Better preparation for the profession

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Mbvillanueva91, Jul 21, 2018.

  1. Jul 21, 2018

    For those who have their own classroom already, what do you feel could have been done to better prepare you for the profession? I'm doing a homework assignment on teacher retention and burnout and would appreciate any insight you may have.
    Thanks!
     
  2.  
  3. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,413
    Likes Received:
    1,383

    Jul 22, 2018

    I wish my content knowledge had been better. As an elementary teacher, I took one or two classes in each content area, but I still didn’t really feel like I knew how to teach the content once I was in the classroom. I was good with writing formal lesson plans and classroom management, but the deeper level of knowledge was missing for me. I’ve acquired it over time, but it’s taken a lot of time, money, and coursework outside of school on my part in order to make that happen.

    I also think that knowing about school mandates before becoming a teacher would have been helpful. During my teacher prep program, it always seemed as if teachers had more of an opportunity to be creative. After I got to the classroom, I found that not to be the case.
     
  4. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2004
    Messages:
    3,661
    Likes Received:
    223

    Jul 22, 2018

    Dealing with difficult parents and principals. Luckily, due to earlier career experience in a different field, I had tools for this, but it was barely touched upon in my program.
     
  5. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

    Joined:
    May 14, 2012
    Messages:
    1,840
    Likes Received:
    586

    Jul 22, 2018

    I wish my program had talked more about how to teach students who are not on grade level.
     
  6. That Business Guy

    That Business Guy Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2018
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    11

    Jul 22, 2018

    I wish my college would have shown me a realistic way to lesson plan. My school focused on every small detail of how to develop the perfect lesson (news-flash, there is no such thing as a perfect lesson) and when I had my first classroom, I spend hours creating one-two lessons. That led to me getting very burned out and hating the profession.

    Also, my college gave many “busy work” assignments. My senior year of college, I remember receiving a writing assignment that I had done my sophomore year. THE SAME EXACT WRITING ASSIGNMENT. More work does not always equal more value.
     
  7. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    Messages:
    5,849
    Likes Received:
    714

    Jul 23, 2018

    I think this might go along with content knowledge, like Bella was saying, and this may seem dumb, but my college program didn't teach us how to actually teach kids how to read. They had us out constantly doing field experiences, which was great for many other areas (planning, management, seeing the reality of teaching,etc.) but since we were constantly changing grade levels and settings, I only got snippets here and there.

    My college classes focused more on big ideas- like how to get students engaged, choosing texts, how to get kids interacting with texts, etc. I remember doing more comprehension based activities or read alouds and things like that. I did take one class that was really helpful around reading assessment and how to drill down to figure out which skills kids need- but I never got any instruction on how to actually teach kids based on those assessments. My full time student teaching placement was with 3rd grade in a higher SES school, so even my students for the sped portion were already reading and we spent all of our time doing guided reading.

    Thankfully, I went to an orton gilligham based workshop my first year of teaching and learned some basics- but I can honestly say it wasn't until 3-4 years into my teaching career that I would say I had a very solid grasp on exactly how to teach struggling readers how to learn to read in the first place. I just finished year 8 and would say I've just gotten to the point in the last two years or so where none of the PD or anything like that contains anything "new" to me. My school got a literacy grant and has done tons of work around early literacy the past several years. Pretty much every teacher has said the same thing I did- why didn't I learn this in college? One is even currently getting her MA in reading and says that she's still hearing only whole-language based stuff in her MA classes.
     
    bella84 and Leaborb192 like this.
  8. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2016
    Messages:
    2,407
    Likes Received:
    1,180

    Jul 23, 2018

    ,
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2019
    futuremathsprof likes this.
  9. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,413
    Likes Received:
    1,383

    Jul 23, 2018

    Yes, this is what I was trying to get at. I'll even add on math to that. Teaching kids how to develop number sense was such a challenge for me in the first few years of teaching because I didn't know how to teach them things that were so natural for me. I took a math course in my teacher prep program, but it was all about theory and writing lesson plans. Teaching conceptual understanding just wasn't a big enough part of it. I've done a lot of reading over the last few years to get a better grasp on this.

    I've had the same experience with reading. I learned surface level phonics and phonemic awareness in my teacher prep program but not enough to be an effective teacher of reading. I learned how to teach phonics more in depth when I started teaching sped and had a scripted program put in front of me. After that, I spent a lot of time and money to get Wilson certified. I'm now in a grad program working on a reading specialist certification, and, so far, it's all been whole-language driven. I had to stop myself from getting in an argument with my professor when he told me that I wasn't pronouncing a blend correctly (I said it was /d/-/r/, and he said it was "druh"). Even with the whole-language aspect, though, I still think that I should have been taught this in my initial teacher prep program. Why is it that only experienced teachers looking for an additional degree or certification should have access to this information?
     
