubekibekibekibekistanstan
Posts: 1,416
It's hard to make people swallow the line about how all teachers and teachers' unions are unqualifiedly good when everyone has experiences with teachers. Many people don't really know what it's like to be a steelworker or a retail cashier or a CEO, but we all went to school, and we saw that some teachers are more dedicated than others, to say the least. Right now it's a taboo to question the orthodoxy of "underpaid and overworked" teachers even when the facts say otherwise, which makes the large mass of people who know it's not universally the case even more disgruntled about being peddled a line of bullshit.
Reply With Quote
  #140  
Old 03-20-2013, 05:38 AM
casdave casdave is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 7,535
Looks like you left school too soon.
Reply With Quote
  #141  
Old 03-20-2013, 08:38 AM
Saint Cad Saint Cad is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by Condescending Robot View Post
It's hard to make people swallow the line about how all teachers and teachers' unions are unqualifiedly good when everyone has experiences with teachers. Many people don't really know what it's like to be a steelworker or a retail cashier or a CEO, but we all went to school, and we saw that some teachers are more dedicated than others, to say the least. Right now it's a taboo to question the orthodoxy of "underpaid and overworked" teachers even when the facts say otherwise, which makes the large mass of people who know it's not universally the case even more disgruntled about being peddled a line of bullshit.
I think you're missing the point. The question is for what they do, the responsibility they have (the education and welfare of their students), the fact that they need at least a bachelor's degree and continual professional development, pass professional tests to be licensed and for many a master's degree - why are teachers not given the respect similar to those that have similar qualifications and responsibility?
Reply With Quote
  #142  
Old 03-20-2013, 09:05 AM
RickJay RickJay is offline
Charter Jays Fan
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Burlington, Ontario
Posts: 31,815
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saint Cad View Post
I think you're missing the point. The question is for what they do, the responsibility they have (the education and welfare of their students), the fact that they need at least a bachelor's degree and continual professional development, pass professional tests to be licensed and for many a master's degree - why are teachers not given the respect similar to those that have similar qualifications and responsibility?
I again ask for some sort of evidence they're not. Most people with similar qualifications work jobs you don't even think about. How much thought do you give to the guy who manages the plant that made the cap on your bottle of water?
Reply With Quote
  #143  
Old 03-20-2013, 09:17 AM
Saint Cad Saint Cad is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by RickJay View Post
I again ask for some sort of evidence they're not. Most people with similar qualifications work jobs you don't even think about. How much thought do you give to the guy who manages the plant that made the cap on your bottle of water?
Nice strawman. So you're telling me the guy that manages the water-cap plant:
1) Is required by state law to have a bachelor's degree
2) Pass tests (that he pays for) showing competency in making bottle caps
3) Is required to do 150 hours of professional development every 5 years or he loses his bottle-cap making license
4) Supervises anywhere from 20 to 120 direct reports all under 18. Oh and he can't fire them.
5) Is responsible for having his workers improve on the state standardized bottle-cap making test

Last edited by Saint Cad; 03-20-2013 at 09:18 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #144  
Old 03-20-2013, 09:19 AM
bump bump is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saint Cad View Post
I think you're missing the point. The question is for what they do, the responsibility they have (the education and welfare of their students), the fact that they need at least a bachelor's degree and continual professional development, pass professional tests to be licensed and for many a master's degree - why are teachers not given the respect similar to those that have similar qualifications and responsibility?
Exactly. My mother was a teacher, and my wife is a lawyer, and the educational requirements are about the same*, and believe it or not, so are the hours and continuing education requirements. Mom had to be at school at 7 for bus-duty to watch the kids whose buses showed up early, and she didn't usually leave until after 5 because there were lesson plans to write, grading to do, evaluations to do, and a mountain of other paperwork that needed doing outside of the usual classroom teaching hours. She got 30 minutes for lunch as well, plus had to go in after hours and on weekends for parent-teacher conferences, and stupid shit like spring carnivals and open houses.

Yet my mom at her very highest, made less than 50k per year as a teacher, and that's with 20 years of experience, continual highest-level evaluations, taking on several student teachers per year, and being part of a since discontinued Texas incentive pay program.

My wife on the other hand, started out of school making upwards of 75k and when she quit practicing was pushing 100k. And was much more respected in the community.


I think a lot of it is that people's conception of what teachers do is filtered through what they saw when they were 10 year olds. If all you see is someone who pesters you from 8 am to 3 pm for 9 months of the year, then you tend to think that's all they do, and that it can't be that hard, when the reality is that they do a lot more than you see as a student, and relative to what other jobs with similar requirements pay, they're severely underpaid.


* Say what you will about the "doctorate" part of a JD, but a JD and most masters degrees are in the ballpark of 60 credit hours and 2 years.

