How to Make Great Teachers

American public schools are struggling to attract and retain high-quality teachers. Is it time we paid them for performance?

Mikey Tnasuttimonkol for TIME

Ben Van Dyk fled public school to teach at parochial Servite High. Pay isn't great, but there's more support and freedom to teach creatively

We never forget our best teachers—those who imbued us with a deeper understanding or an enduring passion, the ones we come back to visit years after graduating, the educators who opened doors and altered the course of our lives. I was lucky enough to encounter two such teachers my senior year in a public high school in Connecticut. Dr. Cappel told us from the outset that his goal was not to prepare us for the AP biology exam; it was to teach us how to think like scientists, which he proceeded to do with a quiet passion, mainly in...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!