Tough teachers and tall orders

Tough teachers and tall orders

Joanne Lipman has published some fresh thoughts on an old problem in the Wall Street Journal. The title of her Saturday essay nicely sums up her position: “Why Tough Teachers Get Good Results.”

Now, this may seem like a no-brainer to some. After all, the American ethos praises hard work, perseverance, and redemptive suffering. But Lipman argues that the prevailing attitude in schools these days is just the opposite. With lawsuits breathing down every teacher’s (and administrator’s) neck, most of the adults who interact with kids on a daily basis tend to treat them like pampered pets: coddle the cute, praise the good, ignore the bad–repeat if necessary.

Lipman gives eight insights into successful “tough” teaching, backing up each of the “old-fashioned” lessons with current statistics and studies. Some insights all teachers could implement. But being a good teacher is more than being simply tough–it’s knowing when to be tough and when to allow compassionate and supportive encouragement to provide its own sort of motivation.

That’s what makes for an effective teacher–and an even more effective tutor.

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