What did you wish your teacher education program focused on?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by tiki7719, Aug 22, 2014.

  1. tiki7719

    tiki7719 Companion

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    Aug 22, 2014

    I am wrapping up my last year of classes for my Masters in Special Education. This time next year I will be student teaching (yikes!).

    Overall, I am a bit disappointed with my program as there have been no emphasis on IEP writing or lesson plan creation for special education. From my remaining course descriptions, it will not be addressed either.

    This is a common issue (lesson planning) amongst friends who are working on their degrees in a content area, or elementary ed. The school is aware of our concerns as well.

    Looking back-- what do you wish was covered in your teacher education program?
     
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  3. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    You got it, IEP writing and special education lesson plan writing.....and I have a Masters in Special Education!

    I had a series of classes on Emotional Impairments (my cert) and those were the best because every class the prof (usually the same one) would give us a scenario and allow us to talk it through.

    However a lot of EI/EC kids are also LD. That is where I felt it was lacking, more specifically how do you make sure you are choosing a lesson that specifically hits the target on the IEP and how do you know you picked the right target for the student?

    Too many generalities, thankfully I have learned some along the way, and have found that their are resources to help you pick goals for IEP writing, but I should have had more experience.
     
  4. chitown

    chitown Companion

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    I was thinking about this the other day in regards to my student teaching experience. I wish I had been placed in a grade level that reflected the grade levels I actually wanted to work in. I was placed in high school which I had no desire to teach. I feel like I missed out on valuable experiences like possibly being part of the referral and evaluation process, or at least being around people who took part in that process and could answer questions about it.

    I would also have liked to have more practice writing IEP goals that were aligned to a specific student's needs and abilities. While I did write goals, I would have liked to have mock students and their information, and to have practiced writing appropriate goals for that student.

    I may find more areas of my education that I'm unhappy with as I start my first full-time position!
     
  5. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Intervention for sure! Also, differentiation. For example, I remember my teaching writing class pretty well. We learned about fun ways to do research, like making trading cards for historical figures. However, I never learned what to do with those kids who just hated writing, and really struggled to even come up with an idea. Not to mention actually teaching a young child how to write-never learned that!

    There are so many things that vary from district-to-district, so it's tough for programs to cover everything.
     
  6. bros

    bros Phenom

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    It would've been nice if my Special Education program (Bachelors) focused on IEPs or types of disabilities at all.

    None of my classmates had seen an IEP until one of my professors brought in a copy of her sons IEP. None of them had no idea they were so long. Her sons IEP was only about 10 pages (I'm used to IEPs I had, which were around 30)
     
  7. Bunnie

    Bunnie Devotee

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    Classroom management! No teacher education program class talked about this.
     
  8. Crono91

    Crono91 Rookie

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    Aug 22, 2014

    Look up Ralph Fletcher on Amazon. Really helped with how to get to students (specifically boys in elementary) to enjoy writing... writing in school is so different from the kind of natural writing students do in their head.
     
  9. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Writing lesson plans would have to be at the top of my list. Not enough instruction, especially in this day and age of ever bigger lesson plans. SGO's would be number 2, and IEP's would be number 3. I am just starting on my Teacher's of Students with Disabilities, and I can guarantee you it is something that I will drag out of my new crop of instructors.
     
  10. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Teaching in high-poverty, urban, inner city schools and the unique challenges this brings - the real challenges - from people who have worked in these types of districts for more than a couple of years.
     
  11. tbduarte1

    tbduarte1 Rookie

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    I really liked my teaching program at University of San Francisco. I wish we would have learned a bit more about differentiation. We learned basics but not how to implement it in different ways.
     
  12. tbduarte1

    tbduarte1 Rookie

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    Thats rough. In my program we got to pick the schools we wanted to be with and the grade level we wanted to be with. Sometimes certain schools werent taking student teachers for certain teachers and if that was the case you got to choose a different class or a different school
     
  13. brigidy

    brigidy Comrade

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    Classroom management. I walked into student teaching wondering why the students didn't behave like the textbooks said they would.
     
  14. Youngteacher226

    Youngteacher226 Enthusiast

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    I have a Masters in Literacy Instruction. I think my program did a good job with teaching me about reading assessment and theory behind learning to read. But I think they neglected to teach about research based reading intervention strategies/techniques. This was in 2008 when I finished the program and I know RTI was not heard of but I wish they would've taught us about the process of collecting data in a variety of ways, progress monitoring and using this data to support a student through the special ed referral process if necessary. Luckily, I had the opportunity to be trained in Reading Recovery so I am lucky in that aspect. I learned a lot from learning about Marie Clay's way of addressing reading instruction. A great deal that I didn't learn in my Masters classes. I must also add I have participated in very intense professional development through Lucy Calkins' reading and writing program. Lucy herself has provided PD for our school and we traveled each year to the TC conferences so, I really am fortunate. :)The big thing I wish they taught is classroom management techniques as well.
     
