In search of a proficient teacher | Inquirer Opinion

In search of a proficient teacher

/ 05:07 AM February 23, 2024

Last week marked a momentous occasion for my fourth-year education students as they participated in their pinning ceremony, symbolizing the fulfillment of educational requirements and their commitment to internships in elementary and secondary schools. The event held sentimental significance as I observed the growth of my students. The guest speaker, my former student who excelled in recent board exams, inspired us, the faculty, to redouble our efforts in honing our teaching skills and fostering the development of competent teachers.

This has prompted an essential query: What attributes define a proficient teacher?

Evaluation of instructors. A pivotal metric for gauging the efficacy of a teacher within the classroom is student evaluation. This evaluation carries substantial weight and influences promotions, contract renewals, merit assessments, and even recruitment. The correlation between higher student evaluation and effective classroom instruction is evident. However, as an educator, I have reservations about the reliability of this evaluation method.

Gideon Lasco, in his column article, “Rethinking grade inflation,” (2/16/24), posits that teachers often succumb to the pressure of awarding higher grades to garner favorable evaluations, thus fostering poor teaching practices and grade inflation. Lasco’s discourse raises concerns about the impact of this evaluation style on academic integrity. Justin Esarey and Natalie Valdes (2020), in their study titled “Unbiased, reliable, and valid student evaluations can still be unfair,” assert that teachers with high evaluations may not necessarily be effective instructors, while those with the lowest evaluations might outperform their peers. This academic hostage situation results in grade inflation and cultivates grade-conscious behavior, deterring students from embracing academic challenges in favor of pursuing Latin honors without genuine engagement in authentic learning (Kreitzer and Sweet-Cushman, 2021).


Student preferences. My undergraduate thesis explored the preferences of kindergarten students regarding their teachers. The findings revealed a predilection for physical appearance, pleasing personality, and amiable disposition. In tertiary education, students often favor leniency, infrequent classes, and easy assessments. Establishing a positive rapport, including accommodating requests for exemptions and class cancellations, becomes paramount. This symbiotic relationship, where teachers cater to students’ preferences, yields favorable evaluations, perpetuating a cycle of mutual benefits.

The “Awa” phenomenon. This cycle persists as our educational system grapples with learning poverty. The policy of grade retention in board courses leads to a “pasang awa” mentality, or accepting mediocrity as part of the belief in second chances. This mentality stems from the concept of “naawa,” where teachers with a soft heart may be lenient, in the process teaching students that seeking sympathy can reverse unfavorable outcomes. Consequently, teachers with high standards are sometimes vilified, contributing to the perception that strictness and high grading standards equate to being a “walang awang guro,” or a teacher lacking compassion.

The prevalence of grade inflation is a consequence of empowering students to shape the characteristics of their ideal teacher. The undue emphasis on metrics often results in a proliferation of Latin honors, diminishing their gravitas. Thus, the concept of a good teacher becomes contingent on students’ preferences, rather than societal expectations. The pursuit of educational excellence necessitates a departure from metrics-driven approaches that prioritize student preferences over academic rigor. Instead, true educators should instill values beyond numerical grades, fostering a culture of discipline and intellectual growth.

As we navigate the complexities of modern education, it is imperative that we prioritize the cultivation of critical thinking skills and a genuine thirst for knowledge. Only then can we transcend the limitations imposed by grade-centric paradigms, and truly empower students to become lifelong learners.



Sensei M. Adorador is with the faculty of the College of Education at the Carlos Hilado Memorial State University in Negros Occidental. He is a member of the Congress of Teachers and Educators for Nationalism and Democracy.

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TAGS: opinion, Teacher

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