Are you using anything you learned in college?

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by MsBee, Nov 26, 2008.

  1. MsBee

    MsBee Devotee

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    I am so sick of teachers telling me forget everything you learn in college and during your student teaching because you don't use any of it. Throw all the theorists, education jargon, textbook strategies, and no yelling at the kids out the window.

    Is this really true? Sometimes my classmates and I feel like its a waste to even learn and retain anything in classes because we are not going to use it anyway.

    Very discouraging.
     
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  3. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I use some of it. I may not use the specifics but I use the overall knowledge. I do feel the same way sometimes MOSTLY because some of it is so redundant. I want to get my hands dirty and learn more methods and strategies.
     
  4. TeacherC

    TeacherC Connoisseur

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    I think I use more of things I learned during student teaching than actually sitting in a classroom in college.
    Speaking only for myself, when I say that you can't use anything you learn in college, I mean that there is no way that college can prepare you for the situations you face in a real classroom with real children. There is no way that a text book or even another teacher can prepare you for the day-to-day stress and circumstances that you will undoubtedly face.
    And in my everyday life, I do not use educational jargon or theorists...I'm sure that I use some of the strategies I was taught, but teaching really is a hands-on job.
     
  5. MsBee

    MsBee Devotee

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    My professors always talk about keeping all of our school books so we can use them in the classroom. I have never heard of a teacher actually using their books. I ALWAYS sell mine back.
     
  6. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    There are 2 books I've already used as an aide. One was given during a hands on outdoor style biology class. It was called, "Project Learning Wild K-12." It was an actual lesson plan book. The other one was my science/social studies methods book. I also used my math methods materials/lesson plans we learned from the teacher. The rest...can be given back.
     
  7. TeacherC

    TeacherC Connoisseur

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    I kept my Harry Wong books and my Fountas and Pinell books that I had to buy for school, and I do still use those. Everything else can go back.
     
  8. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    I think when they say to forget it all, they just mean don't be so concerned about all the fine print. I don't remember every detail and term I learned, but I do see how my education provided the foundation for a lot of my teaching practices. I also do refer back to my old notes or books occasionally, particularly from those classes where the teacher used a lot of practical examples of strategies or lessons. I sold back a lot of my books but kept some of the ones that seem more practical. I haven't done much teaching yet (1 year part-time plus one semester student teaching) so I don't know how much I will end up using them in the long run.
     
  9. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Honestly, I don't use a lot of the actual materials or lessons from college. It's just hard because in college you're given specific guidelines for projects and lessons, and then when you find a job the district obviously isn't going to have benchmarks that match your college lessons perfectly. I think I've used maybe 1 of the textbooks that I kept.

    Looking back at college, the most important thing I learned is how to be a good teacher. How to recognize the needs of your students, how to differentiate, and how to create a lesson that is a valuable learning experience for your students.
     
  10. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    I use the content I learned in the area of history , math, and English alot more than any of my education classes.
     
  11. PinkFish

    PinkFish Rookie

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    I use a lot of things I learned during student teaching! I had two great cooperating teachers and I learned a lot about classroom management and grouping students. I also saved a few of my books from college. I use my Harry Wong book ALL the time!
     
  12. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    I hoarded all my books, thinking they'd be great resources down the road. Truth be told, I haven't used them once!
     
  13. GatorGal

    GatorGal Cohort

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    I was going to say the EXACT same thing (for English, anyway). Of course, I only minored in Secondary Ed.
     
  14. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    It depends on what grade you end up teaching and the classes that you take. My reading and LA classes are very useful. One of my reading classes was on Marie Clay's observation survey and how to take/interpret running records. It was VERY useful, we use different parts of it throughout the year. It also depends on what grades you do observations/student teaching in. I recommend getting experience in a variety of grades so that it is useful.

    I am one of few who do think that the long form lesson cycle is useful. It teaches you to become aware of the different parts of the lesson cycle and eventually internalize them. If you didn't spend the time to type it all out, you would try to "wing it" before you were really prepared to handle that.

    Lastly, I think it is best to have education professors who have taught the grades they are teaching about and can tel you what is useful. It is up to your college to choose good professors and structure classes to be most useful. If they don't, then you should make them aware of that (politely) after you graduate and can judge for yourself.
     
