The story of two teachers

After reading the original post, which teacher would you let go?

  • Mrs. A
  • Mrs. B

0 voters

This is the tale of two hypothetical teachers built up from two teachers I worked with way back in the day, mixed in with some other characteristics. We’ll call the first hypothetical teacher “Mrs. A”. We’ll call the second one “Mrs. B”.

Mrs. A moved straight to Taiwan with her husband after finishing her undergraduate degree. She doesn’t have teaching cerfication but she got a TEFL certificate from her university before graduating. She had no idea how to teach young children as her TEFL is for teaching adults, but her principal served as a mentor to teach her a little bit about setting up a classroom for young children. She tries her best to set her classroom up around her children’s interests, although sometimes those plans don’t work out or things are started, but abandoned because the children’s interest has moved in another direction. Her 4-year-old kids often sing or talk while walking down the hallway, sometimes a litle too noisily as they pass other classrooms. The children are generally happy and the few who are still having behavior or emotional issues can be soothed by her because she works to build a rapport and consistent discipline with them. Her kids are into everything, rarely choosing only one area to play in. In her buxiban class, she shines as this is closer to her training. She uses teaches her lessons by starting out with a fun language puzzle related to the topic or something that was covered in grammar before launching into the lesson. She covers most of the materials, but is completing about 50% of the workbooks. She sometimes stays at school decorating her classroom or typing up the next day’s materials.
She is not a teacher by training and lacks the discipline to be able to plan a classroom as effectively as a teacher by profession might be able to. She also lacks the discipline to show up on time, sometimes coming in 20 minutes late and sometimes fails turn in lesson plans in a timely manner. When this happens, she writes up what she did and what pages they covered after the class is over, titling the skills covered as “Grammar - Irregular Plural Nouns” and then turns in her lesson, although she is trying to show some improvement in this. Her kids have mixed feelings about her class where they like a lot of the things she does, but some think she’s a bit strict because she expects them to do a lot in class. Mrs. A has read numerous articles and books about child development and education and attended some workshops on early childhood education. She adds or takes away things in her classroom each year as she experiments with classroom management and planning strategies that she gets from her reading and workshops to see what works and what doesn’t with her students.

Mrs. B moved to Taiwan with her fiance (who would later become her husband in Taiwan) after she finished teacher’s college. She has teaching certification back home for middle childhood education (grades 4-9). Her classroom of young children is well-disciplined. Despite being only 4 years old, they move down a hallway without making a sound. She sets out exactly what they are allowed to use each day and her lessons are well-planned, partially because she’s using the exact same materials and lessons as she had the previous year because her kids liked it last year. Her kids have no behavior issues and tend play in the same centers because they’re not really interested in the things put out in the other ones. The one most chosen is where they simply draw pictures. This is the most open-ended activity in the classroom, although they are limited to what materials they can use. They even have a contest among themselves to see who can color the most pictures. She finds in-house workshops a waste of time because she doesn’t think what is covered is applicable to her. She is often a few minutes late to teacher meetings because she feels that her time is better spent getting her class ready than struggling to get it done right before the kids arrive (after the meeting finishes). She goes home promptly after her duties are finished and encourages other teachers to do the same because after a long working day, they deserve a break. She turns in her lesson plans regularly. They are pretty general, only listing what songs she sings with her kindy class and what language aspect they will cover each day (reading, writing, grammar, spelling, etc.) and what she needs to do to prepare. She starts off her buxiban class by having one student a day copy a word or phrase straight out of a reference book onto the board and having the other students try to figure out the meaning (without context). Her buxiban students do a lot of hands-on activities like make up recipes and try them, make up song lyrics to their favorite songs, and do some research writing from time to time. They have completed 0 pages in their workbooks, but they really enjoy going to school. She has not been late more than once or twice for the entire year. Mrs. B will sometimes look at teaching articles, but likes to keep teaching the way she always has because it works for her and her teaching style.

You learn that for the next school year, your school will have one less kindy and buxiban class so you will need one less teacher to teach it.

Which teacher would you let go?

You can ask me questions about these two people and I will answer as best I can from what I knew about them.

Nice one ImaniOU.

Do we have enough evidence of the students’ progress and achievements year to year? Or is this just a one year snapshot we’re looking at?

