Kiwi Polemicist

February 9, 2009

• Teachers Council says 10% of new teachers incompetent

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Here’s some excerpts from a Stuff article:

The Teachers Council says principals put the number of incompetent new teachers at about 10 per cent, but last week principals told the Sunday Star-Times the figure was actually much higher.

The main problems, the principals say, are that trainee teachers don’t seem to get enough practical in-school time, and many speak English as a second language. To be admitted to train as a teacher, students have to pass stringent English-language tests, but principals say this does not mean they can cope in a classroom.

Other graduates apparently struggle with the basics of professionalism, such as dressing appropriately, turning up on time and preparing lessons.
[...]
One principal said: “It’s fair to say there’s a percentage [of graduates] that should not be in the classroom. They should not even consider it. I think the entrance requirements [to training courses] should be higher.”
[...]
One of the principals the Sunday Star-Times spoke to says the majority of graduates applying for work at his school should not be in the profession. He says their English is often a problem, as is basic spelling and grammar. Many spell the school name incorrectly, or address their application to the “principle”.

[...]
Council director Peter Lind says that when he asks principals how many graduates are problematic, they say about 10 per cent. He says this is not a significant percentage, and in any profession some new graduates will not be fully prepared. Most of the teachers who are below par will not get jobs, but he admits some schools have little choice but to hire them. [emphasis added]

If the Teachers Council says that 10% of new teachers are incompetent it’s a safe bet that the real figure is higher – official bodies always downplay the bad news.

I was personally involved in a situation last year where a school paid for a teacher to fly from one end of the country to the other for a job interview a week before the school year started. This teacher has very little experience and is incapable of explaining anything in a logical and clear manner, but still got the job. That school now has a maths teacher who believes that there is no need whatsoever to learn times tables.

In summary:

  • taxpayers a paying a fortune for teacher training
  • at least 10% of graduates from that training are incompetent
  • the Teachers Council says that that percentage is “not significant”
  • some of those incompetent teachers get jobs
  • some of those incompetent teachers are teaching a language that they themselves cannot speak properly
  • as always, governments steal money and misuse it

Is it my imagination or is there something wrong with this picture?

What do you think about your taxes paying for incompetent teachers and the effect of that on children?

Do you have first hand knowledge of incompetent teachers that you can share?

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