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In the same way that a bad parent who becomes a better parent knows they are now a better parent. Some things are not quantifiable. I know of no effective national evaluation system for parenting and yet some parents are good parents. I know that I am a better teacher now than when I first started.

I'm not claiming to be a good teacher. I'm just claiming to be a better one. It's common for a practitioner to get better over time so one should assume that I've gotten better and not worse. What is the point of disputing this claim or doubting its veracity? I don't know the purpose of your question?




I know that I am a better teacher now than when I first started.

Sure, you know that you're a better teacher than when you started. But can you prove it? What can you do that a fresh-out-of-college teacher can't? What can you do better? How can you show that you do your job better?

As a programmer, I have a similar problem. But I don't just throw up my hands and say, "Well, some things just can't be quantified." Instead, I try to quantify them. I try to show how my estimation skills have gotten better. I try to show how my code now has fewer bugs and requires less maintenance effort.

As a teacher, what can you show me to distinguish you from a wet-behind-the-ears graduate?


What can you do that a fresh-out-of-college teacher can't?

I can plan lessons that include activities tailored for the needs of specific students. Training teachers find this hard and tend to plan for the median.

I can plan lessons more quickly than a training teacher, thus liberating time for more tailoring. I can use technology to differentiate delivery and to save time.

My feedback to each student is more accurately geared to that student's 'zone of proximal development'. I can set targets that mean something to each student.

I can 'reflect in action' in the classroom. I can read the situation in the whole class, and I can understand the logic behind mistakes that individual students make, and suggest alternative approaches.

How can you show that you do your job better?

In the institution where I teach we have QA observations and peer observations in place. That gives me some kind of benchmark.

Education is fuzzy, hard to measure, hard to standardise and quite hard work if you do it properly. As are many human occupations.


It's interesting to me that all of your examples are also very important aspects of being an excellent Dungeon Master. I never made this connection between teaching and DM'ing before.


I'd expect similar skills are involved for coaching, directing, and executive management.


Patio11 made a claim that calls for reform, school choice, testing, etc. all had as their goal employment of teachers and that education of students was a by-product. Specifically he/she said this in regard to professional development.

I responded to the professional development aspect of Patio11's comment. My point being that seasoned professionals do have wisdom to impart on less experienced colleagues. I used myself as an example but the point made is clear (I think).

Even if I really am not a better teacher now than I was 17 years ago the point is still true. Well, in order for the point not to be true one has to believe that there is no wisdom gained from experience is teaching an that this is universally true. I know of no profession in which practitioners do not generally get better over time. Indeed,there is no profession in which no practitioner gets better over time.

So what is the point of requesting that I prove that I really have gotten better over time? It's not germane to my point unless one believes that no one ever gets better over time in teaching.


I know of no profession in which practitioners do not generally get better over time. Football players and Strippers don't automatically get better with time and despite learning new things their overall performance decreases with time. More generally any profession that deals with burnout either physical or mental has the same sort's of issues.

Look, my Mother has 2 PHD's in education and often does professional workshops for teachers. However, like most forms of professional development her workshops are both expensive and their value is hard to quantify. So it may pay better than her normal job but as she says it's of limited value.

Programming is a lot like teaching it takes a few years to get up to speed, but vary quickly years of experience stops being a useful metric.


The problem with thinking you're good at a non-quantifiable, hard to measure thing is that almost everybody thinks they're better than average at them. Are you sure you aren't just measuring your previous methods of teaching against your current methods? There's no way they can hold up if you use that measure, but that doesn't mean your current methods are better.

When I was a student I didn't notice much difference in teaching ability unless the teacher hand only been teaching for a couple of years.


"You should believe me because I say so"? Really? I'm not saying you are or are not, but this line of justification is an insult to anyone who considers themselves rational thinkers.


Not really. I would have though that: 'do it a lot and you'll get better at it' is fairly self evident. Obviously testing of some sort would help us to determine how much better one became.

I'd go so far as to say that it would be very difficult not to improve at something you were doing over a period of time.


I think the point they're trying to make (through this admittedly condescending questioning) is that when the institution is fundamentally wrong, elongated experience can only pervert rather than further skills. Or f it does further, it is only furthering a perversion of some concept of what's right. I think there's a degree of truth to that but but it's oversimplifying a bit.


the bottom line is that america's eternal quest for a teacher metric is failing in relation to systems like the (perhaps overly touted) finnish one, where the discriminating factor for teacher quality is much more a measure of trust in the intuition of experienced teachers.

I think the 'I NEED MORE NUMBERS' mentality of empiricism you're using here has neutralised the prospective utility of the intuition of experienced teachers who would make effective consultants, if they ever come across something that works that they simply can't explain. Obviously, questioning their suggestions and looking for answers is the next step, but to insult their ability to think and view their opinions with derison? How are you helping anything talking that way?


In the same way that a bad parent who becomes a better parent knows they are now a better parent.

That's not a great example. There are loads of bad parents who think they are good parents. There's a bit of Dunning-Kruger effect, and also some bad parents who hold beliefs about what makes a good/bad parent that differ from the norm (i.e. some parents think beating their children is OK and think that modern society is wrong to condem that practice. They think they are good parents because they beat their children. This is wrong)




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