Who trained the teachers?

In the monumental quest to improve D.C. schools, officials are collecting tons of data.  Here is a use of that information that might actually lead to genuine reforms:  evaluating not just teachers but the college departments of education that trained those teachers:

A lesser-known result of such new systems is that they are generating mountains of data that school officials are starting to use to guide key decisions, aside from which teachers to fire or reward. For instance, by matching teachers’ ratings to the universities they attended, officials are deciding which pipelines deliver the best, or worst, talent.

“Now I know the average score of each teacher from each university. Over the coming years, we will be having conversations with these institutions, saying, ‘Here’s how your people are performing,’ ” said Kamras, who declined to say which colleges were doing well or poorly. “We’ll just stop taking graduates from institutions that aren’t producing effective teachers.”

via D.C. schools to use data from teacher evaluation system in new ways.

Very often, it seems to me, teacher training programs at colleges and universities push experimental methods that don’t work, focus on theories that are not valid,  do little to actually help new teachers to manage their classrooms, and are the source of many of the problems in education today.   Am I wrong?  Are some better than others?   I’d like to hear from graduates of those programs.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • ELB

    Are some better than others? Absolutely!

    With one degree from one of the more “experiemental” universities in the Northwest, I would say that I learned more about teaching from my very literate parents, and even more from colleagues at my first teaching situation. (I taught some classes, grades 7-12, while in seminary.) As the decades went by I also took an advanced degree and served as school administrator. I truly came to value Bethany Lutheran College and Martin Luther College for the quality and competence of their graduates. Even those who didn’t involve themselves deeply in the philosophy of education were all competent at planning their teaching around a solid curriculum, managing their classrooms, effectively imparting information, and reliably recognizing differences in their students, including those that might require special teaching efforts or referral to other professionals.

    I know that at Bethany the classical approach to education is taught along with others, making it a source for teachers schools that are rediscovering teh classical model.

  • ELB

    Are some better than others? Absolutely!

    With one degree from one of the more “experiemental” universities in the Northwest, I would say that I learned more about teaching from my very literate parents, and even more from colleagues at my first teaching situation. (I taught some classes, grades 7-12, while in seminary.) As the decades went by I also took an advanced degree and served as school administrator. I truly came to value Bethany Lutheran College and Martin Luther College for the quality and competence of their graduates. Even those who didn’t involve themselves deeply in the philosophy of education were all competent at planning their teaching around a solid curriculum, managing their classrooms, effectively imparting information, and reliably recognizing differences in their students, including those that might require special teaching efforts or referral to other professionals.

    I know that at Bethany the classical approach to education is taught along with others, making it a source for teachers schools that are rediscovering teh classical model.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “We’ll just stop taking graduates from institutions that aren’t producing effective teachers.”

    This is hilarious.

    This is never going to happen.

    They are just threatening, hoping to get the colleges to knock of the nonsense and actually train teachers.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “We’ll just stop taking graduates from institutions that aren’t producing effective teachers.”

    This is hilarious.

    This is never going to happen.

    They are just threatening, hoping to get the colleges to knock of the nonsense and actually train teachers.

  • http://www.cumberlandisland.blogspot.com Adrian Keister

    My wife graduated with a B.A. in Mathematics Secondary Ed. She would be the first to tell you that her education classes were completely worthless. Only her math classes were worth anything.

    Very often, it seems to me, teacher training programs at colleges and universities push experimental methods that don’t work, focus on theories that are not valid, do little to actually help new teachers to manage their classrooms, and are the source of many of the problems in education today.

    Totally agree with this one. In my opinion, teacher training should look like this:

    1. Become a master of what you want to teach.

    2. Go through Gregory’s The Seven Laws of Teaching.

    3. Do a practical.

    I may be overstating it a bit, but not much. The rest of your training should be on the job, from teachers who’ve been doing it for a while and know what works and what doesn’t work.

  • http://www.cumberlandisland.blogspot.com Adrian Keister

    My wife graduated with a B.A. in Mathematics Secondary Ed. She would be the first to tell you that her education classes were completely worthless. Only her math classes were worth anything.

    Very often, it seems to me, teacher training programs at colleges and universities push experimental methods that don’t work, focus on theories that are not valid, do little to actually help new teachers to manage their classrooms, and are the source of many of the problems in education today.

