Thursday, November 18, 2010

At Long Last, A Shift in Teacher Training!

The Rookies are coming! The Rookies are coming! Well, not so fast, Spot. You're still stuck with little old me.

Ever since I got out of school, lo those many years ago, I've often thought about how very different teachers in our country should be trained. We all adapt once we're on the job. We hide under our proverbial rocks and pray no one opens our classroom doors.

But today, Spot? I was listening to Marketplace and Kai Ryssdal was reporting on the miserable state of affairs in Louisianna schools today. But then, there was that little ray of hope I always listen for. University of Louisianna at Monroe has completely revamped its teacher training program. Now honestly, it's an idea whose time has finally come.

'In my day,' we sat in stuffy classrooms, doodling and taking notes, doing anything we could do to stay awake. I didn't really take my first 'methods' class until my junior year! I remember that mostly, because I just couldn't wait. My sophomore year, I was required to observe in a classroom, and man did I lap that up! But then I waited all the way until my senior year to find myself in front of kids again.

And the sad news, Spot? Is the same system is still in place. Recently, I had a college student come in and observe in my room. She took her notes, tracked a single student and sat down and chatted with me. But that was it, Spot. And we won't see her again until her senior year. Imagine if our medical professionals, sales professionals, culinary students or trade school students operated like that. The carpenter would be able to tell you everything she/he learned about the angle one must take in lowering the hammer, but they'd never hit the nail on the head.

My hope is that America finally wakes up, cleans up teacher training programs, and places apprentice teachers out in the field. First of all, our resources are shrinking and we really could use their able hands. But more importantly, our students' needs are greater than ever before. And no child should ever have to be the one training the should always be the other way around!

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