    Leaborb192 likes this.
  10. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2016
    Messages:
    2,407
    Likes Received:
    1,180

    Jul 23, 2018

    ,
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2019
  11. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2005
    Messages:
    5,430
    Likes Received:
    946

    Jul 23, 2018

    I had a great background in content area as a secondary major. However, I only got minimal instruction in actually managing a classroom. They talked about working with kids who are on grade level, for the most part. When they did mention kids not on grade level, they talked about working with kids who are motivated to improve. It appeared that nobody realized that some kids hate school and will buck you at every turn. My MA is in English, not education because I couldn’t see myself wasting time on useless classes again.

    I have kids in middle school who do not know how to read well, and they need instruction in HOW to read. I have zero training in that. I can improve their comprehension level, but not their basic word understanding.

    I did take one useful class. The National Writing Project was amazing. We actually learned how to teach kids so be better writers. I took it many years after I finished my MA, so it didn’t even count toward any degree.
     
    bella84 and Leaborb192 like this.
  12. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Messages:
    2,419
    Likes Received:
    1,172

    Jul 23, 2018

    Honestly? Sometimes I wish I could've done more of the courses after a greater amount of experience. The most learning seems to take place not during college, but during your first couple years in the classroom. I'd love to see the universities somehow connect with districts to support those teachers in their first couple years (especially for districts, unlike mine, that don't have mentor programs).

    In addition, I feel like - while not for myself - math education is a key weak area. Honestly, between mindset work and between lots of the basics around teaching math -- I think that needs to be massively beefed up with more hands-on experiences in the classroom (our literacy ed classes did more of this than the math). Some of the teaching and mindsets by teachers worries me at times!

    Finally (though there's plenty of other things, I'm sure), for me, that life/work balance has been highly difficult - and with the unrealistic lesson planning that we do in college to the workload that we never really feel as much during student teaching...better navigating that from the get-go would've been helpful.
     
    bella84 likes this.
  13. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2014
    Messages:
    3,869
    Likes Received:
    1,075

    Jul 23, 2018

    That’s why I think colleges should adopt a model of performance-based AND assessment-based learning. Students should be actually be given tasks they will actually encounter in their intended fields. That’s what I liked about my math program in undergrad. They would give us programming projects and other tasks that we would actually have to do in public/private industry and make us attend workshops at job fairs and such. I feel like more programs should be designed around skills you will need to acquire in the workplace, such as interpersonal skills, and issues that you will encounter and ways in which you can rectify them. This should be included in addition to the subject matter knowledge you will need to learn.

    In short, college programs should be multifaceted and not centered on the theory involved.
     
    Leaborb192 likes this.
  14. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2016
    Messages:
    2,407
    Likes Received:
    1,180

    Jul 23, 2018

    ,
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2019
    bella84 and futuremathsprof like this.
  15. Elisabet Esteva

    Elisabet Esteva Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2018
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 23, 2018

    Yes youll learn most things in the classroom in the first few years
     
  16. Been There

    Been There Habitué

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2017
    Messages:
    849
    Likes Received:
    514

    Jul 23, 2018

    You're all spot on! My multiple subject credential failed miserably in preparing me for the teaching profession. Fortunately, I continued to earn special ed. certification and an M.A. to work with orthopedically disabled individuals which covered everything and more that was lacking in my basic credential program. Based on what I've been reading here, it doesn't sound like they're doing a very good job preparing graduates to pass the many certification exams - no accountability.
     
    futuremathsprof and Leaborb192 like this.
  17. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2016
    Messages:
    2,407
    Likes Received:
    1,180

    Jul 23, 2018

    ,
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2019
    futuremathsprof likes this.
  18. Been There

    Been There Habitué

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2017
    Messages:
    849
    Likes Received:
    514

    Jul 23, 2018

    One only has to look at the astronomical cost of attending college, the opulent facilities on college campuses, the relatively high salaries of education professors and the overall poor quality of teacher and administrator preparation programs to know that the cost-benefit ratio is far out of synch! One more reason that I'm considering starting a new thread entitled Hoodwinked!
     
    futuremathsprof likes this.
  19. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2007
    Messages:
    4,223
    Likes Received:
    1,157

    Jul 24, 2018

    I would like to eventually write a book called Everything I Know I Learned On-the-Job.

    Yes, I graduated Summa Cum Laude and successfully passed all my certification exams (included the RICA: Reading Instruction Competence Assessment), but I had no idea how to truly teach kids to read. Being a first year 1st grade teacher was the most difficult yet rewarding year of my entire career. I was learning right alongside my students. Then, I took that entire class and looped with them to 2nd grade. They were my guinea pigs for 2 years in a row.

    I don't know if any of my instructors in the teacher credential program were ever elementary classroom teachers. If they had been in the classroom, they definitely never mentioned it.
     
    futuremathsprof likes this.
  20. Aces

    Aces Habitué

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2018
    Messages:
    838
    Likes Received:
    454

    Jul 24, 2018

    I think the biggest thing I wish I had known was that there is a such a thing as being over prepared. I guess the thought pattern was ok there's 200 days of school, we're going to do 201 labs. I didn't realize/understand that students are never going to learn and absorb that much material. So I had so much planned that we didn't even get to look at let alone learn and I felt like an utter failure.
     
