17 July 2010

Do Selective High Schools Have the Best Teachers?

Do Selective High Schools Have the Best Teachers?

I am going to go out on a limb here and say, No!

I went to a selective high school for some of my schooling and a non-selective high school for the rest of it. The idea that selective high schools have the best teachers is a myth. It is a myth that could be easily busted wide open. However, the data that could bust that myth is not released by the NSW Department of Education and Training. In an era of openness and transparency where parents prefer to make informed decisions about where they send their children to schools, then this data would help parents identify which schools have teachers making a significant difference in the educational lives of the students under their care.

The myth is premised on the idea that because it is a selective high school, then not only are the students selected but so are the teachers. This is clearly not the case. Even by the Department's own admission, schools can request, perhaps even demand, certain teachers with specific skills, but generally vacancies appear and they are filled. In any event, the competitive nature of a selective school drives successful outcomes for students more than extraordinary teachers.

That is not to say that extraordinary teachers do not exist in the selective school system, for they surely do, but this is to say that these schools are likely to achieve results with teachers going through the motions because the students themselves are driven to succeed.

The reality is that you are just as likely to come across an exceptional teacher working in Bingara or Moree or Deniliquin as you are at James Ruse or Sydney Boys or Hurlstone Agricultural High School. Similarly, you are just as likely to come across a teacher going through the motions of teaching in anyone of these schools or teachers who are struggling with the profession and their educational responsibilities.

As a prospective teacher I am committed to being successful. Success comes in many forms, but paramount among these is seeing the students that I work with achieve and exceed their learning expectations.

This little rant was inspired by this article.

1 comment:

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