In light of recent debates about the value of professional development, this article revisits the question of whether or not great teachers are made or born. If, as the recent study released by TNTP claims, professional development has no impact on teacher performance, we could draw the conclusion that good teachers are simply born good and no professional development program will make them better.That conclusion, however, contradicts ample evidence that teachers, like other professionals, can learn and improve their practice over time. As TNTP reports, school districts may well be wasting billions of
dollars on ineffective professional development, but the need for well designed, differentiated teacher support has never been greater.
The field of teacher preparation assumes that anyone with the will to learn can become a good, if not a great, teacher. You don’t have to be a great student yourself (a B average is sufficient); you don’t have to be an extrovert; you don’t need to love hildren; you don’t need to love your discipline. We open the door to all comers, suggesting that we can teach them what they need to know to become effective practitioners. We can make them into teachers. But can we?