    Totally agree with this one. In my opinion, teacher training should look like this:

    1. Become a master of what you want to teach.

    2. Go through Gregory’s The Seven Laws of Teaching.

    3. Do a practical.

    I may be overstating it a bit, but not much. The rest of your training should be on the job, from teachers who’ve been doing it for a while and know what works and what doesn’t work.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Become a master of your field, then you will have the knowledge that is needed to be imparted. Practice under the supervision of an experienced competent teacher, they will both demonstrate practical skills and help you hone your own skills. Teach and evaluate, listen to the critiques of others and consider the reasonable suggestions. I constantly evaluate how my confirmation class is going.

    My best teachers were all masters of their fields.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Become a master of your field, then you will have the knowledge that is needed to be imparted. Practice under the supervision of an experienced competent teacher, they will both demonstrate practical skills and help you hone your own skills. Teach and evaluate, listen to the critiques of others and consider the reasonable suggestions. I constantly evaluate how my confirmation class is going.

    My best teachers were all masters of their fields.

  • Joe

    I agree with subject mastery. I would suggest a much more robust apprenticeship type program. One semester of student teaching is not enough. But I would also like to see some instruction on the philosophies of teaching and learning. My experience has been that the education programs have focused to much on child management (i.e. the techniques of warehousing 25 kids at a time) and not enough on actually understanding how people learn and therefore how we must teach.

  • Joe

    I agree with subject mastery. I would suggest a much more robust apprenticeship type program. One semester of student teaching is not enough. But I would also like to see some instruction on the philosophies of teaching and learning. My experience has been that the education programs have focused to much on child management (i.e. the techniques of warehousing 25 kids at a time) and not enough on actually understanding how people learn and therefore how we must teach.

  • tdh

    My alma mater (Illinois State University) has used some data like this in fund raising calls…stating placement rate, job satisfaction, and long term success of educators who graduated from their institution. I DO think there are better colleges when it comes to teacher training…and I personally prefer those that get college students into the classroom for observation and practice as early and as often as is practical. Many universities seem to swing wildly between theories and training pracitices (ISU has had it’s times, too…) I hosted too many student teachers who were excellent writers, who could methodically walk through a prescribed lesson plan, but who had no clue how to establish rapport with their students (particulary with a group of kids) or create a connection that sparked interest in material. And I don’t want to get started on their lack of mastery of the content after about grade 3…..It so happened that the students I hosted and mentored were from a major research university that included very little time for them to discover what a classroom was like from the “other side of the desk” before committing whole heartedly to an education major. They had not necessarily discovered that they were gifted by God to be teachers, but had experience with education for 12 years of their lives and thought it a good fit career/family wise. How sad for them to discover in their last year of college that they were not really all that interested in kids and teaching after all. Hard for them to make a change that late in the game, but even harder to imagine that these teachers would be successful on any level for long….test scores do not rise or fall based on ability to write or strict adherence to a curriculum, but on the teachers ability to connect students with the curriculum in a meaningful way. If kids aren’t “buying what the teacher is selling” scores will not reflect growth any more than if the teacher is not “selling”them anything at all. I was blessed to have a few student teachers who WERE TEACHERS studying education at the college level. They connected kids with information easily and seemingly intuitively. Their written work was adequate, but didn’t rise to the technical levels of some of their peers….but they taught and did it well. They felt more like collegeagues from the get go. In my mind, they were simply codifying their gift so that the state could awar dcredentials to let them legally do what God had wired them to do in His world. Thiry years ago I would remind the student teachers that technology would simplify and even replace them to a degree in the classroom–that their writing skills would be “outsourced” to reference material available via computer (little did I know just how dramatically the internet would change lives for educators…think drop down menus with comments for report cards, the next goal on an IEP, the tracking software, the wonderful ease of communicating with families…) The skills they needed to hone were those of observation, connection, and communication and that practice happens in the classrooom, not the lecture hall. It would be really interesting to compare the long term success of teachers who feel that they teach because it is their God given vocation with those who chose education as a convenient career. Helping students think about their vocation and calling still seems to be the single most helpful thing adults can offer their teenage students and in the end is a gift to the students who eventually populate their classrooms!

  • tdh

    My alma mater (Illinois State University) has used some data like this in fund raising calls…stating placement rate, job satisfaction, and long term success of educators who graduated from their institution. I DO think there are better colleges when it comes to teacher training…and I personally prefer those that get college students into the classroom for observation and practice as early and as often as is practical. Many universities seem to swing wildly between theories and training pracitices (ISU has had it’s times, too…) I hosted too many student teachers who were excellent writers, who could methodically walk through a prescribed lesson plan, but who had no clue how to establish rapport with their students (particulary with a group of kids) or create a connection that sparked interest in material. And I don’t want to get started on their lack of mastery of the content after about grade 3…..It so happened that the students I hosted and mentored were from a major research university that included very little time for them to discover what a classroom was like from the “other side of the desk” before committing whole heartedly to an education major. They had not necessarily discovered that they were gifted by God to be teachers, but had experience with education for 12 years of their lives and thought it a good fit career/family wise. How sad for them to discover in their last year of college that they were not really all that interested in kids and teaching after all. Hard for them to make a change that late in the game, but even harder to imagine that these teachers would be successful on any level for long….test scores do not rise or fall based on ability to write or strict adherence to a curriculum, but on the teachers ability to connect students with the curriculum in a meaningful way. If kids aren’t “buying what the teacher is selling” scores will not reflect growth any more than if the teacher is not “selling”them anything at all. I was blessed to have a few student teachers who WERE TEACHERS studying education at the college level. They connected kids with information easily and seemingly intuitively. Their written work was adequate, but didn’t rise to the technical levels of some of their peers….but they taught and did it well. They felt more like collegeagues from the get go. In my mind, they were simply codifying their gift so that the state could awar dcredentials to let them legally do what God had wired them to do in His world. Thiry years ago I would remind the student teachers that technology would simplify and even replace them to a degree in the classroom–that their writing skills would be “outsourced” to reference material available via computer (little did I know just how dramatically the internet would change lives for educators…think drop down menus with comments for report cards, the next goal on an IEP, the tracking software, the wonderful ease of communicating with families…) The skills they needed to hone were those of observation, connection, and communication and that practice happens in the classrooom, not the lecture hall. It would be really interesting to compare the long term success of teachers who feel that they teach because it is their God given vocation with those who chose education as a convenient career. Helping students think about their vocation and calling still seems to be the single most helpful thing adults can offer their teenage students and in the end is a gift to the students who eventually populate their classrooms!

  • bob

    35 years of teaching and still enjoying most of it though it consumes a good part of every day …. appreciate the calling/vocational teaching that helps me rest. bob

  • bob

    35 years of teaching and still enjoying most of it though it consumes a good part of every day …. appreciate the calling/vocational teaching that helps me rest. bob

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Oh man, my wife, the teacher, should chime in on this one. But as she hasn’t yet, I will say what I’ve picked up from our conversations.

    If her experience is at all indicative (and I have no way of knowing that, though she supposedly went to one of the better programs in the state), most teaching programs are horrible. Just … horrible.

    My wife has two master’s, one in chemistry, and one in teaching — she got the former when she was on the PhD track before she quit to become a teacher (for various reasons, one of which was me). But to compare those degrees would be an insult to all the hard work she did for her master’s in chemistry.

    I am fairly certain that nearly everything she learned for her job (as a high-school math/science teacher) she learned from her undergraduate and graduate math/science education, and her stints doing TA. The work that she did for her teaching master’s, I could have done, and that without attending any classes or reading any books!

    At one point — and I am not making this up — her graduate-degree classroom went outside to draw pictures of what they saw so that they could learn that people see things differently. In a class for a master’s degree.

    Okay, maybe she picked up some ideas here and there for teaching. I’d have to ask her. But what galled me was that there were people taking these classes who (1) thought that they were hard and (2) didn’t actually have any subject-matter expertise. I mean, there are people out there who just want to teach … something, I guess … without knowing what they want to teach, or even knowing much about the topic they’ll eventually end up teaching.

    I hate to say it, but anecdotally, this seems especially true of those wanting to teach at elementary schools. Such people are typically very averse to science and math, as well. Which tends to be fairly obvious to the students they’re teaching, who also learn not to like science or math very much.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Oh man, my wife, the teacher, should chime in on this one. But as she hasn’t yet, I will say what I’ve picked up from our conversations.

    If her experience is at all indicative (and I have no way of knowing that, though she supposedly went to one of the better programs in the state), most teaching programs are horrible. Just … horrible.

    My wife has two master’s, one in chemistry, and one in teaching — she got the former when she was on the PhD track before she quit to become a teacher (for various reasons, one of which was me). But to compare those degrees would be an insult to all the hard work she did for her master’s in chemistry.

    I am fairly certain that nearly everything she learned for her job (as a high-school math/science teacher) she learned from her undergraduate and graduate math/science education, and her stints doing TA. The work that she did for her teaching master’s, I could have done, and that without attending any classes or reading any books!

    At one point — and I am not making this up — her graduate-degree classroom went outside to draw pictures of what they saw so that they could learn that people see things differently. In a class for a master’s degree.

