What they DIDN'T teach you in college

Discussion in 'General Education' started by singingstacy, Apr 12, 2008.

  1. singingstacy

    singingstacy Rookie

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    What are some of the things you learned in teaching that they NEVER told you in college? :)
     
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  3. Emma35

    Emma35 Connoisseur

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    That you have to tie first graders shoes, deal with tattling, how to be a nurse, a surrogate mom, a referee...that you need to be able to love every single drawing that is given to you and you had better learn quick how to decipher them...that you will need to be able to read handwriting that most people wouldn't have clue what it meant....that you OFTEN will need to change plans at the spur of the moment and make things work...oh wow, I could go on and on and on....
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Having mentored several student teachers and new teachers, I think colleges could do a better job teaching classroom management...
     
  5. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    I second everything Emma and Cza have said. Also, how to write letters home to parents, how to deal with parents that yell at you.

    How to interview would be nice.

    My favorite how to teach nine grade levels at the same time!!! :lol:
     
  6. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    That you are hired to work for a school corporation - not a building, or a grade - and they can and will move you at their will or need. I really think this is really hard for first, second and even third year teachers mostly because they are the ones most often moved. Your are employed to teach in a corporation; not 1st grade, or in the middle school building or even in your classroom.

    I also don't think colleges do a good job preparing students for the amount of paperwork they will see on a regular basis.
     
  7. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    The large amounts of paperwork that has to be turned in on the exact deadline.
    Your class will NOT be perfect, the students will sometimes NOT want to learn, and admin is not ALWAYS supportive.
    Classroom management is HUGE b/c w/o it you will not be able to teach effectively.
     
  8. jw13

    jw13 Groupie

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    The unique realities of the job search.
    How to communicate effectively with parents/admin./colleagues
    Amount of administrative work-IEP, meetings, paperwork, lesson planning
    Familiarity with the various math/reading programs
     
  9. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    How to write a good test, and to determine if a test you already gave has a serious flaw in it that needs to be remedied. (I don't always have a choice in my tests, and sometimes they are worded so strangely, I can't even understand them!)

    How to do running records with the hum of 20 other children in the room... how to stop the stopwatch in the middle when chaos breaks lose, and then get back to it (without forgetting to start the stopwatch back up) without missing a single beat.

    How to teach spelling without sending home a list of 10-20 words per week for children to "memorize" at home.

    How to include children with autism in your class, and meet everyone's needs.

    How to teach printing and penmanship WITHOUT using tracer sheets.

    How to teach a left-handed child to print, cut, and write if you are right-handed. (and vice-versa if you are left-handed.)
     
  10. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    paperwork, paperwork, paperwork, paperwork and even more paperwork. I still have no idea how to teach and fill out all this "due today" paperwork (I do not have daily planning and I have lunch duty).

    Parent-teacher conferencing. My college never mentioned it. I am not a parent, so I struggle with it, as I have never attended one!!!

    Oh, and how to write effective report card comments.
     
  11. bcblue

    bcblue Comrade

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    How to fix the stone age copy machine--despite the fact that no 2 are alike!

    DIPLOMACY with parents and colleagues alike.

    101 uses for velcro and contac paper.

    How to run a parent meeting--parent teacher conference, IEP, or other.
     
  12. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    How not to laugh when the kids do something you know you should be disiplining them for, but they're just so darn funny.

    How to write on the whiteboard without actually turning around

    What to do when one of your students decides YOU are the one he/she is going to turn to with a major personal problem.
     
  13. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    How to write a note home that is so concerned and sweet that nobody could complain about it, while getting your point across.

    "Dear Ms. Smith,
    I'm so concerned about little Lulu! She is asking to use the restroom 10 to 12 times each day. I'm worried that there might be a physical problem that requires medical care. I wanted to make you aware of it so you can take Lulu to the doctor and make sure she is all right. (If insurance is a problem, let me know and I can talk to the nurse about getting a voucher for medical care.) Please let me know, because I am very worried about her! Thanks. Signed: Ms. R."

    In other words, your kid is asking to go to the bathroom too much, is playing in the hall and restroom instead of working, and needs to get her act together!
     
  14. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I use the phone for these- I try not to put too much in writing!! (Something else they didn't teach in college!!)
     
  15. EDUK8_ME

    EDUK8_ME Cohort

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    Yes! I also mentor student teachers and I think they need a course specifically for various classroom management techniques such as Love and Logic, Conscience Discipline and others.
     
  16. blessedhands

    blessedhands Comrade

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    ADMINISTRATIVE work involved with Teaching.

