Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Making It Easier To Become A Teacher

I don't think we should lower the bar on our standards for incoming teachers; I believe in subject matter competency testing. However, much of what goes on in "traditional" teacher education programs is complete and total crap and does nothing to prepare a teacher for the realities of the classroom. In fact, much of what is taught is counterproductive.

I support the idea of making it easier for degreed professionals to change careers and become teachers; such people can bring a world of outside-the-classroom knowledge with them that gives them a step on someone who goes straight from high school to college to teaching. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports on one such program.


Jackson said...

As someone currently going through a credential program, and who didn't get a classroom this year because I don't have a full credential (would've had internship, have already passed the tests and taught as teacher of record for a semester, the school wanted me back but district said no) I heartily agree with your assessment of the traditional teacher education program stuff.

Aside from a lot of the general stupidity/uselessness there's some obvious "reeducation" going on. One of the first classes I took had a textbook that said if you don't think ebonics is as legitimate as standard, grammatically correct English, you're racist. It said the reason Ebonics isn't accepted widely is because "white people are often uncomfortable with blacks asserting themselves."

I just want to teach, man.

Darren said...

Of course it's racist--because Ebonics is the only type of slang or non-standard English against which teachers rail. {sarcasm now /off}

Some people are just idiots, I guess.

Anonymous said...

"Some people are just idiots, I guess."

Unfortunately a disproportionate number of them are concentrated among the ranks of the edu-professors.

Chanman said...

I know this is off-topic, but I couldn't resist: Read a book called "Black Rednecks and White Liberals" by Dr. Thomas Sowell. In it, he shows that so-called Ebonics comes from a now extinct dialect that originated in northern England and a few counties in eastern Ireland. It was carried over to the American south by immigrants from those places.

The definition of irony: the dialect that shows black "authenticity" originated from one of the whitest areas on earth.

michael mazenko said...

Several years ago in the book "A Conspiracy of Ignorance," the author argued that undergraduate education programs should be eliminated, and that teachers should get a liberal arts degree. The teacher certification should then be a one-year internship under the guidance of a school district. Having been a critic of education classes for years, I would argue that this isn't a bad idea, and I have regularly counseled future teachers about the reality that teachers learn to teach during their first year, or few years, of teaching.

However, I would also argue that teachers do need a significant degree of training in terms of pedagogy, legal issues, child psychology, learning styles, and education issues. Few, if any, people from the business world simply walk into a classroom as master teachers. It's not a given that outside experience gives anyone a "step-up" on career teachers. Changes to the certification program wouldn't be a bad idea.

Mr. W said...

teacher prep programs are a joke. They have all these "perfect/utopia" classroom settings. Most of them are geared for elementary teachers and not high school.

Add on to the fact that in this day and age of state testing, it's harder to do the "fun" projects through out the year like they encourage, but for me it's an after testing thing.

Darren said...

My comment about a "step up" was when compared to new teachers. Of course, a person who's never held a non-teaching job will certainly be lacking in first-hand experience and knowledge of application, but that doesn't mean they'd be a poor teacher.