  15. d_anne5

    d_anne5 Rookie

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    I agree 100%. I learned soooo much more from student teaching as well. I don't believe any college class can truly prepare you for your own classroom. Sure, you learn theory, but when theory isn't put to practice, you don't get the full effect. I think there should be more hands-on activities/classes in college to help better prepare education majors. It would certainly give those a better idea as to what they need to expect.

    As for textbooks/resources, I hoarded mine, too, and have yet to crack one book. I like my Harry Wong book, but it's collecting dust at my mom's house right now. A lot of teaching is instinct, in my opinion, and you just kind of go w/ the flow and figure things out as you gain knowledge through experiences.
     
  16. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    College was a long time ago.

    But in student teaching, I learned that I CAN get up and teach a class full of kids. More important, I learned that I can flounder a bit in front of a class, then recover and survive to teach another day.
     
  17. iheart5thgrade

    iheart5thgrade Comrade

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    I had a great professor in my "teaching math" class and I have used SO many of the projects, books, and ideas from that class. All my education classes were good. I'm kinda shocked that so many people are saying they didn't use much from their education classes. Mine were great and I really feel that my college truly prepared me to be a teacher.
     
  18. MsBee

    MsBee Devotee

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    You all keep talking about the Harry Wong book...is this the First Days of School book?
     
  19. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    I feel like my college prepared me well, too, but not with providing good lessons. I feel like it prepared me more to recognize and create quality lessons, differentiate, etc.
     
  20. frogger

    frogger Devotee

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    content yes and maybe just in general what to expect but not the specifics of lesson plans - what this district wants/expects or specifics on classroom management - all well good in the classroom where they say do this and that but not when you actually have your own classroom and deal with it in day to day.
     
  21. UCLACareerChngr

    UCLACareerChngr Comrade

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    I "keep" the many lessons I learned from my master teachers, other teachers in that department, and a lot of the lessons we got from one of our teachers who was a former principal. He gave a lot of great advice about classroom mgmt, your attitude about discipline and how to convey that to the kids (probably adapted from the many great books out there). I still use these lessons today. Also, I am not a big fan of the formal pieces (5 page lesson plans with individual steps written out) and BTSA with all its requirements, but what I have found to be valuable is the teacher interaction and cooperation that is necessary in these programs. I can honestly say that I have learned many new things (and also shared ideas) with my BTSA support provider and master teachers over the past 3 years. So, although I haven't kept or used much/any of the formal work I did in school, I still draw heavily on those lessons, but you cannot rely solely on that, you'll have to develop new ideas, approaches, coping strategies, etc.
     
  22. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I don't use many of my books from my classes. I do like one I have on 'Positive Discipline' by Linda Albert- I've let colleagues borrow it and I've used it in papers for PD grad classes. Also a math book by Constance Kamii...the other texts, not at all....But as far as forgetting what I learned- NO WAY...My grad classes prepared me well for teaching-especially in terms of understanding kids and managing behaviors/classroom mgt... My student teaching placements did as well. If your program at your college is not serving you well, you need to find a different school. What you learn should be valuable, hands on, and current. You should 'know your stuff' when you go to student teach and onto job interviews...
     
  23. Crzy_ArtTeacher

    Crzy_ArtTeacher Comrade

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    As it has been said before Student Teaching was the one thing from college that TRULY prepared me for classroom management and discipline.

    However, I do believe my college background gave me two stable feet to stand upon in student teaching. I feel that my school prepped me as best they could without actually being a full-blown teacher.

    I too sold back some books that I thought I wouldn't need (i.e. Math, Geography, etc... Keep in mind I'm an Art teacher) I DID however keep all art related and most of my education related books.

    I do enjoy referencing some of the books time to time and I now have a different understanding of where the author is coming from when writing these books. I understand and I can apply a lot more of these methods now that I'm actually in a classroom. I recently had the opportunity to get the book The First Days of School by Harry Wong and I've been skimming through it and I do enjoy certain pieces of it.

    In all, I feel like my college and education background does help me to this day as a teacher. I can't imagine being in a classroom without it. At times it lacked integral information,... not ONE classroom management course..... but looking back I think that's something learned in person not through a book.

    Don't let people think that everything they teach you in college is useless because simply it's not true for everyone.

    EDITED: You will always come across some jaded teachers that say teaching is awful, those are often the people that just aren't happy anymore in this profession. My first mentor was that way, thing is don't let others get you down. In my opinion teaching is the best, most rewarding job in this world.
     