    Okay, maybe she picked up some ideas here and there for teaching. I’d have to ask her. But what galled me was that there were people taking these classes who (1) thought that they were hard and (2) didn’t actually have any subject-matter expertise. I mean, there are people out there who just want to teach … something, I guess … without knowing what they want to teach, or even knowing much about the topic they’ll eventually end up teaching.

    I hate to say it, but anecdotally, this seems especially true of those wanting to teach at elementary schools. Such people are typically very averse to science and math, as well. Which tends to be fairly obvious to the students they’re teaching, who also learn not to like science or math very much.

  • Porcell

    While the education courses in schools of education are mostly useless, as most here are agreed, it is the teacher’s background in subject matter that is crucial.

    I would argue further that the more basic problem in education is a lack of coherent and rigorous subject matter at all grade levels. That’s why many home school and private schools teachers produce more able and knowledgeable students with little background in educational methodology. Their first task is to find excellent curriculum sources and then simply get to work with young people; this combined with an emphasis on religious and moral education aided by churches is the key to the educational and character formation of young people. It’s not rocket science.

  • Porcell

    While the education courses in schools of education are mostly useless, as most here are agreed, it is the teacher’s background in subject matter that is crucial.

    I would argue further that the more basic problem in education is a lack of coherent and rigorous subject matter at all grade levels. That’s why many home school and private schools teachers produce more able and knowledgeable students with little background in educational methodology. Their first task is to find excellent curriculum sources and then simply get to work with young people; this combined with an emphasis on religious and moral education aided by churches is the key to the educational and character formation of young people. It’s not rocket science.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    tODD, Sounds like your wife’s students are pretty lucky to have her. Doesn’t the teaching credential just seem like a sort of arbitrary barrier to entry to teaching jobs, since no one has really seemed to have shown that the credential improves student outcomes? If it is really easy to earn the credential so long as the person just goes to class and does their time, then the process, more than the knowledge, is the barrier to entry. It seems that such barriers to entry are the real wage supports in teaching rather than market forces, or sadly even competence. Does your wife get anything extra for the Chemistry MS vs the MEd. since the first seems more valuable than the second?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    tODD, Sounds like your wife’s students are pretty lucky to have her. Doesn’t the teaching credential just seem like a sort of arbitrary barrier to entry to teaching jobs, since no one has really seemed to have shown that the credential improves student outcomes? If it is really easy to earn the credential so long as the person just goes to class and does their time, then the process, more than the knowledge, is the barrier to entry. It seems that such barriers to entry are the real wage supports in teaching rather than market forces, or sadly even competence. Does your wife get anything extra for the Chemistry MS vs the MEd. since the first seems more valuable than the second?

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD references something important: At the university level, we don’t expect our teachers/professors to have had any “official,” credentialed, specialized classes or training in “teaching”–whatever that is. A Ph.D. signifies expertise in the subject material, and this expertise is the acknowledged qualification for teaching the material. Indeed, when I became a teaching assistant, I received a combined three hours (at most) of actual instruction (on how to write a lesson plan or submit grades, e.g.) before entering the classroom. This, as it happens, was enough–more than enough–because the business of teaching can only be learned via habituation and apprenticeship, by doing it yourself and by observing others. All the “pedagogy” and “educational theory” and “curriculum development” courses in the world are, and would have been in my case, so much wasted time and tuition.

    As it happens, I could easily teach secondary/high school classes in my field, and I am probably more qualified to do so than many who actually are high school teachers–but I would be prevented from doing so because I haven’t jumped through the dozens of meaningless flaming hoops that the woefully unprepared graduates of our education schools have. In fact, having browsed through the structure of many education programs (a career I considered), it seems the programs are designed to be little more than a streamlined way to jump through the hoops. It’s kind of like paying someone to do your taxes: sure, you fulfilled all the stated requirements, but you aren’t qualified to sit down and fill out the 1040 yourself, and you certainly aren’t an accountant.

    Now, obviously, being an expert, ceteris paribus, won’t make you a good teacher, but, as we seem to have learned finally, neither will endless pointless hours of “education classes.” Maybe our educational system wouldn’t be so flawed if we actually gave our teachers something to teach.

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD references something important: At the university level, we don’t expect our teachers/professors to have had any “official,” credentialed, specialized classes or training in “teaching”–whatever that is. A Ph.D. signifies expertise in the subject material, and this expertise is the acknowledged qualification for teaching the material. Indeed, when I became a teaching assistant, I received a combined three hours (at most) of actual instruction (on how to write a lesson plan or submit grades, e.g.) before entering the classroom. This, as it happens, was enough–more than enough–because the business of teaching can only be learned via habituation and apprenticeship, by doing it yourself and by observing others. All the “pedagogy” and “educational theory” and “curriculum development” courses in the world are, and would have been in my case, so much wasted time and tuition.