Another thing is what are the parent’s feelings about each teacher?

I would fire Mrs. A. But what’s with those workbooks? Shouldn’t they be completed? Won’t the parents complain if they’re not?

It can be a one-year snapshot because the students have been through other teachers before and since and it makes it more simple to stick to just this one year. I’m not even sure if I could give details knowingly.

The parents like both Mrs. A and Mrs. B, but whereas Mrs. A brags about her students’ achievements with the parents (for instance things like “Johnny has written a fantastic story about his dog”), Teacher B brags to them about her own achievements (“Johnny really liked the books that I chose for him to write a report on”).

Mrs. A encouraged parent communication and even volunteered to start a communication book with one parent so they could keep track of his progress socially. Mrs. B, for obvious reasons (i.e. blank workbooks), didn’t like for parents to come in and kept them at a distance by feeding them with praise about their students without actually telling them how they were really doing (because she wasn’t getting much meaningful work to assess such, I suspect). Her conversations with parents would often turn into their personal lives, like asking how their older brother was doing in school or how adorable their little sister was in coming to greet her older sibling.

I worked with one of Mrs. B’s students recently, and her mother is very anal about how many pages get done in her workbook. It took a lot to convince her how learning was more than just filling in workbook pages, but then again, I was still doing a substantial amount of pages considering how much material I needed to cover in a single 90-minute class period. I don’t think her mother ever saw the empty book she had when she was in Mrs. B’s class, nor knew about it. Ergo, why she was among Mrs. B’s admirers. Her daughter always had glowing report cards, even though her spelling and grammar skills were below average, and every sentence ended with an exclamation point or, just as often, a comma.

My assessment, a little bit of a spoiler, is that where Mrs. A was honest and willing to learn, Mrs. B was charismatic (not dissimilar from a snake charmer) and rigidly set in her ways. I almost fell for Mrs. B’s ways until I had a chance to witness what her class in action (if it could be called that). That was enough to change my mind.

Fire 'em both and hire good teachers?

There is one thing to think about and only one thing:


Where as both teachers have faults and advantages. They both play a very important part in the owner making money. Anything else is mental masturbation. When your job has career development and supervisors interested in fixing your faults and teaching others how to use your abilities to promote English learning amongst your students, I will take this seriously. Till then just slip on the MP3 player and listen to “Money” by Pink Floyd.

So make the customer happy, tell them what they want to hear, don’t tell them what they don’t want to hear and make a living. Most parents can honestly not be bothered with anything else, it cuts into their TV time.


One reason for having a longer time frame to judge is because flaws can be exposed that a single snapshot cannot. My gut was to fire B but I knew in the TW setting, fire A would be typical Taiwanese. The reason I liked teacher A was the behavior of her kids, the fact they were unruly, into everything - curious, seemingly independent-minded, her willingness to learn about her profession, improve her skills, do extra work to make the teaching environment better and the ultimate fact that her students didn’t like her for making them work, being strict.

Yeah as for the “MONEY” issue, the question of how parents feel about each teachers goes to it. If they really liked Teacher B and wanted to re-enroll, then yeah, Teacher B it is. If they also liked Teacher A, and it was a wash between the two, then use another criteria to eliminate one. If they didn’t like Teacher A and wanted their kids to be in Teacher B’s class, then Teacher A is a goner. Business is business as Teacher A’s work product is not appreciated by the buyers and so the customer is always right, right?

Keep A without a doubt. The reason I say this is because she approaches her teaching with a ‘what’s in it for the students’ way of thinking.

B sounds foul. A lazy water-treader

The difference is, A will continue to develop her classroom management skills with support from you(although ththe time-keeping is a worry) whereas it sounds like B sees herself as slightly above working at your school and doesn’t see developing her skills and sharing ideas with the other teachers as something that applies to her.

One thing that I do agree with B about is leaving when her hours are finished. This shows organisation and a good attitude about life-work balance which shows an ability to deal with stress and burnout effectively. A manager should have a commitment to making sure her staff are encouraged not to spend all their time in school but to pursue other interests. While I’m not advocating hiring a bunch of clockwatchers, I really do kick against the idea that teachers should work excessively long hours, uncompensated for the ‘love of the job’, ‘for the kids’ or whatever.