  24. MsBee

    MsBee Devotee

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    I feel like I am prepared to go into my student teaching. Its just everywhere you turn you have teachers telling you "don't go into this field" or "you will hate it, why didn't you go into something else", "why would you want to teach" and "college does not prepare you."

    Why do teachers say this. Is it really that bad...and if it is then why are they still teaching. This is a decision I have made so why put my career choice down.....VENT!!!
     
  25. Lives4Math

    Lives4Math Comrade

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    I sold most of my books...The only ones that I have kept and use are my Math books because that teacher taught us how to TEACH the math to the students....not just how to do it!! I am learning A LOT in my Grad. classes that I would use in the classroom though.
     
  26. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Ditto here too.

    Also, I think that those teachers that are telling you that stay in the profession for the paycheck and because it is a reliable job.
     
  27. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    We were just discussing the other day about how college instructors spend a lot of time (at least mine did) teaching you how to not use the basals, they aren't useful, you will have to supplement, etc, etc, etc, and now, especially with the implementation of RTI, we are told to DEPEND on the basal, to stick to the core, it's all about fidelity to the core programs.

    That being said, I use a lot of techniques I learned from my math and science methods instructors. Of course, they were both public school teachers who taught the courses during the summer. Quite honestly, while I have a lot of respect for my college professors, I don't use hardly anything from the courses taught by professors. Even the books weren't very useful outside of studying for a final.
     
  28. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    The best two courses I've taken so far were taught by nonperm staff that are active teachers by day. Well, one of them had just become a principal. That was neat because she shared both perspectives.
     
  29. MsBee

    MsBee Devotee

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    Interesting. One thing I am REALLY worried about is literacy/reading. My school is horrible with this. My classmates and I have learned NOTHING and I mean NOTHING about reading and literacy and we are early childhood.
    I am so worried about this. Hopefully this won't matter when I get out in the field.
     
  30. Miss Bliss

    Miss Bliss Companion

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    Absolutely, I use what I have learned in college. I have been teaching for about 5 years now, and sometimes I feel as though I have a leg up on those who don't use the same teaching jargon that I was taught in college. I do, however, know a lot more from experience.
    One thing I wish was taught in college was organization and efficiency. I really learned how to be organized and ways to be more efficient in tedious, classroom work from other teachers. I have become so much more organized as the years have gone on!
     
  31. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    I'm using things I learned in student teaching, a few things in my science methods courses, and 1 or 2 things from other edu courses. But most of it, no I'm not using. And of course, since I'm teaching science contents my science stuff comes in handy.
     
  32. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    I think that I was well prepared at the college I attended. I still use writing projects from the college. I think it made me aware that teachin was not going to be easy start with which is easier way to begin (it actually went better than I expected). It made me more aware of what was necessary to manage children's behavior. I still do have some of the books and still use the Fountas and Pinnell. I think that the language arts classes helped a lot. Student teaching was also very helpful.
     
  33. Windy City

    Windy City Companion

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    I actually think that I use a lot of what I learned in college (I went to a top notch education program).

    Something that I use EVERY SINGLE DAY is Bloom's Taxonomy and ideas based on Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences. I use Bloom's when creating objectives. It makes a huge difference in how I end up planning and evaluating. I also use Gardner's when planning. I try to make sure that I meet the needs of at least 3 intelligences (if not more) during my short 20-30 minute classes. I have found that my lessons are FAR more interesting and engaging, and the students are highly motivated.

    I also think back to how we learned about planning and preparation. Every professor wanted it done a different way, which was perfect, because then we were exposed to so many different ways to do it that we could really tailor what we were doing to our own needs.

    I feel that some of our practicums that we did in college were not realistic, but it was all a total learning experience.
     
  34. MsBee

    MsBee Devotee

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    That's interesting. I am def going to try to incorporate Blooms and Gardners. What grade do you teach Windycity?
     
  35. Windy City

    Windy City Companion

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    MsBee, I teach K-5 library. I admit that I have a LOT of flexibility when it comes to teaching because we have no library curriculum because everything that I teach is taught based on student needs (wouldn't it be great if all teaching could actually be like that???).

    Last year was my first year teaching, and I kind of felt like I was sinking sometimes. This year, I started using Bloom's and Gardner's theories, and I tell you, it has made such a difference that I cannot even begin to describe it.
     
  36. MsBee

    MsBee Devotee

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    Well I am def taking note of that. In my college classes we touched a little on Blooms but never had to design lessons for them.
    Could you give an example of a simple way to use Blooms in a lesson?
     
