Accountable and Responsible: Both Require Being Able

We all want our teachers to be effective educators. We all want our teachers to be accountable and responsible. How do we make this dream a reality? Obviously, we need to understand first clearly what this dream is all about. It starts with what characterizes an effective teacher. ASCD provides the following list. This is partly based on Linda Darling-Hammond's work.
  • Have formal teacher preparation training.
  • Hold certification of some kind (standard, alternative, or provisional) and are certified within their fields.
  • Have taught for at least three years.
  • Are caring, fair, and respectful.
  • Hold high expectations for themselves and their students.
  • Dedicate extra time to instructional preparation and reflection.
  • Maximize instructional time via effective classroom management and organization.
  • Enhance instruction by varying instructional strategies, activities, and assignments.
  • Present content to students in a meaningful way that fosters understanding.
  • Monitor students' learning by utilizing pre- and postassessments, providing timely and informative feedback, and reteaching material to students who did not achieve mastery.
  • Demonstrate effectiveness with the full range of student abilities in their classrooms, regardless of the academic diversity of the students.
Clearly, the characteristics of an effective teachers are abilities. Thus, the next important question to ask is whether we have been providing our teachers and future teachers with what they need:

  • A living wage so that they can devote fully their time and attention on teaching
  • A training that enables them to master both content and strategies in teaching as well as professional development to keep them equipped to face new challenges and directions in education
  • A classroom that is manageable for teaching and conducive to learning
  • A complete set of learning resources to enhance instruction

If our answer is a "no" to any one of these, then we are not enabling our teachers. Teachers simply cannot be accountable nor responsible if they are not able. Having teachers who are accountable and responsible would then simply remain a dream....

Above figure copied from The Life of an Educator




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