Let Indians do it

Outsourcing Teaching to India is a great idea, writes James Miller, a Smith econ professor, on TCS.

Like most teachers, I find grading to be the least interesting aspect of my job. I would gladly teach extra classes if I could in return be freed from the drudgery of grading. My employer, Smith College, should hire a few score smart Indians to grade for their faculty and in return Smith should expect its professors to spend more time in the classroom.
 
High schools should similarly outsource their grading to Indians. Because U.S. teachers find grading so mind-numbingly boring, outsourcing grading would make teaching a far more attractive profession, thereby allowing high schools to recruit better teachers without necessarily having to increase salaries.

Indians already are working as offshore tutors. Miller suggests they could teach online high school and college classes to motivated students. Because wages are so much lower in India, class size could be quite low.

Et Tu Bloge likes the idea too.

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Comments

  1. Foobarista says:

    Maybe the outsourcing could start with the district office bureaucrats? I can’t imagine that Sandip in Bangalore could do any worse than the idiots running things nowadays – and he’d be lots cheaper…

  2. There is a downside to outsourcing teaching.  Will the replacement of natives by foreigners lead us to forget how to make good teachers, as we are forgetting how to make good engineers?

  3. Foobarista wrote:

    Maybe the outsourcing could start with the district office bureaucrats?

    Kind of jumping to a conclusion aren’t you?

    What’s the irreplaceable quantity that the district bureaucrats bring to this party? Why simply assume they’re necessary?

  4. Mr. Davis says:

    Will the replacement of natives by foreigners lead us to forget how to make good teachers, as we are forgetting how to make good engineers?

    I can’t judge engineering, but what leads Engineer-Poet to believe we know enough about making goood teachers to be able to forget anything? Miller doesn’t want to avoid teaching, he only wants to avoid student contact and accountability. And we know teachers want nothing to do with being held accountable themselves, so why should they see any reason to hold anyone else accountable, except for the taxpayers?

  5. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Why not just ship the kids over there, and not allow them back home until they can read, write and mathematicate to standard? All the space wasted here for schools could be converted to putting greens and rose gardens.

  6. Engineer-Poet says:

    what leads Engineer-Poet to believe we know enough about making goood teachers to be able to forget anything?

    Well, there’s this guy….

  7. Mr. Davis says:

    Sorry, EP. I find no evidence that he was made a good teacher. If there is any, why aren’t we turning out more like him?

  8. Engineer-Poet says:

    We’re not turning out more like him because… well, why don’t you read about it in his own words at his old blog.

  9. I dislike grading as well – it’s tedious and time-consuming, not to mention often depressing. However, grading my students’ tests allows me to be a much more effective teacher. When I see that there are some mistakes that my students are making rather frequently, I know that that’s something I need to spend more time going over in class.

    A few years ago, I had teaching assistants grade my students’ work, and consequently, I was a lot less connected to my students. Grading isn’t much fun, but it’s as important a part of the teaching process as any other.

  10. Reginleif says:

    One benefit of “outsourcing” grading of papers that no one’s mentioned yet: it might help keep the professor from distorting the actual grades earned because of “incorrect” politics or parental pressure.

  11. Reginleif, that would be nice, but I doubt it. I’ve been on the receiving end of parental pressure (yes, I teach legal adults), and it’s always been in response to a poor grade – often a poor grade given by the teaching assistant and not by me. If an outsourced grader ends up giving Junior a B, and Junior’s parent thinks that Junior deserves an A, the parent is going to go to the teacher, regardless of who graded the work.

  12. Mr. Davis wrote:

    Sorry, EP. I find no evidence that he was made a good teacher. If there is any, why aren’t we turning out more like him?

    Oh, we turn ’em out. Then they get a job in the system and that drives them out of the profession.

    See if you can answer this question:

    Who are Allan Cameron and Fredi Lajvardi and why doesn’t anyone know who they are?

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