Making An A+ Teacher

Over the last two years, thousands of teachers across the country were issued pink slips amid state budget cuts and fierce political battles over testing scores and teaching effectiveness.

But the impact teachers have on individual student achievement is now thought to be one of the most important factors in student learning. A good teacher can provide the educational foundation for a student, introducing them to the intricacies of the world through history, science, language arts and math. A great teacher can inspire students in life-changing ways.

So what makes a great teacher great?

During the week of May 23, WBUR broadcasts a series exploring how teacher salary, training, personality and evaluations can play a role in making a great teacher.

We hear from students, teachers and others — including U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan — about the qualities that distinguish a great teacher from all the rest.

Friday, May 27

‘Compensate Debate’ Could Follow New Teacher Evaluations
A district-by-district comparison of average teacher salaries for K-12 schools in Massachusetts.

Teachers’ salaries are not linked to their performance; they are linked to how long they’ve been on the job and their level of education. But would higher paid teachers make a difference in education?

Education Commissioner: You Can’t Divorce Test Scores And Teacher Effectiveness
Massachusetts Education Commission Mitchell Chester (AP)

To wrap our series, we asked Massachusetts Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester about proposed new teacher evaluation regulations and whether evaluations should be linked to student test scores.

Thursday, May 26

Video: Special Discussion: Is Good Teaching Teachable?

As part of our week-long series, WBUR hosted a live panel discussion at our Boston studios. The topic: is good teaching teachable? You can watch the video here.

Teachers Eye Coaches, Collaboration To Improve Their Teaching

Are great teachers born with the gift, or can we teach great teaching? We hear about strategies some experts use to hone the teaching craft.

In Teacher Evaluations, Students Seek Their Say

The Boston Student Advisory Council is lobbying to make student feedback part of the teacher evaluation process.

Conversation: Wall Street No Preparation To Manage A Classroom

Radio Boston: Charter School Founder Says Good Teachers Can Be Taught

Wednesday, May 25

Despite Bad Grades, Many Boston Teachers Stay In Class

In our series, we’ve been examining what makes a teacher good. But what about bad teachers? Unfortunately some failing teachers are left in the classroom, especially in Boston Public Schools.

Conversation: Problem Students Can Hold The Class Back

Aspiring Educator Learns Nothing Prepares You For Teaching Like Teaching
Student teacher Christine Dunn (Sacha Pfeiffer/WBUR)

Christine Dunn is one of the educators of the future. And she’s finding out that once you have a classroom of your own, all that academic theory can quickly go out the window.

Tuesday, May 24

Uncertain Test Score Evaluation System Worries Teachers

Over the next three years the Massachusetts’ teacher evaluation system will change significantly. The most controversial element requires using student test scores to rate teachers.

One Town Says MCAS Is Misguided In Evaluating Teachers

The state Board of Education has decided that student performance on the MCAS has to be a significant component of how teachers are evaluated. The town of Hingham is not happy about the news.

Monday, May 23

What Makes A Good Teacher?

More and more research shows that teacher quality is the most important factor in learning. But what makes a good teacher? A good teacher has to be a social worker, a manager and an instructor.

Chalk Talk: What Makes A Great Teacher?

We hear from teachers, students and others — including U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan — about the qualities they say reign supreme when it comes to the makings of a phenomenal teacher.

Interactive Map: Mass. Teacher Salaries; Per Pupil Expenditures; MCAS Scores

This interactive map shows a district-by-district comparison of average teacher salaries, per pupil expenditures and MCAS scores for K-12 schools in Massachusetts.

Conversation: Teach For America Studies What Makes Great Teachers Great

Radio Boston Talker: Examining Great Educators

WBUR News Director Martha Little was the series editor. WBUR’s Bob Oakes and Sacha Pfeiffer were the series hosts. WBUR’s Deborah Becker and Monica Brady-Myerov were the senior producers. WBUR’s Dave Shaw and Lisa Tobin and Jason Breslow and Lynn Jolicoeur were the producers. WBUR’s Michael Garth, George Hicks, Mike Toda and Missy Webb were the engineers. WBUR’s Deborah Becker, Monica Brady-Myerov, Bob Oakes, Sacha Pfeiffer, Fred Thys and Bianca Vazquez Toness reported. WBUR’s John Davidow was the senior Web editor. WBUR’s Jesse Costa, Keosha Johnson, Will Smith and Benjamin Swasey and Jeremy Bernfeld were the Web producers. WBUR’s Wendy Schwartz and Kristen Holgerson produced the on-air promotions.

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