School district right to seek outside help

info@islandpacket.comJanuary 25, 2014 

The recent editorial questioning the Beaufort County School District's engagement of an outside firm to help identify good teachers was superficial.

Of course the district knows which colleges and universities have produced better teachers. But selecting a teacher prospect based on the school attended is likely to be no more helpful to the school board than the same criterion has been to the NFL in predicting successful pro football players. Though the editorial did mention the need to look at individual candidates' attributes, I do not think it stressed that point nearly enough.

A successful teacher prospect should possess intellectual mastery of the subject to be taught; sufficient poise and personality to command the respect of students; patience with the differences in education inevitably to be found in any group of pupils; communication skills; motivation based on the importance of education rather than the need for employment; and dedication to becoming as good a teacher as possible.

Finding such candidates requires that someone with sufficient experience, such as a proven master teacher, observes and critiques the candidate's performance frequently during practice teaching with a view to predicting future success.

I would be astonished if the school board had the time or, indeed, even the expertise, to perform that scouting function. And presumably, the other district employees are already so engrossed in their jobs so as not to permit much wide-ranging, scouting efforts. So why not get outside help?

Paul A. Becker

Sun City Hilton Head

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