Giving Compass' Take:

• Six teachers and education professionals, discuss with the staff at Smithsonian on what it means to be a great teacher and how to become one. This involves pushing student teachers harder, sticking with them once they’re in the classroom, and integrating them into their schools’ communities.

• What can teachers learn from one another? How can donor support more teacher-training professional development models in schools?

• Learn about a helpful teaching tool for teacher training. 

Teaching elementary or high school is not an easy job. But teaching teachers is tricky, too. Teacher preparation programs have to strike a delicate balance between theory and practice. And student teachers have to meet quantifiable measures of success (i.e. test scores) while inspiring far less tangible values like creativity and curiosity.

In the U.S. today, this complicated approach to training seems to be misfiring, and has earned many critics—including the people coming out of teacher preparation programs themselves. Almost two-thirds of new teachers report that their training left them underprepared. Partly in response to this statistic, President Obama has tasked the Department of Education to develop rules to evaluate U.S. teacher training programs. But what should they be evaluated on, and what does it look like when they do their jobs right? What can be done to better prepare teachers for the classroom?

Read the full article about keys to making a great teacher by Zócalo Public Square at Smithsonian