Do We Really Still Need Teachers?

IMG_0043Much has been written about how technology is changing the face of education and will continue to do so at an increasingly rapid rate.  There are those who believe that online learning and advanced educational software will push the current system to the tipping point; if so, will education continue to require well-trained teachers (who deserve decent wages)?

Some would argue that the teacher will morph into a guide or an assistant who keeps students on track as more personal and engaging learning takes place in front of the screen. This approach will require fewer teachers who require less expertise.  More children can occupy the same space, cutting personnel costs.

Do you remember when experts thought televisions would radicalize education, or that the computer would replace the teacher? This is not new.

Even if online learning and advanced software change the face of education for the better, I am certain, that no matter the advances or changes, well-qualified, fairly compensated professional teachers will always be at the center of excellent schools.

Technology is a means to an end, not the end itself. It is one of many tools that has the power to engage, influence and inspire learning in our children.  No matter the tool or technique, behind it all will always be the teacher.

I am a strong proponent for age-appropriate technology as a powerful tool for excellence in education. And I am an even bigger proponent for superb teachers.

Nothing can or will replace the inspiring teacher.  People of all ages crave meaningful and nurturing relationships.  There is nothing that can replace the gentle encouragement of a teacher.  The warm smile, the caring word, the sympathetic ear, and the clear expectations provide the priceless ingredients in forming relationships that extend well beyond content and skills to the area of social and emotional development. Social skills, values and citizenship are taught by people who model and act in ways that guide our children. The teacher is a mentor, coach, parental figure, therapist, actor, friend, and role model, often all at the same time.

No matter how far technology advances and no matter how intuitive and engaging software becomes in the learning process, it will never have the heart and soul that are required to teach the whole child.

We at Hillel Day School are committed to fostering excellence in our teachers.  Our teachers attend professional conferences, take classes, collaborate together and participate in many other professional growth opportunities. On any given day you will find our teachers engaged in deep conversations about teaching and learning.  They are reflective practitioners always striving for excellence in order to provide an outstanding educational experience for our children.  The learning environment at Hillel, the collaboration and creativity extended to teachers have made Hillel an attractive choice for some of the best educators in the area. We have more requests to teach here than openings, and many of the best public school teachers are willing to take a cut in salary to be a part of Hillel’s journey.

In return, our teachers have some of the most competitive and attractive independent school compensation packages in the area.  While many public and private school teachers have experienced pay freezes and rollbacks, our teachers have not.  The demands of a Hillel teacher are high, and in return, we truly strive to honor, respect and fairly compensate our teachers. As we enter the final weeks of school, a note of thanks from parents and students would be meaningful, as our teachers truly care about and go above and beyond for your children.


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