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Let's deal with the few bad teachers

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  |  Posted: Wednesday, May 14, 2014 06:00 am

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There is a fight waging between the provincial teachers’ task force and the Alberta Teachers Association. The task force is recommending teachers be evaluated every five years to assess their competency and the union says it’s a “direct assault on teachers.”

We entrust teachers with our most valuable asset, our children. Besides ourselves, no one is more influential in our children’s lives than their teachers. Many of us were blessed with that extra special individual teacher who inspired us and the path we chose in life.

No one chooses a teaching career for the money. They prepare lesson plans and grade papers generally on their own time. The argument that teachers receive a lot of holidays often pales by the amount of time they volunteer to head clubs and other after-school activities for the sake of the children.

Over the years, class sizes have increased and teachers no longer have authority to hand out punishment. They no longer even have the option of giving out a grade of zero for no work handed in. Today if school staff call a parent about a problem with little Johnny, they are more likely to be met with backlash rather than concern.

Still, with all these things against them, there is still no shortage of caring enthusiastic people ready to take up the torch, and they deserve a lot more credit than they are often given.

I believe that the task force agrees with me. Instead of a witch hunt, they are looking at the exceptions to the rule. The truth is, there are a few individuals out there who are failing our children. This is no different than any profession but can have serious consequences on a child’s path.

Good teachers no more want to hide or protect bad teachers than we do. Without the proper recourse in place, even principals are hesitant to speak up. I think we need to find a way to identify and remove individuals who are not up to the task, while at the same time not allowing good teachers to fall victim to politics or personal vendettas.

These two groups should not look at each other as enemies, but instead work together to achieve their common goal and remember what’s important: the children.

Tim Andrew, St. Albert


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