Teacher Attributes For Inner-City Schools
smarter teachers the answer to the underachievement in our low-income schools?
Maybe we should pay them more money to come and teach in an urban school if
they had a higher SAT score in high school, or aced a teacher licensing exam.
It's not that simple. A
high-achieving teacher who goes into a classroom where most of the kids are
from low-income and non-English speaking homes, and expects the kids to be on
fire for education the way she was, is cruisin' for a major bruisin'.
content knowledge and teaching skill is crucial for teachers in any kind of
setting, it's more what's in the teacher's heart than in her brains that
determines success or failure in the inner-city setting.
according to research by Martin Haberman, a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
education professor. He says that the key attributes for teachers in ghetto
schools or other schools where teachers are hard to hire don't have that much
to do with intellect or academic skill, but with attitudes and character.
challenges of a low socioeconomic classroom of kids include:
n Students are not ready, physically
and emotionally, to learn.
n Teachers may have to work in unsafe,
n Curriculum may be irrelevant to the
kids' interests and the imperatives of standardized tests.
n Supervision may be low quality.
n Class sizes may be too large.
n Materials may be inadequate.
n Paperwork from the typically
disorganized or bureaucratic central offices of a monopoly urban school
district might kill most time for a teacher's creativity and initiative.
contends that the teachers who succeed in these classrooms are those who are
internally motivated - who see teaching as a calling and a profession, not a job.
Those who are motivated by their paycheck or other non-student achievement
goals will wind up as "quitter/failers," Haberman says.
we want are those who know that better schooling may be the only chance for a
better life for most of the students, and so the focus is on giving them that
better schooling, not on the teacher's own needs and desires.
said a good urban teacher:
n Warmly accepts students with
n Views parents and caregivers as
resources, not enemies, pests or part of the problem.
n Works well with social service
n Has good cultural and ethnic
understanding and sensitivity.
n Knows how to prevent and minimize
n Respects all students, even if they
do bad things.
what teachers have to say on this point on the website of the Teacher Leaders
Network, sponsored by the Southeast Center for Teaching Quality: