The high cost of low teacher salaries

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by scmom, May 30, 2011.

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  1. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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  3. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Jun 13, 2011

    Interesting article. I think things are not quite that simple but the article has interesting hooks and points.
     
  4. MATgrad

    MATgrad Groupie

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    It all comes down to the money. I make more money bartending on a Saturday night than I do in 2 days of teaching. I also get treated better. If someone screams at me, I can call the police. If a parent screams at me, I might get a lecture.
     
  5. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    I believe that our work force does need to be improved. By raising salaries, we might improve the quality of our teachers.

    But we also need to improve the training of our teachers. Maybe a paid internship or year long student teaching or better mentor program.
     
  6. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I don't know if it is as simple as paying people more. As it is right now we have PLENTY of willing applicants. Too many actually. I don't see how that would change things much.
     
  7. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    cut---I think that the quality of the applicants would improve. I'm not saying that all teachers are not qualified, but with the turn over rate and teachers I've met who don't realize that Africa is a continent, tells me that many teachers are not qualified.

    There needs to be teacher certification programs at the best colleges and universities in the country.
     
  8. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Some of the applicants in the current pool have to be smart, if for no other reason than because of probabilities associated with high masses. Having better programs might have a better effect. I'm not against higher teacher salaries. I'm just not convinced it is that simple.
     
  9. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    I don't think it is that simple either, but I think that higher salaries must be a part of the plan. Without them, teaching will continue to be a turn off for many people.
     
  10. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    On a completely different side, I know that some professionals look down at people who become teachers. They must not be as smart because people who could do math, science, etc don't become teachers.

    What's that old saying: People who can, do; people who can't, teach.
     
  11. John Lee

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    There is so much wrong about this article I don't know where to begin.
     
  12. old_School

    old_School Rookie

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    I live about 30 mins away from what is claimed to be the "Best Teaching" college in the world. Ball State univ., a college filled and known for parties. Estimated 65% of the students our studying education. So how our they learning anything with a beer bong attached to their head? Other problems I see with teaching like you all said, they our not experianced in the field. Kids stright out of college teaching and they have no clue what to do.

    As for more money/funding. Lets look at private schools. Better paid educators, better funding in most cases and generally better turnout over all. Private schools though have a tougher hiring policy. So perhapps as stated, a tougher hiring process or better policy would improve the situation. Tougher standards equal better results.
     
  13. comaba

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    The private schools in my area pay less than the public schools. They also are not required to register any student within their boundaries, so they have the option of denying enrollment to students with behavior problems, disabilities, etc. Comparing the two is like comparing apples and oranges.
     
  14. gutterballjen

    gutterballjen Comrade

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    I completely agree. Nine weeks in a classroom is not going to fully prepare me for my first year. If I could be a full-time intern for an entire year, I'd do it.
     
  15. marcus903

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    I believe that the should raise teacher's salaries?
     
  16. old_School

    old_School Rookie

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    Shocking! Around here private schools pay more. Average sal around here for public is 25-30 and private school is 45-65.
     
  17. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    It depends on the private school. Our religious schools around me tend to pay less. Our private schools with admission for students tend to pay more.
     
  18. msmullenjr

    msmullenjr Devotee

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    Private schools around here make much less than public schools. Even a friend of mine who went to a private school after teaching in my district for over 15 years took a big pay cut. Her new school is in a very rich area, parents pay a ton to put their kids in this school. She makes far less than she used to.
     
  19. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    In the UK private schools are not required to hire trained teachers, in fact the teachers in private schools do not need any qualifications at all. The best schools pay more than the ublic schools but many pay less, in fact some pay barely above the minimum wage. If you have lots of teachrs comng out of the colleges then that will automatically force wages down. We are in a recession, the number of people training to be teachers always goes up in a recession. It is seen as a relatively safe job.
     
  20. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    I think Mopar made an interesting point in one of the first posts- the best universities in the country don't even offer teacher education programs! I remember being around middle school age or so and suddenly having this interest in what college I wanted to attend. I had big dreams of moving to a faraway city and attending some prestigious college. I remember being shocked when I really started looking into it to find that I couldn't go to any of these schools I'd heard of and learn to be a teacher.

    I did a year long student teaching experience. I also did 9 practicum experiences starting my freshman year of college. For most of our education classes, we would go into the schools and teach for 2 hours a day 4 days a week, and then have class on campus on wednesdays. We had to at least do a practicum experience in every grade in our licensure, and in every type of school (rural, urban, suburban). They wanted us to "see everything." For our full time student teaching, they really worked hard to pair us with a teacher that matched our teaching style and personality. Mine was a wonderful match. We student taught from the end of september until early May, and for all but a few weeks of that at the very beginning where we "eased into things" we were 100% in charge of the classroom. I can say that hands down I was more prepared than most entering the field. Most of my coworkers say that their classes focused a lot on philosophy and understanding why you want to be a teacher. My program was really hands-on and focused on getting us out into the classrooms for pratical experiences as much as possible. There is no better way to learn than to just do it! Even my first few days at my school, I had several different people ask where I went to college and comment on how they couldn't believe how much I already knew. I literally heard several times per day, "I never learned that in college! You are so prepared!" Everyone talks about how scary/hard your first year of teaching is. I can honestly say that wasn't true for me. In fact, compared to all the extra work I had to do as a student teacher (night class, thesis-we had to do one in undergrad, meetings with advisor, reflections, college format lesson plans) I would honestly say this year was easier than last year for me.

    I would say that we do need to improve teacher education programs across the country. At a lot of schools, these programs are simply a joke. I had many friends from other universities that said their education majors never had to do any work, always partied, did nothing and got A's, etc. At my university, we worked hard. All other majors had classes that met 2-3 days a week for a total of 3 hours per week. For our classes, we would have 10-12 hours of responsibility (teaching or class) for a 3 credit hour class. All of our classes were also 5 days a week. Education was also the only program that you had to apply to and be accepted to on campus. We had to maintain a 3.2 GPA overall and 3.5 in education, as well as score proficiently on a teaching rubric for each practicum experience. We started with over 100 in my program, and graduated 18.

    Oldschool, I'd always heard that Bowling Green State University was supposedly the best education school in the country-according to some ranking (this was forever ago, I don't remember exactly). I've heard of ball state, but I've never heard anything about their education program. One of my best friends was an education major at BGSU and I find that really hard to believe. They did no practicum experiences whatsoever, so their first time in the classroom was senior year student teaching. They only student taught for 10 weeks, and out of that they were only 100% in charge for 2 weeks. My friend really struggled this year. I honestly think she would have done better had she attended a program like mine. The college I attended was private, so I wondered if maybe whoever ranked those only included public universities.

    Honestly, although I'd love to make more money, I don't think raising salaries is going to help out our situation. People already view teachers as lazy and greedy. The public perception of teachers out there is terrible right now. If we suddenly start making a lot more, that only gets worse. This seems to be a reocurring theme on here lately, but I don't think the teacher profession is suffering because we're not attracting "the best and the brightest." Just because someone is brilliant academically does not mean they'll be a good teacher. Teaching takes so much more than that. I don't necessarily want the "really smart" people to suddenly start going into teaching because they realize they'll make a good salary. I want the people who are passionate enough about teaching to go into it anyway, even though they know they'll never be rich. As for people that just don't have the academic skill to go into teaching in the first place, I think programs like the one I attended weed those people out. Everyone in my program was very intelligent (even if they weren't necessarily up in the 90th perecentile or above on their SAT's) AND had the necessary social/developmental knowledge/personality traits/skills to become a teacher.
     
  21. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    On the private schools note- I've always heard of teachers at private schools making WAY less, and also having less strict hiring practices. My mom works at a private school and has taught there for almost 20 years. As a first year teacher this year, I made about 10,000 more than her current salary. My dad, who has the same level of education and experience as my mom and works at a public school, literally makes over 3 times the amount my mom does. My mom actually has a master's degree, but she works with several teachers who aren't even licensed. One of my friends was offered a position in a private school our junior year of college. When she reminded them that she wasn't finished with her program yet, they said it didn't matter. My best friend's mom also works in a private school and makes even less than my mom- about 12,000 a year! One of my friends last year was applying to private schools in our area just out of desperation, and the highest salary she saw was 26,000. Starting salary for public schools in that area is around 34,000-38,000.
     
  22. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    waterfall, your program sounds wonderful. I know that in my program, some teachers took the basics skills test (my sixth graders could pass this) 5 or more times. Yet, they got accepted into the education college....

    If you increase the expectations to become a teacher, many many people will not want to go through the process for the amount of money they will make. This may not be a bad thing right now with the flooding of teachers out of work, but once the number of out of work teachers slows down....then what?
     
  23. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    No time to read the article but I agree with much of what mopar and waterfall has said. The general public does think teachers are dumber than other workers, for various reasons. Higher salaries are not the only answer, but it could help attract a certain caliber of people.

    I also have been shocked at some of the things that fellow teachers didn't know. Then again I will admit that there are some areas I am embarrassingly challenged in, such as explicit directions---reading maps. Thing is I know my weak areas and would work overtime to improve them. I can memorize maps over and over, and will still forget them soon after on. I have little to no sense of direction when I'm driving either. I get lost in buildings unless I concentrate extremely hard.

    But I can remember science facts and Algebra rules that I learned over 20 years ago. I think I may have some type of learning problem with maps. I'm just saying, we all have our weak areas so I'm not judging those teachers, but it's been quite shocking to see some things that fellow teachers didn't know be it academic or common sense things dealing with discipline.

    "Intimidate the child with fear and assert yourself physically to make the child think you are going to hit them".... was a method my former teammates believed in. It's absolutely crazy.

    Education degrees...I'm still not getting this. The stuff you learned you will not be able to use because you are at the mercy of the Principal, district, local and state politicians, and President. What's the use?

    What should happen is that in order to teach secondary education, you need at least a BS degree in that subject (with some exceptions for similar subjects of course). With Elem Ed you should simply need a BS in some content area, but you should not need an education degree.

    You should have to earn a teaching certificate in regards to learning classroom management & such. That should consists of internships and a few courses and things. As it stands, I have a Psychology degree and can't teach HS Psychology because I don't have the Secondary teacher education classes. I would do awesome teaching Psychology as well as certain Science classes. The requirements in the wrong thing is another thing that shuts out many bright people in certain subject fields.

    I'm just rambling, but they should be seeking teachers who are gifted in a specific academic area....not gifted in general educational theories and such.

    On the job training should definitely be more extensive.
     
  24. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    I agree that teachers need more classes in their subject area. Even elementary teachers need to have the math and english classes. I think that the teacher classes are important, but the subject classes are much more important.

    Maybe elementary education majors should have to minor in english and math....
     
  25. Aussiegirl

    Aussiegirl Habitué

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    I started teaching at 50 as a second and CHOSEN career. I spent the first year after I received my license, doing long-term subs as well as per diem subs. It was a great way to earn money AND learn the ropes. I tell many student teachers/practicum students that they may want to consider this approach if at all possible. I was able to see how different schools in the area operate, how their students differed/were the same, what the different administrations were like, and it gave me a chance to work out my teaching style without the stress of being in one place for the whole year. I don't know if I'd have made it through my first year of teaching on a contract if I'd not had that year of experience behind me. I agree that there ought to be a paid internship or a second tier of student teaching where a prospective teacher teaches under careful guidance of an experienced mentor.

    How that can be accomplished, I'm not sure, but we manage to have internships and resident programs for doctors. Therefore, we should be able to do the same for teachers who educate the future doctors!
     
  26. Aussiegirl

    Aussiegirl Habitué

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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I was lead to believe that "public" school in the USA is not the same as "public" school in England. Does the government support the "public" schools in England, or do the students pay tuition to attend as they do here in our "private" schools.
     
  27. Aussiegirl

    Aussiegirl Habitué

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    Interesting. I had a BS degree and umpteen years in business before teaching. I took a minimum of "teacher ed" courses at an adult degree post degree program, including 12 weeks of student teaching, in order to earn my teaching certificate. I had to take the Praxis II exams in two subject areas. I hid out in the ladies room until the test started because I couldn't stand hearing so many of the people there stating how the tests were so hard, that they were taking it for the 3rd, 4th, 5th time. Here I was, out of college for 30 years, one year of college classes/student teaching, cramming for 2 months before the exam! Imagine how it was psyching me out! I passed both with almost a perfect score! I agree with someone else who posted here that too much may be spent on theory when theory goes out the window based on the administration, etc. of the school that hires you.

    I think it is more important to have EXTENSIVE knowledge in your core area than to have EXTENSIVE theory. You can be the greatest student of pedagogical training, but if you don't have the basic subject knowledge, you will not be an effective instructor - your children will be the losers. There has to be a balance. One college in our area has multiple practicum requirements for its education students prior to student teaching. At first I thought that was a little much, but I've come to appreciate that approach and think it strongly benefits our future teachers.
     
  28. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    You know, in thinking about this thread a little more, it came to me that these days, people think teacher salaries are high. With all the political debate over states passing collective bargaining laws (Wisconsin, OH, etc.) our "high" salaries and benefits have been all over the news. If you've seen Fox news (I'll withhold my political commentary) any time within the last 6 months, they're making it out as if we're downright rich! They go on and on about how we make more than those in the private sector, have "lavish" benefits, and on top of that we work a part time job. I've seen similar clips from CNN. So if we have high salaries, lavish benefits, short hours and tons of vacation time, why aren't our "best and brightest" lining up to be teachers? By that argument, I don't see higher salaries doing any good at all.

    As for the education classes vs. content classes, I think the real problem is what's being taught in education classes. In my education classes, we were out in the schools getting teaching experience. During "campus class" times, we were learning about classroom management, differentiated instruction, how to teach different ways, assessment strategies, etc.- all things that we were actually using in the classroom. We did not spend hours on end talking about Piaget and Vygotsky and theory. In my program (and I think many others are similar) to teach high school or middle school you majored in the subject (so you would have the same content knowledge as anyone else) and minored in education. For elementary, we majored in education, but as I said the classes I took were actually valuable. I don't see any need for more content for elementary. In the scenario you mentioned webmistress, I would have had to just pick one random content area to major in, even though I teach all areas. So hypothetically, I'd pick English if I had to choose one because that was my favorite subject in school. I don't see how knowing a whole lot about English is going to help me be an elementary teacher at all. If we asked elementary majors to minor in core content subjects, they'd be in school for forever! My elementary major alone was almost 100 credit hours- and we didn't get "hours" credit for all those hours we spent in school. So even a class that met 5 days a week was still considered a 3 credit hour class. Most other majors were somewhere between 45-60 credit hours. Science was a bit more- around 80- but even they got lab credit hours for anything that met more than the usual class times. So many of their classes were 5 credits. I minored in Spanish. I think that was far more helpful than getting a ton of extra core content information, and it helped me land a job.
     
  29. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Yes, a lot of the teacher programs are weak. No, I don't think that means we should have less pedagogical training. Yes, we need to know our stuff. I do see too often weaknesses on both sides of this coin. In elementary, it IS important to know your stuff but it is also really important to know these theories, techniques, strategies as well as other practical stuff. One of the things that bugs me often is when I see evidence that teachers really don't understand the developmental process of the children they teach. Without knowing this, all the smarts in the subject area you teach are really not going to hit students effectively. The same goes for understanding differentiated instruction, effective practices in reading, classroom management, etc. ALL of these things are important. Otherwise you end up with a first grade teacher using abstract concepts best suited for older students, practices that aren't developmentally appropriate, and discipline that is archaic and misguided and even harmful. You end up with frustrated students, frustrated teachers, frustrated parents and even more important, frustrated communities.

    Teacher training does need to improve.
     
  30. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    I think that even a first grade teacher needs to have the basic knowledge of mathematics, reading, writing, social studies, etc that we expect our high school students to have. Without this, you lose track of what is really important to teach.

    So many of my students come in from fifth grade and younger with PEMDAS in their brains for order of operations. When I try to show them that some operations go from left to right not in order, it boggles their brain. Where did they get this? From a teacher without enough mathematics background.

    Many of my sixth graders come in writing, "I am going to tell you", "I just told you", etc. If the younger teachers really understood writing with a thesis and topic sentences, many students would not build some of these habits.
     
  31. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I agree with that Mopar.
     
  32. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    The benefit for an elementary teacher of having majored in English, or chemistry, or math, or art, or pretty much any other subject except liberal studies or education, is learning both to learn and to think in depth. Coursework that teaches for breadth mostly involves learning the vocabulary of a discipline and its key concepts, but such classes really can't be expected to demand much by way of analysis, synthesis, evaluation, or application.
     
  33. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Great point, TG!
     
  34. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Mopar, I think any elementary teacher already does have basic high school knowledge. If they didn't, they shouldn't have even gotten into college in the first place. Now, if colleges are letting people into education programs (or into their college in the first place) then that's not right. I've personally never seen evidence of that, but then again the college I went to was a little tougher (not like ivy league or anything, but still) to get into than your basic state university. Someone without basic highschool skills would have never been admitted to my college no matter what they intended to major in, so that's hard for me to wrap my head around. All of my coworkers are very intelligent as well though.

    Cut, that's exactly what I was thinking. You said it better than I did. That's what I've been trying to point out all along, that all this content knowledge going way above your teaching area does nothing for you in regards to really knowing how to teach. You have to know about and be able to do those things you mentioned, no matter how smart you are.
     
  35. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Many colleges around my area allow students in with 9 or 10 on their ACT. This is very low. Students get in to college with a 1.8 GPA. This does not show mastery of high school subjects.

    A positive for many people is that education does not require math classes besides an teaching elementary mathematics class. The students do not even need to show that they are proficient in basic algebra.

    Our basic skills test requires knowledge of whole numbers, fractions, decimals, integers, percents, and simple 1-2 step word problems. Many teachers cannot pass this on the first two attempts. I know people who are teaching who have taken this test upwards up 7 times in order to pass it.
     
  36. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I did have several math and English classes each. I had biology and history courses. I took extra science credits. I don't remember how many because it was part of my BA. I also took methods classes in each area. My point being I did take college level courses in each of these areas and they were not associated with education majors only. As my own personal assessment, I could use more refresher in math at this point.
     
  37. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    That is crazy! To be honest, I didn't even realize it was possible to get a score of 9 or 10 on the ACT. In my home city, there is a large university that is kind of considered the place where people go if they can't get in to any of the better schools- kind of the lowest 4 year univeristy. They require a 20 on the ACT and at least a 2.4 HS gpa for admission, and people make fun of that all the time (that that's all you have to do to get in).

    I went to a liberal arts school so I had to take at least one or two (usually two) classes in each subject just to meet general education requirements. I had to take 2 math classes and a "math methods" teaching class.

    I'd say the larger problem that you're talking about is who colleges are letting into their programs. That's just unbelievable. How are these people ever successful in college? Everyone I know that was interested in going to a 4 year university took at least the "college prep" track in HS (if not AP) and did well in school. I guess if I were the type of student who got a 9 on the ACT and had less than a 2.0, I wouldn't even really be thinking about attending college as obviously school so far is not going very well...why would they want to go do more of it?
     
  38. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Let me add to this that a teacher at any level - elementary, departmentalized secondary, special education, college, whatever - MUST be able to analyze and synthesize information, to evaluate both data and theories, and to apply facts and theories - and must be able to do those at a greater level of sophistication and rigor than it is reasonable to expect from, say, a first-year undergraduate. The mental skills involved are highly transferable, however, in much the sense that someone who is already literate in one language does not need to learn to read all over again in order to read in a second language.
     
  39. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Absolutely. Though it is hard for some to see the sophistication of thought processes that go into some of these courses. One of my best courses was my Methods of Research class. The teacher was awesome and the stuff that goes into that helped me in the rest of my courses to better look at the information presented. A special thanks goes to one of my classmates who told me I should take that course early rather than later as the course line up suggests.
     
  40. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Jun 13, 2011

    I think really there needs to be a balance of both. There ARE too many people who don't have enough basic knowledge and there ARE too many people who don't have a strong enough pedagogical background. BOTH are equally important. It's hard sometimes for elementary and secondary to see why the emphasis on each side is being presented to those in those majors but the truth is both are really needed to be a strong effective teacher and programs aren't stepping up to the plate on these things.

    There are people I want to scream at so badly because I can clearly see that their frustration and practices stem from lack of BASIC pedagogical practices and there are people I want to scream at because they can't even pass the basic skills tests after multiple tries and it is true that they need to know how subjects spiral beyond the grade they teach.
     
  41. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jun 13, 2011

    When high schools are pushing to have all students attend college (as meeting AYP now requires improving the college bound percentage of students), it's hard for colleges to turn down people. Many of these students play sports, English is a second language, they have other extenuating circumstances, but still.

    I also know that education is considered the easiest major at many local colleges. It's hard when business world people think that they are better than teachers or parents think that they can do our jobs better than we can.
     
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