  15. geoteacher

    geoteacher Habitué

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    Aug 22, 2014

    In my program we wrote plenty of lesson plans. (Any remember Madeline Hunter?) I do wish that more time was spent on how to develop effective classroom management.
     
  16. tgpii

    tgpii Comrade

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    Wish list

    I wish teaching classes focused on the following: 1. State funding program paperwork. 2. Head start 3. Private schools/daycares not just public schools. 4. How to get a job. 5. How to open a daycare. :2cents:
     
  17. Froreal3

    Froreal3 Companion

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    I agree with this. There is so much that goes into this.
     
  18. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    My program focused on practicums/field experiences, which I appreciated and learned a lot from, but I do wish we would have had some more direct instruction instead of having to learn everything from our field placements, which weren't always good. Most of the time it was great to get most of the information from real teachers and then practice teaching right there with real students, but some placements weren't good. For example, for my reading methods class I was placed in a school that followed an extremely strict line by line scripted program. It was basically having the students practice test-like passages. We spent 8 hours a week in our placements and one hour a week in class, where we basically just discussed our placements. I was required to follow the scripted program exactly as written, because the elementary school had been taken over by the state. Therefore I learned nothing about how to actually teach reading.

    I also learned nothing about writing IEPs or leading meetings (literally, this was not even touched on briefly) in my program, which I was very freaked out about as a first year sped teacher. However, these were the easiest things to pick up very quickly just by reading IEPs at my first school. I also observed the SLP leading a meeting before I led my first one, and saw it was as easy as basically just going through the IEP and leading a discussion about each part. I honestly didn't feel like I needed more instruction or practice than that, and I find IEPs/meetings to be the easiest part of my job now. So while of course I think my college program should have taught us about IEPs, I can't say I wish it was a main focus. I'd much rather have really good strategies for teaching the difficult population that we work with.
     
  19. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I truly, truly enjoyed my undergrad classes (English major/Sociology minor).

    Unfortunately, I didn't learn much in the teacher credential program. We developed some wonderfully in-depth and gorgeous lesson plans/units, but none of that was realistic (in my humble opinion).

    I did, however, learn quite a bit in my grad classes (K-12 Educational Leadership).
     
  20. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Aug 23, 2014

    I honestly think pre-service teachers need to be in the classroom from the moment they start their college education. I had to do about 10 observation hours per semester (more or less depending on the number of education courses I took- they added up to 100 hours before I could student teach). Observation hours were not really useful to me- I would be in a classroom for a few periods once or twice a semester. Now had I been participating in teaching the lessons, I think I would have learned more.

    Most of my classes were useful too- I took 2 science methods classes and those were the most useful. They covered lesson planning, we had to teach a class once, and the professors modeled how to teach for us. I wish I had more of those. I only had 1 special education course- I wish I had more experience with that too.
     
  21. tiki7719

    tiki7719 Companion

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    Aug 23, 2014

    Wow-- I didn't know so many people were in the same boat as me. I feel so unprepared when I begin my student teaching next year. Granted, its still a year away, but I'm trying to get my ducks in a row prior to.

    I much rather would have taken a class on IEP and lesson plan writing than the 6 diversity courses I had to take.

    BioAngel made a great point about needing to be in a classroom as soon as you're accepted into the education program. I couldn't agree more. With my specific program, my first in classroom experience will be student teaching!!
     
  22. OhThePlaces

    OhThePlaces Cohort

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    Aug 23, 2014

    Special education! I didn't have a single class on special education (disabilities, accommodations, zilch) in my Elementary Ed program. I DID however have to take a music methods class, an art methods class and a P.E. methods class!
     
  23. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Teaching children how to read. It's HUGE for elementary teachers and it was never covered.

    Also I needed more on administering specific assessments (i.e. how to do a running record) and how to analyze those assessments. I missed out on a lot of key information my first few years because I didn't know what to look for after!
     
  24. tiki7719

    tiki7719 Companion

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    OhThePlaces-- the undergraduate program at my university requires those method classes, but the grad program does not. Its puzzling how the requirements differ (and the grad program is for first licensure as well!). I do not have to take any methods courses.

    MissScrimmage- Two of the courses I have to take are assessment courses. I'm thankful for that. I do agree about needing more reading courses. I had to take phonics, and that is about it. I come on these boards and read about all these various reading assessments and strategies and wonder..what am I missing out on? This is when I need to be proactive and learn about it on my own :)
     
  25. teacherbatman

    teacherbatman Companion

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    Aug 23, 2014

    There should have been a lot more philosophy of education / goals of education.

    Education programs are so busy teaching "how" to carry out lessons (which usually has to be re-learned when you get to the classroom anyway), they don't get enough into the "why" of what we do, and how to be thoughtful and reflectful with our objectives.
     

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