    Look like Teachers might need a personal Asst. or Secretary to handle all of the Admin work.
     
  17. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    How to talk to a colleague when they have put work in the hallway that is blatantly WRONG ... (such as listing spiders as insects and whales and lobsters as fish on a class-made poster) without offending them (which is all but impossible, no matter how diplomatic you try to be.)
     
  18. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    I agree with most...also
    * how to teach reading writing effectively (my undergrad education missed the boat on this one)
    * how to say no as a non-tenured teacher without feeling like you are putting your job on the line
    * how to deal with parents who think you are their worst enemy
    * how to treat all students the same even though you know you have your favorites
    * how to stay calm under the everyday pressures
    * how to leave your personal stresses at home
     
  19. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    I'll add one more to yours, if you don't mind....

    *how to leave your work stresses at work, and not take them home with you every night.
     
  20. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    Oooh...thats a good one. My dad and I used to annoy the h*** out of my stepmom when we were both teaching and I lived at home. Dinner conversation was always full of gripes and things. It drove her crazy!
     
  21. little317

    little317 Groupie

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    It seems like I struggled the most with these things that college never taught me how to do, or gave me a good dose of observations in.

    juggling your time with actual teaching and the more administrative tasks
    the amount of paperwork
    how to effectively manage all that paperwork
    how student tattling can effect how your day can go and how kids perform each day
    that your district can move you around with little if any notice.
    You will not always have what you need to teach something
    parents can be either support or non existent.
    How to deal with a hostile work environment (I am thankful I work with the best team at our school!!!)
    dealing with unprofessional staff members
    That there might not be as much freedom in what you teach.
    how to keep kids engage even in the midst of numerous interruptions
    I never learned about DIBELS and how they measure teacher effectiveness with the scores (ick!)
    How to manage time to differentiate instruction.

    It sounds like a lot. I guess my main problem was that I learn through doing and watching, not reading about things. I went to a great Education Program in college, but in many of the practicums the teachers basically didn't let me do much, even when I asked.
     
  22. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    I recently found out that my parents thought I HATED my current school. I always gripe to them over the phone about things that bother me -- because they are safe (non-work related people and not local) and because they are both very supportive. I had no idea I came across that way to them.

    I'm going to try to make sure to talk about the positive things from now on. I truly had no idea I was "bringing my stress home with me."
     
  23. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    My dad's school was the bad one...I had a few rowdy kindergarteners my first year and then hated my principal at my current job...luckily she's gone!!

    But they know I love what I do...my stepmom often says she could never do what I do. She just hears my stories of 3rd grade and cringes at the thought of never sitting down or playing detective. :)
     
  24. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    You don't always have the freedom to teach the way you want--scripted curriculums and district mandates often control the learning in the classroom.
     
  25. Dzenna

    Dzenna Groupie

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    Parent/Teacher Conferences. How to discuss children needing additional help or suggest testing for possible disabilites. How to handle crying. How respond to whacko parents.
     
  26. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    You may not be in the same grade/school/room through your first year to your last year.
     
  27. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    Flexibility is key, even when you don't feel like being flexible. And lesson plans are just guides...they are not written in stone.
     
  28. Ms Petunia

    Ms Petunia Rookie

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    Classroom management .... especially dealing with challenging behavior problems. I was once told by my college professor in my Bachelors program that it cannot be taught because it can only be learned through experience. I disagree. My advice would be to attend workshops/trainings that help in understanding and dealing with student behavior problems. It is extremely difficult to teach a class of 20+ students when one child is distruptive. It takes away precious teaching/learning time in the classroom
     
  29. Ms Petunia

    Ms Petunia Rookie

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    Opps the above somehow posted to the wrong post. It was suppose to go to "what they didn't teach you in college.
     
  30. Ms Petunia

    Ms Petunia Rookie

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    Classroom management .... especially dealing with challenging behavior problems. I was once told by my college professor in my Bachelors program that it cannot be taught because it can only be learned through experience. I disagree. My advice would be to attend workshops/trainings that help in understanding and dealing with student behavior problems. It is extremely difficult to teach a class of 20+ students when one child is disruptive. It takes away precious teaching/learning time in the classroom
     
  31. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Oh, how about dealing with new rules that come out of nowhere and make it harder to do your job...like here's your 500 sheets of copy paper. That's all you get for the rest of the year....HUH...I wouldn't use so much paper if the kids had BOOKS!!!!!
     
  32. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    It did post in that thread...
     
  33. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    OK, you guys have basically described everything I could possibly think of... kind of makes one wonder why the college profs don't think of these things. Considering that many of mine have been elementary classroom teachers themselves, they really seem out of touch.

