Effective Teachers

Why Demanding Better Education is Paramount for Our Children

Young Children Ready For School

Arming a child with knowledge early in his or her life will position him or her for continued success. Not only does a great educational foundation provide the skills for a child to reach his or her greatest potential, but it also cultivates a better future society. Our children first learn the most from their parents, and they must lead by example to help the next generation. Parents know how significant their jobs are, but they can only do so much.

When deciding on a school for their children to attend, parents must devote serious attention to the quality of teachers and administrators at the institutions they consider for their children. Parents have a right to demand that schools create environments where students can thrive academically. Students will not, unfortunately, thrive academically in schools that don’t have effective teachers and administrators. Here are some phenomena to contemplate as you attempt to prepare your child for academic success.

Education in Early Life

It makes sense that investing in the education of a child builds a more prosperous and peaceful citizen. Those who have some kind of educational foundation are more likely to commit themselves to academic excellence and the notion of the life of the mind. A school system that continually challenges a student will lead him or her to see the value of lifelong learning. With a better education and more efficient ways of assessing our children’s abilities, more of them will feel valued. This will certainly lead to a more productive society. In children’s early learning, assist them in discovering their distinctive beliefs and worldviews. Early learning should be fostered by their own curiosity about the world, with lots of support, validation, and hints offered.

New Ways of Learning

As the saying goes, “Out with the old, in with the new.” We need to focus on alternative means of assessing our children’s academic growth. If you’ve ever taken a standardized test, you know how mind-numbingly painful it is to stay focused and regurgitate all the information you were forced to memorize. Students need new ways of being evaluated, such as oral exams or presentations. Modern schools are becoming better at employing new methods and strategies of imparting new material. Observe the ways in which your own child responds to different methods of learning, such as visual, auditory, and tactile learning, and identify ways you can address his or her needs inside and outside of the classroom.

Online Education

Online schools are increasingly becoming attractive options for parents for their children’s education. Not only are college classes held online, but entire K-12 schools are now online. These types of organizations are especially advantageous for those who don’t have easy access to a school, or children who want to be homeschooled without having their parents as teachers. Online learning also has the benefit of being directed by the student’s own curiosity. Some K-12 online schools offer field trips and community resources that allow for social engagement and community learning, as well as an individualized pace.

Conclusion

Ensuring the next generation is equipped with the tools essential for educational success is our responsibility. With some sweeping educational reforms, we can empower our children to evolve in a society where they are ready to ameliorate it persistently. Parents should lead the effort to advocate for the educational reforms necessary to improving American public schools dramatically.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Open Letter to School Administrators

Dear School Administrators:

When you’re observing and evaluating teachers in their classroom, it’s vital that they have all of the information about what you expect from them before you enter their classrooms.  If you haven’t done a good job of providing them with feedback, then you cannot expect them to be the type of teachers you consider to be effective teachers.  When you’re observing and evaluating teachers, they need direct instruction about what you expect from them in the classroom.  How can teachers do the jobs you expect for them to do when they never receive specific training on what you expect from them?

When you expect teachers to follow guidelines for a standards-based classroom, you cannot simply give them a standards-based classroom checklist and leave them to interpret the standards-based classroom checklist and expect them to be ready for you to come in and observe and evaluate their performance in the classroom. How silly is that?  When you do this, it seems like you are setting the teachers up for failure—either intentionally or unintentionally.

Be fair to teachers and give them all of the information, training, materials, equipment, and etc. they need to be effective teachers.  Before you begin grading teachers and asking them to grade themselves, how about you grade yourselves first.  When you begin to engage in critically assessing yourselves first, then you may discover just why your teachers are not performing to a level that meets your expectations.

Although it is vital for students to perform well on standardized tests, you have to place a stronger emphasis on giving teachers credit for the ways they motivate students to learn.  Many students would care less about a standardized test if they didn’t have teachers who are motivating them to care about the standardized test they have to take.  When people run into your offices telling you about what a teacher is doing and not doing, begin to question the value and credibility of person who is telling you something a teacher does or does not do that doesn’t have an impact on student motivation and student academic achievement.

Some of you need to stop hiding behind your desks and computers and address the teachers you truly have problems with, instead of sending out emails addressed to everyone, making it appear like you’re having problems with a great number of teachers when it’s really just several teachers.

Many teachers are doing a great job and really care about their students.  Be sure that you’re not doing things that will cause those teachers to leave the profession or your school.  You don’t want the good or great teachers to leave your school while the ones who are just there to get a check remain.  When you try to communicate to your teachers that you appreciate the job that they are doing, be sure that your words and actions evince that you truly mean what you’re attempting to communicate.

We all want the best for all of our students.  Therefore, since you’re the leaders of our schools, then make sure you’re doing all you can to empower your teachers to be the best they can be.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison