Were you well-prepared for your job?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by DrivingPigeon, Nov 16, 2011.

  1. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Nov 16, 2011

    I was just thinking back to my college days...I feel like I was fairly well-prepared to teach when I landed my first job. I have learned so much along the way, and I was completely clueless about some things, but overall I knew what I was doing.

    Did your university prepare you well for teaching?
     
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  3. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Teaching- yes. Special ed, no- although I do have to admit I was more prepared than I thought I was. We started doing practicums freshman year, which was also great since people were out teaching right away, they knew if it wasn't a good fit early on rather than finding this out in student teaching senior year. I taught for at least a semester in every grade level for my licensure. Some semesters, I was in multiple grade levels at once (regular ed)- for example I'd spend 2 hours in 3rd grade in the morning and 2 hours in 1st grade in the afternoon. We generally were out in schools four days a week and in class at college one day a week, starting freshman year. So I got tons and tons of classroom experience. We were out actually planning and teaching lessons too, not just observing or helping. My full time student teaching was a full year, where I was 100% in charge of the classroom for all but about 4 weeks at the very beginning where I "eased into it" by taking on more each day. Overall, throughout my college experience I taught in 9 different schools, urban, rural, and suburban, in every grade level k-4. So yes, I was definitely extremely prepared for teaching. There were a lot of things very specific to special ed that I was not taught though. So as far as the actual teaching lessons, planning, collaborating, assessing, etc- I felt prepared when I got my job. However, I had never written an IEP or even been to an IEP meeting in my student teaching. The school I student taught at did all of their IEPs in May after I graduated. All of my previously mentioned field experiences were regular ed except for my real student teaching and one other one (which was middle school, and not very helpful). I had a lot of dumb questions about IEPs and meetings and such when I started. I feel like I picked that stuff up really quickly though- I work with a fabulous SLP who helped me out a lot last year.
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    My program was a graduate program...I already had an undergraduate degree in business and jobs in the marketing industry before coming into education. My grad program was AWESOME and I felt well prepared...although I have learned so much more 'on the job' and continue to grow as a professional every day.
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Nov 16, 2011

    Yes, I think I was very well prepared.

    I've read some posts here of horrific first years, of people totally unprepared for the realities of teaching.

    It was very much what I expected. I did learn a lot my first year, of course, and every year since then. But I think I was as well prepared as I could have been.
     
  6. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    That remains to be seen....I thought I'd be prepared, but since I've been subbing, I've found that I've grown a lot in classroom management. I think I would have been eaten alive if I'd been thrown into a classroom right after finishing my program. On the other hand, I'm afraid that as time goes by I'm getting further from my methods training, though. I need a contract soon!
     
  7. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I think I was well prepared, and I wasn't shocked at the work load or problems.

    I also keep learning new strategies, read professional books, and go to conferences and workshops so I never experience that shock. If I hadn't kept learning, then no, I wouldn't be prepared for teaching today.
     
  8. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    Yes it did. But teaching (and life) is kind of like giving birth. Once you're in labor there is nothing that can truly prepare you for that process and nature just has to take its course. (Dirty politics, bullying administrators, coworkers demeaning the students etc.. You just have to sink or swim through things like that but nothing can prepare you ahead of time for those type of things)
     
  9. AZMrs.S

    AZMrs.S Cohort

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    Nov 16, 2011

    I felt really well prepared and ready. My practicums and student teaching were some of the most valuable experiences though and are the things that I keep going back to for insight now :)
     
  10. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    Yes, I was, but I don't feel the University had that much to do with it... I worked at a daycare all through University, and that helped me a lot with my classroom management.
     
  11. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Nov 16, 2011

    I was not taught about NCLB, IEPs, ORQs...many extremely important topics. That's pretty crappy.
     
  12. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Nov 17, 2011

    Totally prepared.
     
  13. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    Nov 17, 2011

    Yes, and no.

    I have a subject area degree. I felt very prepared in my content. As a secondary major, I had very little preparation in practical classroom kinds of things. My only high school experiences were when I did my student teaching. Everything else was elementary. My university had a model school on campus, so we were always there. Model schools are not representative of the real world of schooling.

    I was exiting college in the first years of KERA when our state brew out all the old ways and "reformed" the whole education system. It was a real trial by fire for me, and everyone I was working with was in the same boat, so the support systems weren't there. My mentor teacher was as lost as I was in some areas.

    I did all my teaching at the high school level, and was transferred to middle school. My only experience there was from being a student.
     
  14. bondo

    bondo Cohort

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    I felt pretty well-prepared in terms of content. Classroom management was a little rough initially. There is only so much theory you can do in classroom management. You have to just go out there and see what works best for you.
     
  15. Bioguru

    Bioguru Companion

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    Nov 17, 2011

    I would say I was moderately prepared by my college; I went the alternative certification route so I'm sure that had something to do with it. What prepared me the most was talking with my dad (28 years of teaching experience) each day.
     
