Why top students don’t want to teach

From McKinsey’s. It would be similar here presumably.

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Paul Frijters
Paul Frijters
10 years ago

top students dont want to teach because teaching does not earn top dollars. The problem with governments paying teachers more is that you would then mainly be paying the existing stock of teachers more, and those teachers were self-selected as being willing to teach for the current rates……

Tony
10 years ago

I never had any intention of being a teacher, but 10 years ago a bloke rang me up, asked if I would be interested in having a lash at the caper, so I said ok. Glad I did. I enjoy it.

Paul Frijters
Paul Frijters
10 years ago

nick,

sure, there can be all kinds of schemes to bypass the current stock of teachers that might work in the short-term. I am merely stating the fundamental barriers that now exists in most Western countries. And the barriers are growing. Just think of what happened in the last recession: teacher pay got frozen throughout much of Europe and the US. Dont bet on that gap being closed when the economy picks up.

conrad
conrad
10 years ago

“But there are very successful initiatives seeking to tap into young people’s natural altruism – well some young people’s natural altruism – to get great people into teaching – at least for a while. Like Teach for America – and hopefully teach for Australia.”

If you look at the data on TFA programs, I think you’ll find it quite mixed — indeed some studies show negative effects of TFA, and this doesn’t even include the cost of running them and the opportunity cost for schools of having a high staff turnover. Most of these things seem conveniently ignored when looking at the data. So the problem isn’t tapping into people’s natural altruism for a year or two — at least with respect to TFA style programs, this is basically a waste of time no matter how good it sounds, it’s getting people to stick around for the longer hall or, for that matter, targeting all of the factors that don’t include the word “teacher” that never seem to get the attention they deserve, like managers, parents, the interaction between ability and SES, etc.

Victor Trumper
Victor Trumper
10 years ago

Tony only enjoys it because he can talk cricket every day.

That must boost the grades in mathematics

suvvdy
suvvdy
10 years ago

It’s common knowledge. Those who can – DO. Those who can’t – TEACH. It’s not rocket science.

Seriously, how many teachers have “lived” in the real world?

Victor Trumper
Victor Trumper
10 years ago

A splendid example of Tony and others talking about the magnificent game is
here.

Tony
10 years ago

Thanks, Trumps.

Those who can teach – DO. Those who can’t TEACH say “Those who can – DO. Those who can’t – TEACH.”

Punters Little Finger
10 years ago

I teach Can Do.

It’s not related to cricket in anyway whatsoever.

Victor Trumper
Victor Trumper
10 years ago

Suvvdy,

My wife is a teacher and your saying isn’t common knowedge at all

Patrick
Patrick
10 years ago

I think that the biggest flaws with the current model of teaching are:
– that teachers have unions; and
– that teachers are employed, either directly or indirectly, by the government.

Surprise!

Seriously, though: Unions contribute a lot. Above all they contribute absolutely farcical barriers to entry, most notably the dip ed. Does anyone imagine that we could do any real harm letting an experienced physicist/engineer/mathematician tackle a class with no more than a two-week ‘handling kids 101’? Seriously? Even if s/he leaves after a year, are the kids and his/her colleagues seriously likely to be worse off? This applies perhaps several-fold in languages.

In addition, unions contribute lock-step pay based on seniority. Personally I suspect that the experienced mathematics professional would probably be a better teacher than many far more experienced maths teachers. I would be happy for them to be offered an incentive to teach (even part-time!). Under the current system that is impossible.

Secondly, the government imposes lots of rules on things like curricula, class sizes, etc. These rules are all absolutely well-intentioned (when are laws not?). They are often not well-researched (ie class sizes, I am pretty sure that the limits currently set are well above the threshold for making a difference anyway). Most of all they are often not demonstrably worth the cost (in terms of less flexibility) they necessarily impose. This reduced flexibility surely also reduces the attractiveness of teaching.

In addition to that point the government subsidises state education. Of course, when you subsidise something you get … that’s right, more of it. Here people will jump left right and centre to explain to me how the government actually subsidises private schools. I excuse your ignorance in advance, it is extremely hard to get any real figures on this and the press (most egregiously Fairfax but also for some reason Murdoch) consistently represents that the government subsidises private schools. It is much more likely that private-school parents are in fact subsidising State schools, even before you count the capital cost of those schools.

Notice how Teach for America is primarily about how to get around the first two problems which are union problems. It is rather sad that so much ingenuity is required to get around a union.

Patrick
Patrick
10 years ago

What is an enriching professional transition?

That recommendation reads rather like something you were tearing to shreds just last week (or so) on this site.. :)

conrad
conrad
10 years ago

“Above all they contribute absolutely farcical barriers to entry, most notably the dip ed”

Given that this is approximately 24 weeks of study, it’s hardly a great barrier to entry. Given that you couldn’t learn a second language in that time (or for that matter, how long does learning to knit take?), it’s not exactly asking the world of people. If really you want people with 2 weeks training teaching your kids, then lucky you, although I take your point about teachers without any knowledge of an area vs. non-teachers with knowledge.

As it happens, I think there is a lot to learn when teaching — if you tested all the kids in an average primary school, for example, you’d find many with undiagnosed reading and maths problems, and teachers that wouldn’t know what to do about them anyway (or how to spot them). That of course is a problem, because if you are 16 by the time someone helps you, then the amount you are likely to benefit is much less than if you are 6, and not being able to do things like read efficiently tends to lead to rather poor life outcomes. Now part of this problem is presumably what teachers are not getting taught or learning at universities (or in latter on the job training), but it’s hard to see it being any better with people trained for 2 weeks.

conrad
conrad
10 years ago

Patrick, I might also say that if you think that even the smartest people that are not qualified do a job that is as good as those that are qualified, then you might like to do a bit of searching on the empirical data. For example, try looking at what the query Teach for America returns in terms of articles actually evaluating the program.

conrad
conrad
10 years ago

oops, that should be “are” not is.

conrad
conrad
10 years ago

Nicholas,

I’m not against the idea of on the job learning (I don’t really see why it should ever stop for some professions), and I’m also well aware that some of the things being taught in education faculties are not exactly what people want to or need to learn (as one of my recent students, who was a very smart graduate and went on to do teaching, said “the only time I learned anything was in my placement”, and, after doing one of the equivalent tertiary teaching subjects myself, I can only agree). That being said, there is empirical evidence out there showing that putting entirely unqualified people in classrooms does not lead to thrilling results, even if they’re the top students from the top universities (like I said, just look up the empirical TFA results), and hopefully not all universities are just teaching dross.

Given these results, I don’t think that the Grad Dip. is a bad compromise. If you’re worried about the amount of time it takes, and you think that getting smart people in is really important, then an alternative, for example, would be to pay people whilst they were doing their placements (or entire Grad Dip if you really want for some types of teacher — it’s only 24 weeks). I think the problem now is that the Grad Dip courses are getting closed down (at Melbourne, for example), although I assume that’s because they cost too much to run due to finding placements, not because the alternative is better, and now they are trying to to force people to do either a degree or 2 years of study with a degree, which I agree is too much.