Saturday, September 03, 2005

Crappy Teacher Colleges

As a teacher I'm obviously a little sensitive to negative stereotypes about teachers. And even when such stereotypes are backed by anecdote, I make it known that I am not covered by such stereotypes as these:

1. "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach." I've done. I've been an army officer and a manufacturing manager in the Silicon Valley. I've got a record of practical success.

And if you really have such disdain for the people you leave your children with for 6 or 7 hours a day, what does that say about you as a parent?

2. "The bottom third of a college class will have most of the class' teachers." I don't know if that's true or not, but I don't encounter many stupid teachers. There are plenty of socialists, unfortunately, but not many otherwise stupid people.

Oh, and I graduated in the top 3.5% of my class. And I'll put my academic record and courseload up against anyone's.

It's fashionable these days to denigrate teachers and blame them for today's apparent lack of student success. When people complain about NCLB, the one area where I agree that the law is flawed is when the law makes schools alone responsible for student success, without considering at all the student and the family. If failing doesn't hurt me, but does hurt my teachers and principal (hehehe), why should I as a failing student give a darn? It's definitely something to consider.

So I've defended teachers so far in this post. And then something like this comes along and I have no defense. I have no defense because it's so stupid. This linked article talks about a teachers' college that still denigrates direct instruction, that promotes the mantra that self-esteem can come from anything except academic achievement and hard work, and that students should guide their own learning. The two schools mentioned in this article are not alone, either. Learn what goes on in the teacher education courses at UC and CSU schools and be prepared to weep for the future.

These college train future teachers and future professors of education. When you have the young, you have the future--didn't some historical bad guy say something along those lines? If this is what new teachers are being taught, and it most certainly is, then they're being set up to fail the students that they're so bright-eyed-and-bushy-tailed to help.

And all to support someone's political views.


Wulf said...

The biggest PR problem I have is that people don't see the difference between teachers and pedagogists. I hear so much about social promotion, yet 14% of ninth graders are repeating the grade. This gap between our reality and the public's perception is something I trace directly to teacher's colleges and pop-psych pedagogy researchers.

Darren said...

I cannot disagree at all.

Walter E. Wallis said...

When teachers unionized they should have modeled their union along craft union guidelines. They chose industrial union patterns and compulsory membership instead.

5wahls said...

Darren, here's a link for a satire that relates to the quality of our education system and the educators:

Thought you might enjoy it.