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Shannanigan's Search for More...

Educating Teachers

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Ok, let me get one thing out before I jump into this: I am all for the continued education of teachers. I like that school districts are now required to only hire certified (o certifiable) teachers and that certification requires a certain amount of education courses and credits in the subject area being taught. I want our teachers to be educated individuals who we can trust with educating our children.

What I must say, though, is that I think there must be an alternative to using the university setting for the completion of these courses (curls up into defensive stance to avoid blows).

Hear me out. In an ideal world, a significant portion of our population would go to college straight out of high school, and a signigicant portion of people would obtain degrees, and out of that portion, some would decide to take their knowledge and passion for their subject matter into classrooms to keep the ball rolling.

But, ladies and gentlemen, we are not living in an ideal world. And guess what? That's really not that bad.

Confused? Why? I like having classmates who are coming "back to school" even though they have families and homes already. I like having classmates who have simply stayed in school. Non-traditional students bring something different to the classroom. So, no, I'm not here to say that everyone HAS to go to college right out of high school...I was just stating a point that this is what would be ideal if we want to hold teachers to the standards that we are holding them to today.

Unfortunately, we have a less than ideal case. Formerly, being a "student" was my sole occupation. I grimaced at the current high school teachers in my courses who constantly needed extra attention, help, and extensions because of their lack of time and inability to complete assignments that I felt should have been things they'd mastered completing way before stepping into a classroom. I was appaulled that our children were being taught by such lazy people who were "obviously" disconnected with the current world of academia.

Then I became a student teacher.

God.

Suddenly, my ability to write a 15-page thesis with ease is worth nothing. Sure, writing those papers will help me know what problems to look for in my students' writing...but that is knowledge that I had to have had BEFORE stepping into the classroom. Asking a CURRENT teacher to go back and write a thesis is pointless....that will take too long, they're already teaching, they need something more IMMEDIATE than a 14-week course in writing.

Now I look at these teachers in my courses, and I totally understand why all they want is to get a passing grade. They don't want to be excellent students, they want to be excellent teachers, and these classes take up valuable time that could be spent planning and preparing for the next day class. SURE, it would have been nice to have taken History of the English Language BEFORE teaching Anglo-Saxon Literature, but if you're already in the classroom and have 2 weeks to cover your unit, and the university course is 14 weeks, you, my friend, are screwed.

Teachers who have not met certain criteria need something better. My local university offers summer crash courses in some subject, which is nice, but it doesn't offer all subjets. For the most part, teachers who are not certified are required to enroll in at least 1 class a semester which works towards certification in order to keep their jobs. I'm sorry, but that's just useless. The good teachers who love their jobs will let the college course take the backseat, because that's what teachers do: make their students the priority. Yes, the university course has nice information, but it's just going to take too long and provide only enough information for one little bit of the school year's curriculum.

Anyways, not mad, I have more to say, but this is long enough for now. Peace y'all.
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  1. motherhubbard's Avatar
    I'm ready to hear the rest of what you have to say!