Reader rebuts assertion teachers are of mediocre intelligence, lazy

To the editor:

I must rebut the letter by Carl Lane asserting that people become teachers because they are of mediocre intelligence and lazy.

Mr. Lane quotes a letter by Paul Stanley that asks why top graduates at universities around the country choose not to become teachers.

How is it determined that these “top graduates” are the most intelligent people in all the university?

That could only be determined if every incoming student’s IQ and standardized test scores were tracked as each chose a major and proceeded through the various colleges: business, education, arts, sciences.

Then a comparison would be made among them when they graduated to determine, in fact, who were the “top graduates,” the most intelligent, of the entire university.

As far as I know, this has never been done. Therefore, I demand to know the basis for the assertion that the brightest do not go into teaching. There is no factual basis for the statement.

My own 30-year experience as an educator in the Mehlville School District contradicts the statement that unintelligent people become teachers. My colleagues were clearly intelligent.

Of course, critics would dismiss my assessment, assuming my lack of intelligence would make it impossible for me to recognize it in others; however, my standardized test scores ranked above 95 percent.

The second statement about teachers questioned their motivation to become and remain teachers, implying that we are lazy and fearful of meaningful evaluation.

The vast majority of the many teachers I’ve known are clearly motivated by a sincere love of children and a genuine desire to improve their students’ lives.

Teachers generally are not a competitive lot. The critics of education who insist on treating education as a competitive enterprise like business do not understand that teachers do not want any students to fail.

We want every student to succeed as far as possible for him/her to do. Effective practices are not jealously guarded but disseminated so as many students as possible can benefit.

The Mehlville and Lindbergh districts have both demonstrated remarkable performance in recent years.

Teaching is unique; we deal with human beings who have varying abilities and individual will.

Persuading a child to value education if he or she comes from a home that maintains school is a waste of time is daunting and may well be partly responsible for the supposed “50 percent of new teachers (who) leave the profession within five years.”

I don’t know what factual bases were used by Mr. Lane and Mr. Stanley for their demeaning statements about teachers.

My rebuttal is based on 30 years of personal and professional experience.

Diane Muehlenbeck

Oakville