It is a known fact that in a workforce you have your top 10% your so-called high performers or superstars, you have your bottom 10% your under performers or not making the cut. However, we often do not talk about the most important category of workers and that is the middle 80%. The 80% are the people who most likely will be there 20 years from now, they are the ones who consistently get the job done, who are there day in and day out. While they might not stand out, they are the category we should be nurturing because they are what make your organization run.
Most teachers fall into this category of the 80%, think about it, it is true. Have you ever watched those teachers of the year award shows? Have you ever seen what these award-winning teachers have to do to get to that level? Have you seen the sacrifices they made and the extra time and money they put in? What truly makes this group superstars is their ability not to burnout so quickly! Do you remember Jaime Escalante of “Stand and Deliver” fame (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaime_Escalante)? As good as he was, he had a serious heart attack and suffered serious illness while teaching, and eventually died due to cancer complications and in extreme financial difficulty. Tell me, is this what we expect from our superstar teachers?
Teachers are human, not superhuman despite the popular myth. Teachers have families, financial woes, worries, and problems just like everyone else. Why then are they being held to such a high superhuman standard and police officers are not? Why are we only trying to recruit superstar teachers and not acknowledging the many good teachers doing the job? Superstars eventually fly away, but part of what makes 80% good is that they stay.
During this Christmas season, please remember the good teachers who struggle to get the job done; and who while they might not stand out, they are having a major impact on our lives. Superstar teachers are not the panacea for education, the middle category is.
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III