How do we “fix” schools? Try hiring teachers who care

Caring teacher

In the sea of education reform proposals out there– charter schools, teacher evaluation, new curriculum– there is a very simple idea that not enough schools have tried, hiring teachers who care about kids. Caring have have a profound impact on the academic achievement of students, but it cannot be just aesthetic care. Aesthetic care is a superficial kind of caring in which teachers care about attendance of students or good grades. They must show a genuine, authentic form of care. When teachers get to know about students’ lives outside of the classroom, about their families and communities; when students know more about their teachers than the fact that they teach math, authentic care can emerge. You can read more about authentic care and the impact on students in my article on caring, which can be found here. These are our Children!

Caring and relationships are especially important in urban schools right now. A recent report showed that teachers of color are leaving urban schools at high rates. While teachers of color are not inherently more caring than their white counterparts, strong relationships can develop when there is a cultural match between students of color and their teachers. If teachers who are likely to care about students of color are exiting the school system, educators, policy makers, and district leaders need to take this problem very seriously.

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