Good news… Teachers are not dumb or slow to understand. Those entering the profession are not the ones occupying the lowest quartiles of Achievement Tests. This sounds good news for education. We hear it too often in social talk: “Those who can do, those who can’t, teach” (Quote attributed to George Bernard Shaw in 1903). But there is another viewpoint. Tertullian, a 3th century Christian rhetoric teacher living in Carthage addressed St Augustine (1), saying he envied him for his ideas, thinking, and wisdom. And Augustine answered him, saying: But you know how to put it in the minds of students. Being a teacher has its own characteristics and it is important that those entering the profession are selected on what matters to teaching.
The positive news comes from a large study conducted in Germany. It was found that teacher candidates were not any different with respect to ability or achievement from other students but they did differ in their interest in education and schooling.
Attracting talent to the profession is primarily ruled by motives, not money (2). Prospective teaching professionals apparently select a career based on its value, and how it is being valued (by society), not just the revenues. It seems safe to say that when we value teachers and teaching for being of high quality we will be able to attract and retain young professionals who want to address the minds of pupils.
Who becomes a teacher? Challenging the “negative selection” hypothesis* By Janina Roloff Henoch, Uta Klusmann, Oliver Lüdtke, & Ulrich Trautwein
Learning and Instruction 36 (2015) 46-56; © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.