  37. Doug_HSTeach_07

    Doug_HSTeach_07 Comrade

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    I wish I had paid attention more in college, to be honest. While I was in college, I was so focused on that goal - to be a teacher in my own classroom, to be able to do things my way - that I just saw college teaching classes as just another hoop/obstacle to jump through.

    Reading in the Content Areas class? Completely told the teacher everything she wanted to hear in that one and retained barely any of it. Now I wish I had it. Also, when it came time to unit plan, do long lesson plans, reflect on our student teaching, I just wanted out of there. I wrote and did what I had to just to get by.

    Now that I have my own classroom, I have had plenty of chances to do things my way, and it's taken a ridiculous amount of time. I wonder how much could have been simplified if I had allowed myself to be more open-minded about the college teaching strategies.

    I do retain the killer geography lessons from my Human Geography prof, as well as my days in Econ, though.
     
  38. MsBee

    MsBee Devotee

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    Doug I feel the same way. I have retained some stuff....but will I be able to know what to do with it? HMMM
     
  39. ifightaliens

    ifightaliens Rookie

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    There's a popular musical saying in regards to learning musical theory and technique (I don't know if it's been mentioned, who the hell has the time to read through four pages of forums... we're teachers **** it!)

    "Learn it all, then forget it and play."

    I'm sure we use more than we really know, it's just we don't have the fancy terms and all that jazz.
     
  40. Kev79x

    Kev79x New Member

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    I wish I had paid attention more in college, to be honest. While I was in college, I was so focused on that goal - to be a teacher in my own classroom, to be able to do things my way - that I just saw college teaching classes as just another hoop/obstacle to jump through.

    That's how I saw the whole thing, but I don't regret the way I approached it. I still think it's impractical. I had no idea how any of these ideas they taught would apply to me when the time came. The only time I feel I ever really learned anything was in the classroom. Making up test for a theoretical class that doesn't exist, or talking about all sorts of education stuff did nothing for me. It was all in perfect scenario settings too. I went to a good education college, and I still feel it was all bs (Bloom's is always useful, but it seems like more common sense to me than anything else).

    The only thing I use from college is my hard work ethic and my knowledge of history for my class. Actually, I think my natural talent for talking to people and handling social situations has worked more for me in teaching than anything else.
     
  41. scott connuck

    scott connuck Rookie

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    Dec 21, 2008

    Having taught for over a score of years, I can attest to the fact that I cannot even remember my textbooks... HOWEVER, the teaching profession has indeed evolved to the extent that the field of education is almost unrecognizable from the one I entered 24 years ago. No Child Left Behind/Standards Based Education has indeed changed the way practitioners in the field operate on a daily basis. Whatever you might think about NCLB, it has certainly impacted just about everything we do in the classroom, including the scope and sequence of the content we deliver. I believe that most changes have impacted children in a positive way. Literacy rates/mathematics skills are way better today than when I started. The quality of teaching has indeed improved in most localities... as have teacher preperation programs, with more young teachers prepared than ever to step into the most challenging positions. Instructional methods, especially for English Language Learners and Special Education students are SOOO much better now, since teachers are being held accountable for the success of EVERY student, not merely the most able. Now, I'm not saying that NCLB is perfect, it clearly is NOT! However, I am saying that with accountability comes greater achievement. One aspect of teaching that is lost on the "number-crunchers" at most state levels is this important fact... now listen carefully... The fact is that "TEACHING IS AND FOREVER WILL BE AN ART AS WELL AS A SCIENCE!" All teachers need to grow and develop throughout their careers, and the best ones are indeed "Life-long-learners!" One does not get all one needs through any college course or through any textbook (although I believe the practicality of Harry Wong and the wisdom of Marva Collins can improve the novice to the point where they are capable of doing a formidable job the first year out!) As for myself... now that I am finally looking at myself as a Master Teacher, I am ready to retire! Young teachers-- This message is for you-- Teaching is the most difficult job in the world if done right. You cannot do all that is required of you, all of the time-- so prioritise. Keep in mind that which is important... i.e. relationships with the students/families you serve. In the end, good teaching is all about preparation, knowledge, relationships, and wisdom. May each one of you find as much joy along the way to sustain you throughout long and productive careers!
    All The Best!
    Scott Connuck
    Nogales Unified School District
    Nogales, Arizona
     

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