What makes a great teacher? Part II

109 posts / 0 new
Last post
Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Oy! Lads! Off topic, yes? Perhaps a new thread is in the cards?

Sven Sven's picture

Catchfire wrote:
Oy! Lads! Off topic, yes? Perhaps a new thread is in the cards?

Ha!  I was thinking the same thing! Tongue out


I think a more interesting statistic, instead of what percentage of income people spend on food, is what percentage people spend on other necessities.  Because in many cases, while it's true that perhaps someone on welfare only spends say 5% of their income on food, that might be because rent takes up 90% of their income, and they have to go to food banks to get the rest, or their kids go to school hungry in the morning.

It doesn't matter how cheap food is if you can't afford it.  $100 a week might as well be $10,000 per week if you don't have either amount after you've paid for your rent, utilities, and transportation to and from work.


Sven wrote:
1930s: 23.0% of income went towards food

1940s: 20.4%

1950s: 19.3%

1960s: 15.4%

1970s: 13.5%

1980s: 12.1%

1990s: 10.8%

2000s: 9.8%

In other words, food is becoming cheaper because a diminishing percentage of work hours are needed to earn the money necessary to pay for one's food.

I don't think that's what these stats show at all.

They could just as easily indicate that the costs of other things like housing, heating, electricity, transportation, tuition, and healthcare are increasing at faster rates than food. Or it could mean that households now have new expenses in their budgets that didn't exist previously. I wonder what percentage of household income went to internet service in the '30's. Or it could indicate that people are buying less food. Or settling for cheaper quality food. If 5 years ago I mostly bought organic foods, but now look for the cheapest way to fill my belly, I may be spending a smaller percentage of my income on food, but that doesn't mean food has become any more affordable.


Has another thread been opened yet?

Back to the topic ...

As a former student, former teacher (concurrent program for the TO board, and adult ESL) and the parent of an elementary school student, what makes a good teacher is intelligence, creativity, sensivity and a relentless work ethic and dedication to education.

Being the parent of a kid with epilepsy-related learning disabilities, I'm fairly involved in my kid's school experience. I've come to understand that it isn't important whether I like the teacher. It's way more important that my kid likes them and that they get observable results.

Kids who have an IEP (individualized education program) spend time with an educational support teacher. I really dislike the current one working with my kid, but my kid likes her, and the woman gets results. She's also the only person who can get through to the students who have 'behavioral disorders'. Kids my teacher friends sometimes refer to as chair-throwers.

The woman may be a a bit odious when dealing with parents, but she's a gem when it comes to kids with special needs. Probably kids in general. I'd take one of her over a hundred teachers I 'clicked' with.


University Students and Geography Class

They should not be confusing Antarctica and the Arctic, and they should know that they live on the Atlantic Ocean ... and they should be able to know where North America is.

Here's a example of a good University teacher attempting to apply Jacques Ranciere's philosophy about working with what is given.  It appears that some of these students, when they hear about the USA bombing people again in Asia or Africa, are likely to run and hide under their beds as a precaution.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I'm always dubious about these stories which "prove" that students today are horrible at [pick one: writing, math, history, geography, et al.]. Who is in her class? Are they all Canadian students? Are any of the Canadian students recent immigrants? Are they treating a pop quiz which treats them, deliberately, as "elementary," seriously? If I took a class at university about Geography and was asked to colour a map, I'd be pretty pissed. Hell, I was pissed when my Grade 10 Geography teacher asked me to do that.

One of my favourite profs at UBC, now an associate Dean, who wrote the most popular text book on the genre of Academic writing, or writing at university, is always approached by journalists who want to write this kind of story. "Can you give us a quote about how students nowadays can't write a sentence?" She always answers, "No, but I can give you the name of someone who will..."


Well, people will take the instance reported on in that piece or similar ones, and combine it with the functional illiteracy that many of us encounter first hand with high school grads these days, and we have an unmistakable theme coming out of the school system that what they're teaching is of little relevance to today's student.  It seems to me that it's to do with that sort of conversation, or it defaults to the one about the lackadaisical attitude toward standards on the part of the people who work in education system, that the right goes on about.