“Ten percent of teachers are bad”

Every time I see or hear a celeb say something awesome, I get warm tingly feelings inside. Actually, it doesn’t always have to be a celeb.

[Video of Matt Damon explaining that applying a paternalistic view to education policy – job security makes people lazy – ignores the fact that people go into teaching because they want to teach.]

I wouldn’t say that all teachers are amazing and no one’s allowed to criticize any of them. I’m sure there are many teachers who started teaching because they wanted summers off and really don’t put in the effort or care that their students need. And even the teachers who love teaching and want to be good teachers and are good teachers should be given constructive feedback so they can improve. Since the video seems to start in the middle of a conversation, I don’t know the entire context of what Matt Damon was saying, but the idea that not having job security is a good thing because it gives people an incentive to work harder is really problematic, and it looks to me like it’s mostly applied to people who work in the service industry or other industries that don’t make a huge amount of money. Didn’t BP’s executives get a bonus the year after the oil spill?

Anyway, a big part of me wants to go to Finland to investigate this. (I really have no idea how to go about doing this. I hope to figure it out before next summer.) Obviously they’re doing something right. The fact that all teachers need a masters degree that doesn’t just consist of “silly courses on education theory and history” (although I would argue that those courses can be useful sometimes) but actually learn things that “enable them to bring a higher level of intellectual preparation into the classroom” is pretty cool. I think that something should be done about teachers who don’t care about their job, but that comes from recognizing that teaching is a tough, time-consuming, often under appreciated job, and that people support and proper training to do it well.


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