    There should be a course on reconciling your own teaching beliefs with the demands of your superiors...
     
  34. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Huh? Don't want to be too sarcastic but how long has this ex-spurt had not only head in sand but upper torso as well?
     
  35. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    When I was taking my teacher's classes, I had a teacher (she was an instructor, not a professor) who would never teach us some things, but then would test us on it and use the grade! One time, she handed out handwriting paper and had us all print the upper and lower case alphabet and the numbers 0-9. She then graded us based on how well we did! She never taught any methods of handwriting, or had us research it -- just tested us on it. It wasn't in the course description or on the syllabus. Oh yes, and it had to be the old "ball and stick" method -- if you had learned D'Nealian, you were screwed!

    This teacher had been a kindergarten teacher 20 years ago, and still taught that kindergartens should have a housekeeping area, doll center, play food area, etc etc (totally non-academic based...all social) and such. None of our local districts even allow a housekeeping area in kindergarten! They don't even have it in preK anymore. This is part of the problem. Many of the people who are teaching teachers how to teach haven't taught children in 20 years! (try saying that 5 times fast!)
     
  36. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    One theory to possibly explain the mediocrity in teacher training is the Dilbert Principle - a spin-off of Peter Principle. Dilbert Principle basically states: "... companies tend to systematically promote their least-competent employees to management (generally middle management), in order to limit the amount of damage they're capable of doing."
     
  37. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    Many of the people who are teaching teachers how to teach haven't taught children in 20 years!
    Many of the people who are teaching teachers how to teach haven't taught children in 20 years!
    Many of the people who are teaching teachers how to teach haven't taught children in 20 years!
    Many of the people who are teaching teachers how to teach haven't taught children in 20 years!
    Many of the people who are teaching teachers how to teach haven't taught children in 20 years!

    It was easy;)
    What they didnt teach me in college?
    How much love kids can give and how great it the job would be even
    after almost 3 decades.
     
  38. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    :2up::wow:
     
  39. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    And here is the problem I believe with much of what is going on in our culture. Who on earth decided that a FIVE YEAR OLD can't play ever. It is extremely sad that then that someone decided a THREE YEAR OLD can't have that either. Luckily all of our PreK/Head Starts have these centers still. These kids learn so much through play - It is sad and depressing that kids aren't learning to play and be social and interact with others- then we complain that kids are growing up to fast and fighting to much in the upper grades- but we are FORCING them to grow up- and we sure aren't teaching social skills in many younger classrooms--we're taking away their ability to be children- it's so sad. The day we get rid of centers in Pre-K maybe the day I throw in the towel and seek employment elsewhere.


    As for what I didn't learn in college- how bout how to run a room that should have 4 adults in it by yourself - and manage to run circle time while serving lunch effectively - while doing all the paperwork it takes to be the special ed teacher in a federally funded program in a large urban public school. (Three different sets of paperwork- because none of the systems "talk"). I'd also say I didn't learn to work in larger classrooms- but I got that experience outside of my formal schooling in college.
     
  40. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    I think it is the trickle down effect from the wealthy class that believe they can create geniuses from listening to Mozart in the womb, flash cards at 2, getting into the RIGHT pre-school, etc etc. This preoccupation with "how smart the rest of the world is" gets to me. We didn't become the most technologically advanced country playing follow the leader. We did it because we let people dream and reason and think for themselves. We also let them realize the fruits of their labor. But most of you know my position. We have let the politicians run our schools and it shows.
     
  41. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    I'm not sure we are the most technologically advanced society- that would be China or Japan- We have a professor at our grad school from China and she did a guest lecture of how schools their contrast ours and there are a lot of differences. I hope I remember this accurately


    All schools - public and private have the same curriculum and books
    Kids are responsible for keeping the school clean - they have teams and rotate which team cleans the bathrooms, etc
    They have a 10 minute recess break after every class
    They have 2 40 minute recess breaks a day - with one of these being a large group exercise time
    They have a 90 minute lunch
    Teachers have 40% of their paid day to do work at school and don't take work home
    Math is done starting with hands on and then moving to the symbolic. They do sort of what we would call CGI math here.
    There are almost 40 kids in a class
    There are teams in classes too and the higher kids are responsible for making sure the lower kids learn the lessons
    She said their preschools and kindergartens were vastly different too- but didn't show us- so I don't know if they are play based or not.


    Our mayor is definitely running our schools. He is slowly taking them and turning them into charter schools. Our schools are A MESS- -
     

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