  21. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2014
    Messages:
    3,869
    Likes Received:
    1,075

    Jul 24, 2018

    I wish I could like your post more than once! Spot on.
     
  22. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2014
    Messages:
    3,869
    Likes Received:
    1,075

    Jul 24, 2018

    Chin up, it happens to the best of us! I bet now you have a better idea of what to expect, so going forward you probably have a better game plan.
     
    Aces likes this.
  23. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2014
    Messages:
    3,869
    Likes Received:
    1,075

    Jul 24, 2018

    I, for one, would LOVE to read that thread!
     
  24. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2014
    Messages:
    3,869
    Likes Received:
    1,075

    Jul 24, 2018

    This!!! You are right on the money.
     
  25. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2012
    Messages:
    919
    Likes Received:
    40

    Jul 24, 2018

    I would say that 95% of what I needed to know to be a successful teacher, I learned the first two years of teaching--on my own. Very, very little of what I did in in my teacher preparation program prepared me for the classroom.

    I would say that one thing that would be useful is MORE classroom experience and less busy work in the preparation programs. One thing I remember complaining about my first year of teaching is "not knowing how to handles xyz situation." A class built upon likely scenarios a teacher may face in the classroom would be highly beneficial.

    I think the reason beginning teachers leave the profession is because they are not adequately trained. Being a beginning teacher, alone in a classroom, and basically training him/herself can be overwhelming to say the least.
     
    mathmagic likes this.
  26. Emily Bronte

    Emily Bronte Groupie

    Joined:
    May 28, 2006
    Messages:
    1,265
    Likes Received:
    11

    Jul 24, 2018

    I feel like I learned the basics of being a teacher in my undergrad program, such as, writing a lesson plan, reflection, etc. My graduate program was on an internship model so one had to be working in the schools while completing the program. But, truly, the best preparation, for me, has come with time and experience.
     
    bella84 likes this.
  27. Aces

    Aces Habitué

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2018
    Messages:
    838
    Likes Received:
    454

    Jul 24, 2018

    Oh definitely! Just for me I spent the whole year feeling life an utter failure just because I thought that obviously I was a terrible teacher because I wasn't teaching anything. Now I've trimmed it back to were I try to do a detailed lab every 1-3 weeks. Some only take a week, some like the trebuchet takes 3 full weeks of banging it out.
     
    futuremathsprof likes this.
  28. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2014
    Messages:
    3,869
    Likes Received:
    1,075

    Jul 24, 2018

    That the right attitude to have! See, you’re a way better teacher than you thought you were.
     
  29. Aces

    Aces Habitué

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2018
    Messages:
    838
    Likes Received:
    454

    Jul 24, 2018

    No. That's the "I'm not f***** quitting so saddle up and ride ".
     
  30. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2014
    Messages:
    3,869
    Likes Received:
    1,075

    Jul 24, 2018

    Hahaha! Right.
     
  31. Aces

    Aces Habitué

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2018
    Messages:
    838
    Likes Received:
    454

    Jul 25, 2018

    So I will tell you when I joined the Army, I was very very afraid of heights. And you're probably thinking, "Huh? Scared of heights? But weren't you airborne?" Yes, on both counts. But anyways the first time I was at the top of the rappel tower, I was hooked up and everything looking over the edge and I completely froze. Couldn't move. Drill Sergeant on top of the tower is telling me Go ahead, quit. There's only one way down so make my day and quit so I can push you off. Go ahead. Do it. I'm pretty sure I gave him the most "f*** you" grin I could muster, swung out, and rappelled down the wall like it was nothing.
     
  32. Been There

    Been There Habitué

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2017
    Messages:
    849
    Likes Received:
    514

    Jul 25, 2018

    Reminds me of the time I tried rappelling. Unlike you, I had the advantage of being a dumb teenager with no fear of dying. Some friends and I once practiced our spelunking skills by rappelling off the top of a 3-story building which happened to be our high school. Our trail of footprints going up the side of the building must have puzzled passersby!
     
  33. Been There

    Been There Habitué

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2017
    Messages:
    849
    Likes Received:
    514

    Jul 25, 2018

    Your comments made me laugh. After 30 years of teaching, I had to attend PD workshops that had everyone reviewing the phonemes of the alphabet and the algorithms for basic arithmetic operations. Something's seriously broken.

    I once attended a dinner party attended by college professors and their spouses. Among those that I met was a woman who supervised student teachers. I had to bite my tongue to avoid being overly critical and negative, but probably should have questioned her about the inadequacies of teacher preparation programs. However, I didn't want to make her feel uncomfortable especially since she would not have been able to change anything. :(
     
    Leaborb192 likes this.
  34. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2016
    Messages:
    2,407
    Likes Received:
    1,180

    Jul 25, 2018

    ,
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2019
    Emily Bronte likes this.
  35. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2016
    Messages:
    2,407
    Likes Received:
    1,180

    Jul 25, 2018

    .
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2019

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. RainStorm
Total: 583 (members: 3, guests: 555, robots: 25)
test