Great teachers, blah blah blah, easy platitude, meaningless applause line. Ravitch posts this comment from a teacher who also recognizes the absurdity.
I’ve read a lot of history of education, as has Ravitch of course. She’s actually written on it, so yeah, there’s that.
In any case, I remember at one point reading a chapter, I think it was Clifford (1988)? My mind is usually a steel trap for this kind of stuff.
There was this understanding at the time that common schools were formulating, perhaps mid-1800s, that all of these new students and new classrooms, many of whom composed of immigrants, could NOT be staffed by “born” teachers, or those who received the “call.” They couldn’t even be staffed by men because they were more expensive and could find better employment elsewhere.
So, in order to staff all of these classrooms, a rather clever marketing ploy was used: market teaching as natural to women, as perfect for their feminine skills or whatever, and you can take advantage of all these newly educated women who had no place to go.
We can have talented teachers like we can have very talented athletes. Some get to the majors, most don’t. But even in the majors, you still need that back-up to the back-up, the pinch hitter’s hitter. You need the second-string punter or the substitute long snapper. You’re not always going to get a Babe Ruth or whatever (I’m not a big sports guy).
A great teacher in every classroom? I mean, sure, but really? No, not going to happen, nor should it happen. Never has, never will. Is that a problem? No, I don’t think so.