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Good Teacher And Bad Teacher Essay

4 Apr, 2013

The Difference Between “Good” and “Bad” Teachers

What’s the difference between a “good” teacher and a “bad” teacher, between a great learning experience and a bore? Intuitively, we all know the difference. Bad teachers are dull and uninspiring. Their lectures drone on and on, and before long it’s a struggle just to stay awake. I had an English professor once who so inspired me that I spent time in the library expanding my knowledge of the literature we were discussing.  Making an “A” in his class was easy. The next semester, I had a professor who was so dull that I had trouble keep my eyes open in his class. Ever since then, I have tried to emulate the great teacher.  

Effective teachers are engaging, often entertaining, and fearless. They’ll do just about anything to hold a student’s attention and find a way to drive home an important principle. Even the most highly motivated students learn more, and retain more of what they learn, when they are entertained.   

Important points need to be presented in several forms, because everyone has a unique learning style. It’s also entertaining (and thought-provoking) to preview upcoming lectures. For example, we need a drilling fluid that has a very low viscosity when it leaves the drill bit nozzles but has a very high viscosity when it is coming back up the hole to bring up the cuttings. How do we create such a fluid? Stay tuned for tomorrow’s lecture!

Creative teachers often improvise. They know that a simple, 1-minute demonstration with everyday props will sometimes be the catalyst that crystallizes a concept you’ve been discussing for 20 minutes. With a little imagination, a nut on the end of a string becomes the drilling fluid whirling inside a desilter. A rubber band becomes an elastic drill string causing surge and swab pressures – the result of stopping or starting the drill pipe movement too quickly. A tray of sand becomes a beach that illustrates the dilatant behavior of sand.  A piece of hard black shale conveys the impermeable nature of shale to go with the electron microscope picture that shows holes in the shale. A stack of paper becomes a clay structure. A torn sheet of paper illustrates how some of the charges are created by disrupting a crystal structure. This is then the pathway to solving the ‘advertising teaser’.  A wadded-up sheet of paper is a drilled solid that would clearly disrupt a good filter cake.  

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Two-way communication continues after the course ends.

Learning is a two-way process that connects teachers with participants and the present with the past.  Participants must always feel encouraged to ask questions that link course discussion with their own past experiences on the job. Seldom does a class exist where two students have the same background. The questions usually reflect that.  

Long after the class is over, the conversation continues. I encourage participants to call or email whenever questions arise and assure them they will not be charged a consulting fee. This ongoing connection helps them relate the theory and technology we discussed to their work. It also helps to keep me in tune with current problems – so we’re learning from one another.

 

LEON ROBINSON had a 39 year career at Exxon and made contributions in many technology areas such as: mud cleaners, explosive drilling, drilling data telemetry, subsurface rock mechanics, and drilling and hydraulic optimization techniques, tertiary oil recovery, on-site drilling workshops, world-wide drilling fluid seminars and rig site consultation. Throughout his last 25 years with Exxon, he delivered annual lectures at in-house Drilling Engineering Schools on various topics.

Since retiring from Exxon Production Research in 1992, Dr. Robinson has remained active working with the SPE, API, AADE, IADC, and consulting on drilling activities. He has received 34 US patents, 23 International patents, the 1981 IADC Special Recognition Award, the 1986 SPE Drilling Engineering Award, several Exxon lecturer awards, the 1999 AADE Meritorious Service Award, the 2004 SPE Legion of Honor Award, the 2006 API Service Award, in 2006 was inducted into the AADE Hall of Fame, in Sept. 2008, one of the first five recognized by SPE as a “Drilling Legend”.

Currently, he is a consultant, Chairman of the IADC Technical Publications Committee writing the encyclopedia of drilling, Chairman of an API task group involved with API RP 13C, member of API task groups addressing issues with drilling fluids and hydraulics, and on the AADE Conference planning committee. He was discharged from the U.S. Army in 1946, received a B.S. and a M.S. in Physics from Clemson University, and a Ph.D. in Engineering Physics from N.C. State University.

 

Imagine a business that can’t recognize its best employees and ignores its failures.

Would you invest in it?

Such a dynamic haunts our nation’s public schools, according to a new study, and you invest in them plenty.

Researchers say wrong-headed policies make administrators treat both great and less-than-great teachers as though they are interchangeable widgets.

The findings should sound a clarion call to administrators and teachers unions concerned about lagging test scores, gaping achievement gaps and shameful graduation rates.

Teachers are the most important factor of a child’s education. Administrators and union leaders know this, which makes it difficult to fathom how they can allow excellent teaching to go unrecognized just as they continue to overlook poor teaching.

Instead, we often hear the same, tired excuses of how it’s nearly impossible to show a bad teacher the door. That needs to change, just as much as districts and unions need to find ways to recognize and reward their most valuable teachers.

“The Widget Effect: Our National Failure To Acknowledge and Act on Differences in Teacher Effectiveness” is the result of a study conducted by the nonprofit New Teacher Project. Researchers looked at four states and 12 school districts including Denver and Pueblo, reports The Post’s Jeremy P. Meyer.

Researchers found disturbing patterns it characterized as all too common. Teacher effectiveness only rarely plays a role in decision-making when it comes to hiring and promoting teachers. Ineffective teachers are almost never fired.

In the enormous Chicago school district, only 29 new teachers still under probation were let go in the four-year period that ended in 2007-08 — or 0.1 percent of new teachers. Among tenured teachers, firing was nearly nonexistent.

Less than 1 percent of teachers in the 12 districts received unsatisfactory ratings, even in schools filled with students unable to meet basic academic standards.

Happily, Denver Public Schools represented the single exception, though only by a small margin. DPS let go 130 new teachers, or 3.1 percent of those on probation in the three-year period that ended in 2007-08.

The findings come as a new law arrives in Colorado that allows districts to track teachers by their students’ performance. Using that data to hold poor teachers accountable has attracted criticism by those who say the tracking data, by itself, won’t give a complete picture of teacher ability.

No doubt that’s true, but the data would contain thought-provoking information, and could be a strong starting point in reforming the “widget effect” to allow for a more rational approach in rewarding teacher effectiveness.

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