Teachers Work Too Hard Already. They Shouldn’t Teach SAT Prep.
School teachers work tirelessly to help kids develop as both students and young members of society. Is it fair to ask them to prepare students for standardized tests like the SAT and ACT?
It’s no secret that teachers work hard. Besides spending the required school hours on the job, they are tasked with coming up with creative lesson plans and grading assignments outside of class. The National Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that teachers were significantly more likely than other professionals to spend time working at home.
Consider this breakdown of how teachers spend their average work day from a study conducted by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Beside the fact that teachers usually work more hours than other professionals, they are also not paid nearly enough. The average starting salary for teachers is $36,000, and mid-career teachers earn an average of $55,000.
Now enter the SAT and/or the ACT. Almost all colleges require prospective students to take one of these two standardized tests, and many states require students to take one of the tests to receive federal financial assistance. The tests are a very important factor in determining success and failure regarding the admission process.
So where do teachers and the school system fit into this puzzle?
Many high school administrators ask that their teachers help prepare students for the SAT by setting aside class time to “teach to the test,” or assign practice tests that mimic the multiple choice portion and structure of the SAT.
This is an infringement on teachers’ efforts to employ innovative teaching methods to engage their students and on the time they have set aside for relevant class content. Accommodating the SAT in class forces teachers to play catch up with the material they are trying to teach.
The truth is that teachers are not experts on the SAT. They are experts on Algebra and English and Physics and the subjects they actually spent time getting degrees for; the things they actually signed up to teach. As an SAT tutor, I have worked with countless students who have arrived to me with a set of fixed strategies they learned in school that
For students to be able to succeed on the SAT and in school, the two educational mediums should remain separate. Instead of burdening teachers with the responsibility of squeezing the SAT into the curriculum, schools should partner with SAT tutoring companies who can provide students with expert support on the SAT outside of school. There are many affordable options for online SAT Prep that could either be subsidized by the school or discounted by way of an institutional partnership.
We don’t need to make the jobs of teachers harder to help students take the next step in their education.
About the Author
Adam Shlomi is the founder of SoFlo SAT Tutoring. Adam went to Georgetown University, scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT, and has been tutoring for the last 5 years.