  16. Speechy

    Speechy Comrade

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    Nov 17, 2011

    Grad school prepared me well. I thought the information I learned when I was completing my undergrad was a ton of information, but it was literally only the foundation of what was to come.

    Grad school taught me so much information. At times it was incredibly overwhelming. However, I had so many hands-on opportunities to see and get a feel for what I was going to dedicating my life to. After I completed the program I felt super confident and it really prepared me for my career.

    Sure, some things I have learned along the way, but most were just adapting issues.
     
  17. myKroom

    myKroom Habitué

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    Nov 18, 2011

    Most definitely YES! There has been a lot of learning and growth since college, but I had the skills I needed to get up and running and stand on my own!
     
  18. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Nov 18, 2011

    I would say yes and no. In terms of content and generally how to run a classroom, yes I think I was prepared. As for the length of time for the kids to learn general stuff and the paperwork, no.
     
  19. ciounoi

    ciounoi Cohort

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    Nov 18, 2011

    College prepared me very little. I had a class or teacher here or there that definitely influenced and taught me, but for the most part, it was all theory and not much practice. I had three student teaching placements... two mentors were mediocre and one mentor was FANTASTIC!

    I learned what I needed to know through subbing, observing other teachers while subbing, and reading everything I could get my hands on (including posts on this awesome forum!). I still have a lot to learn, but I'm trying to stay cool about it. :)
     
  20. pete2770

    pete2770 Comrade

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    Nov 19, 2011

    I'm glad I'm not alone in this regard, and it's wonderful to know everything worked out for you.

    My goal and focus has always been to teach high school, or at least middles school. Yet ALL of my practicums have focused on elementary school. Not that I don't love working with kiddos in general, but I seriously want to work in the environment I plan on working in.

    I'm going for SPED and in my State you are licensed for K-12 for SPED, it's not separated like "specific" subjects, unfortunately. Sadly, this means I spend half my time learning principles that I'll never be able to apply to my student body.

    Oh well, I'll make it through!
     
  21. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Nov 19, 2011

    My college days were not too long ago, but yes, I feel that my university did a great job preparing me. I think it was such great preparation in helping me establish a steady foundation for teaching. Of course, there's no way to learn it all until you jump in there and get started (even like the simple things such as organizing, handling parents, etc.), but as far as setting a good foundation, you bet.
     
  22. MLB711

    MLB711 Comrade

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    Nov 19, 2011

    Yes and no. I have a subject area degree as well, so I feel like I know my content pretty well and I am well-versed in the standards. I have created and implemented really interactive, engaging learning activities during student teaching. The major downfall of my education was classroom management. I don't feel like I was prepared to deal with the students I currently teach. Maybe because I'm not as much of a hard-ass as they need, or because I look like a high schooler, or because I was scared to be too hard on the kids right at the beginning.
     
  23. Leatherette

    Leatherette Comrade

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    Nov 20, 2011

    I feel that I was theoretically prepared, but not that practically prepared. I did have an excellent teacher for the IEP writing class, so I felt strong in that area. Unfortunately, the last time that most of my professors had taught K-12 students was in the 1960's in lab schools. The teaching methods I learned were very rigid (based only on the professors' personal philosphies, and usually using curriculum they wrote) and meant to be taught 1-1. I also walked into a rural community for my first teaching job, and there were no materials. The one other special ed teacher was nice, but totally burnt out, so not a great resource. So, no, 90% learned on the job.
     
  24. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Nov 20, 2011

    To be quite honest, I do not feel that my university experience made me well-prepared for a position as an elementary school teacher.

    However, my student teaching experience did indeed well-prepare me for being in the classroom. My cooperating/master teacher was amazing and I learned so much from her.

    Prior to student teaching, though, I don't think I knew what I was getting myself into. Unfortunately, the methodology classes did not help me at all.

    Looking back on my first year teaching, I've come such a loooooong way!!!
     
  25. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    Nov 20, 2011

    I would say I was well prepared in some ways and not so well in others. I think my first year there were many things I was taught that I was not able to grasp or put to use. As my experience has grown my ability to use some things has definitely been put to use. I have found though through the years I have noticed that specific things I learned help me assimilate new knowledge because the school gave a very strong prior knowledge foundation as far as education and various theories. In some ways it is like what I was taught about the standardized tests, if you are teaching well you really do not see your work the year you teach the children, however you will see the results of your teaching as the children progress through the grades. I am seeing the results as I progress through the years.

    This year I am teaching a combo class and in my college there was a class about across grades project based unit making. Something I really did not use much until this year 12 years later.
     
  26. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Well, I think the school did their best to prepare us. And it was up to us to take what we learned, apply them to our job, and to continue to learn and grow.
     
  27. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Nov 21, 2011

    Not even a little bit, but I have a subject-area degree. I did the trial-by-fire route.

    I have to say, though, that taking the required education classes AFTER I had started teaching showed me that particular college is not really preparing college students for teaching. There was a lot of theory, a lot of case studies, and not a lot of practical application for the real world of teaching.
     

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