The class had two teachers. Neither wanted to be there. They took turns standing in front of the students, but they rarely imparted knowledge. Rather, the latest celebrity news dusted the stale air of boredom that clung to the children required to fill the uncomfortable seats.
Of the survivors, one young man went on to succeed in life. He found a way to apply the scraps of pertinent information to his endeavors. In fact, he could often be heard talking about the topics that should have been covered by his teachers all those years ago. He succeeded richly despite a couple poor professors.
I do not know the fate of the other students.
How do children succeed in spite of bad teachers?
This is an important question in today's political landscape. Teachers Unions are terrified, it appears, that schools will adopt a "merit-based" approach to pay. Teachers rightly note that test scores are an inappropriate measure of performance, though I expect they are thinking about their own abilities and not those of their students. I've also read arguments that a child's home environment should not negatively impact a teacher's remuneration. Students tend not to do well when they don't have a stable, supportive home.
My mother-in-law, a school nurse, often brings up parental involvement when we discuss school performance. When parents are committed to helping their children learn, those students tend to do well. If a student's parents are not around, the student is less likely succeed.
No matter whose perspective you take, one thing continues to resurface: A student's success is far more connected to the parent than the teacher. And that is how students can succeed in life even if their teachers and less-than-stellar. You, the parent, have the incredible opportunity to help your children succeed in life, whether you homeschool or not.
I have a new response for those individuals who are concerned about parent qualifications for teaching in the home: What is the biggest indicator of a student's success?
Teachers? Then why not support merit-based pay?
Parents? Then why are you concerned about parents dedicated enough to take on the responsibility of educating their children?
Are you interested in helping your children succeed by homeschooling? Check out the curriculum you are guaranteed to love!
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester
P.S. You've likely seen a movie or two about a teacher who revolutionizes his or her students' lives. I find such films very inspirational. A theme I see, however, is not that these teachers are so good at teaching, but that--in many ways--these individuals become parents that their kids never had.