Good grief. You make Mrs. B sound like a hag in your second post. Then I’ll have to go with fire both and get a good teacher also. Or get Mrs. A to fix the problems with lateness and incomplete workbooks first. If the teachers are not getting through the material then it might be too much to handle for that class. There’s nothing as bad as having to waste precious teaching time struggling to let the students complete too-advanced tasks that they can get no benefit from, being too advanced and all that. Somebody please fire me. It’s past midnight on a Friday night, and I’m sitting here thinking about teaching and how to teach students the difference between Present Perfect Simple and Present Perfect Progressive.
Poor students. I guess we just all suck in our own unique way. :wall:

As a buxiban owner, I’d can Mrs. A. I need a teacher who can stick to the syllabus. All the teacher has to do is teach it. Any professional development and experiments in teaching methodologies are being done at my financial risk. No thank you. :hand:

[quote=“Maoman”]As a buxiban owner, I’d can Mrs. A. I need a teacher who can stick to the syllabus. All the teacher has to do is teach it. Any professional development and experiments in teaching methodologies are being done at my financial risk. No thank you. :hand:[/quote]Yaawwwwwwwn. And that’s why I hate teaching in Taiwan.

You get what you pay for.

You’re also not going to get anything out of a lick and a promise. Especially nowadays. Companies only use the promise of a bright future and success to make their employees work harder for a short term. Then they hire someone else after they fire you or you quit.

“You’ll make more money later if you…” Ha. Whatever. Show me the money el cheapo.

I would keep Mrs. A. She would work for less money.

I would first kick myself in the ass for letting Mrs. A slack off. Then I would get up away from this computer and get in there and train her to be a better teacher than Mrs. B.

Win-win all the way.

Bye Bye Mrs. B. I like teachers to follow a syllabus as well but I also encourage creativity and trying something new and different. If it doesn’t work, no big deal. I don’t think we’re talking about allowing a teacher the freedom to set up your curriculum, that would be silly. The lateness is something I would have difficulty with, but if the teacher is producing, I can bend a little, but only “a little”.

Ms. B might sound foul, but I don’t think so. She’s got the skill. It’s not easy to achieve enthusiasm and discipline at the same time. It sounds like she has created the ultimate learning environment, a learning culture. What she is not is a team player, but when the game is designed to teach novices then she probably need not participate so wholesomely in it. Besides which she is not a headache for admin. She’s not bringing the place down she’s management free. It’s a no brainer. I’d be firing the head teacher if she/he can’t get Ms. A to achieve what Ms. B is capable of after a year.

After going back and reading a little, she does have some management issues with the workbooks. I’d sort that out with her. It is a small thing for her, but important for the school. It’s still the head teacher’s job on the block though. I’m sure a teacher of her skill ought have little trouble intergrating the curriculum into her class. How bad can it be? :slight_smile: She’s got the right approach bragging about her own achievements in getting the students to do things rather than bragging about the kids achievements. She should open her own school.

I think that whoever is running that gong show should be fired. It isn’t the teachers’ fault as much as it is the person who is supposed to be overseeing the quality of instruction.

This is probably why there are less classes this semester. :s

I prefer teacher A. Thinking about firing her because she departs from the syllabus would depend entirely on the structure of the school. If the school has a rigid methodology, that should be enforced from day 1 and departure from it is bad. If the school encourages teachers to innovate that would be a bonus and would put her ahead of B.

Teacher B sounds competent, but perhaps only competent. And even that could be deceiving. You need some sort of assessment independent of the teachers to tell how well they are both doing. Which kids are more confident? Which do better when they aren’t prepped for a specific test?

But in terms of administration, I’d give Teacher A a warning about being late, let her know it can cost her the job. If she continues to be unreliable (20 minutes is pretty bad unless there are special circumstances) she makes the decision for you. If she shapes up you have to make the call.

Then I doubt any well trained teacher would want to “teach” at your school. It seems that the kind of “teacher” you want is someone who’s not much different from the fry guy at McDonalds.

Then I doubt any well trained teacher would want to “teach” at your school. It seems that the kind of “teacher” you want is someone who’s not much different from the fry guy at McDonalds.[/quote]

I have visited Maoman’s school and seen what he is doing. I’d work for the man.