Last edited by bump; 03-20-2013 at 09:22 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #145  
Old 03-20-2013, 09:27 AM
RickJay RickJay is offline
Charter Jays Fan
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Burlington, Ontario
Posts: 31,815
Quote:
Originally Posted by NAF1138 View Post
New York State does require a Master's in order to maintain your teaching license. I am not going to look for a cite, but there are tons of them. I don't remember if you need a Master's right out of the gate or if you have a couple of years to get one, but it is necessary at some point in order to stay licensed. Any masters will do though, it doesn't have to be an education masters. I am currently job hunting in the New Jersey area and my lack of an MA (or MFA) is preventing me from expanding my search into New York.
It took me a few minutes to find, predictably enough, that this isn't true. The requirement for a teaching certificate in the State of New York is a bachelor's degree, for most positions. I got this directly from the New York State Education Department's search tool for education requirements.

http://eservices.nysed.gov/teach/cer...irementHelp.do
Reply With Quote
  #146  
Old 03-20-2013, 09:45 AM
Cheesesteak Cheesesteak is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saint Cad View Post
Nice strawman. So you're telling me the guy that manages the water-cap plant:
1) Is required by state law to have a bachelor's degree
2) Pass tests (that he pays for) showing competency in making bottle caps
3) Is required to do 150 hours of professional development every 5 years or he loses his bottle-cap making license
4) Supervises anywhere from 20 to 120 direct reports all under 18. Oh and he can't fire them.
5) Is responsible for having his workers improve on the state standardized bottle-cap making test
Obviously not, but if he doesn't do his job right, one time, the production facility can shut down, costing the owner of the company tens of thousands of dollars a day in lost revenue.

If he doesn't do his job, right the quality of the product could suffer, costing the owner thousands to millions of dollars in lost contracts.

He's required to manage not only the workers, but ensure that the facility is in good repair, the grounds are maintained, the suppliers are providing the correct raw materials at the correct time.

He has to budget the appropriate amount of money to each aspect of the facilities needs to ensure that all departments are adequately staffed, have sufficient financial support, and still make bottle caps cheaply enough to be profitable in a competitive market.

He has to understand changes in the industry, new technologies to make bottle caps cheaper, and pick the RIGHT new technology when it is available, or he will get left behind by his competitor, and all those folks he works with every day lose their jobs and are left scrambling for some way to support their families.

But, he doesn't have to deal with 25 3rd graders every day, and go to classes over the summer, so he's overpaid.
Reply With Quote
  #147  
Old 03-20-2013, 10:23 AM
RickJay RickJay is offline
Charter Jays Fan
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Burlington, Ontario
Posts: 31,815
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saint Cad View Post
Nice strawman. So you're telling me the guy that manages the water-cap plant:
1) Is required by state law to have a bachelor's degree
2) Pass tests (that he pays for) showing competency in making bottle caps
3) Is required to do 150 hours of professional development every 5 years or he loses his bottle-cap making license
4) Supervises anywhere from 20 to 120 direct reports all under 18. Oh and he can't fire them.
5) Is responsible for having his workers improve on the state standardized bottle-cap making test
You're the one presenting a strawman.

No, he doesn't necessarily need some of these specific qualifications, but s/he would certainly need equivalent ones, which is why I picked that particular example. The bottle cap factory nearest where I live has a manager who has responsibility over about 150 employees, who can (with considerable difficulty) be fired, but of course, she's also responsible for not screwing up so they don't lose their jobs. Her educational qualifications are certainly equivalently difficult, and the health and safety and environmental certifications and regulations involved in running a plant that makes containers for products meant for human consumption are extremely complex, and she needs to be on top of them. You need substantial background, experience and skills in personnel management, business management, AND the relevant engineering and product expertise. The hours involved are tremendous; I doubt the person who runs a mid-sized manufacturing facility ever sees a week of fewer than 50 hours of work, and 60-70 would be pretty common, and vacations limited. Far fewer people are qualified to do that job than to be a schoolteacher, even if we limit the range to "Be a good schoolteacher." The stress involved in such a position is astounding.

But you're not even aware of the job's existence, really; it's not something that crossed your mind until I presented it as an example.

Last edited by RickJay; 03-20-2013 at 10:24 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #148  
Old 03-20-2013, 11:03 AM
Ruken Ruken is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: DC
Posts: 2,588
I wonder if many of the requirements for teachers may be seen as feel-good measures implemented by politicians without any real outcome re: performance. My MS (in progress toward a PhD) was a joke. The exams that teachers have to pass aren't exactly difficult. And continuing ed is a hoop-jumping exercise one week each summer.
Reply With Quote
  #149  
Old 03-20-2013, 12:14 PM
RickJay RickJay is offline
Charter Jays Fan
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Burlington, Ontario
Posts: 31,815
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruken View Post
I wonder if many of the requirements for teachers may be seen as feel-good measures implemented by politicians without any real outcome re: performance. My MS (in progress toward a PhD) was a joke. The exams that teachers have to pass aren't exactly difficult. And continuing ed is a hoop-jumping exercise one week each summer.
I've no doubt this is often true. I mean, consider the reverse; what would happen if a politician proposed eliminating some teaching certification requirements? No matter how how logical her/his case was, no matter how well presented, people would scream bloody murder about it.
Reply With Quote
  #150  
Old 03-20-2013, 12:49 PM
even sven even sven is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Okay, people, can we get this straight here so your attempts to put teachers in a no-win situation can be somewhat fact based.

You do not need an education degree to become a teacher.
You do not need a masters to become a teacher.
Reply With Quote
Reply



Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:42 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright © 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.