    As it happens, I could easily teach secondary/high school classes in my field, and I am probably more qualified to do so than many who actually are high school teachers–but I would be prevented from doing so because I haven’t jumped through the dozens of meaningless flaming hoops that the woefully unprepared graduates of our education schools have. In fact, having browsed through the structure of many education programs (a career I considered), it seems the programs are designed to be little more than a streamlined way to jump through the hoops. It’s kind of like paying someone to do your taxes: sure, you fulfilled all the stated requirements, but you aren’t qualified to sit down and fill out the 1040 yourself, and you certainly aren’t an accountant.

    Now, obviously, being an expert, ceteris paribus, won’t make you a good teacher, but, as we seem to have learned finally, neither will endless pointless hours of “education classes.” Maybe our educational system wouldn’t be so flawed if we actually gave our teachers something to teach.

  • trotk

    My belief on what would make good teachers is the following:

    Learn your subject matter really well.
    Go observe great teachers in action.
    Read the seminal works on each of the philosophies of education.
    Read Highet’s “The Art of Teaching.”
    Go teach in a school where older teachers are willing to help you figure things out.
    Reread the above mentioned material after your first year.

  • trotk

    My belief on what would make good teachers is the following:

    Learn your subject matter really well.
    Go observe great teachers in action.
    Read the seminal works on each of the philosophies of education.
    Read Highet’s “The Art of Teaching.”
    Go teach in a school where older teachers are willing to help you figure things out.
    Reread the above mentioned material after your first year.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SG (@10), my wife works at a private school, so I don’t know much about public school teachers, for what it’s worth. Technically, private schools teachers don’t need a teaching degree, though I think most private schools go ahead and require them, anyhow, if only so they can tout such a fact (that’s the problem with credentialism — it works in a marketing context). Anyhow, yes, her payscale does take into consideration her extra degree, though I forget how.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SG (@10), my wife works at a private school, so I don’t know much about public school teachers, for what it’s worth. Technically, private schools teachers don’t need a teaching degree, though I think most private schools go ahead and require them, anyhow, if only so they can tout such a fact (that’s the problem with credentialism — it works in a marketing context). Anyhow, yes, her payscale does take into consideration her extra degree, though I forget how.

  • Robin

    The biggest joke of the university is the education department. It was such a waste of my time and prepared for nothing.

  • Robin

    The biggest joke of the university is the education department. It was such a waste of my time and prepared for nothing.

  • Eric

    Both my wife and I graduating from college with teaching certificates, so I want to chime in on this one. I teach high school history and geography and from my experience, the majority of my education classes in college were a complete waste of time. However, they were mandatory because the Illinois state board of education required them. But for secondary ed, I think my school did a good job.

    But my wife’s story is different. As we’ve homeschooled our oldest child for the past two years, my wife has said repeatedly of the reading curriculum from Well Trained Mind and such, “Why didn’t they teach me this stuff in college?! It would have been so much easier to teach reading.”

    Hopefully there are some good colleges out there that are teaching teachers how to teach reading. But with seeing the reading levels of my high school kids, there can’t be many.

  • Eric

    Both my wife and I graduating from college with teaching certificates, so I want to chime in on this one. I teach high school history and geography and from my experience, the majority of my education classes in college were a complete waste of time. However, they were mandatory because the Illinois state board of education required them. But for secondary ed, I think my school did a good job.

    But my wife’s story is different. As we’ve homeschooled our oldest child for the past two years, my wife has said repeatedly of the reading curriculum from Well Trained Mind and such, “Why didn’t they teach me this stuff in college?! It would have been so much easier to teach reading.”

    Hopefully there are some good colleges out there that are teaching teachers how to teach reading. But with seeing the reading levels of my high school kids, there can’t be many.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Ah! Finally, an area in which I can speak with real authority!

    I am a teacher. I teach 7th and 8th grade foreign language, and can say for a fact that I learned much more in my time student teaching than I ever did in a college class. What is taught in most college classes for education is a bunch of psychology-driven theory that has little or no bearing on our actual job.

    I don’t want to get too far off topic here, but in fairness, let me say this: our jobs are not made any easier by unsupporting administration and parents. Just today, incidentally, I had to deal with two students who refused to work. One of them I had call home to talk to his mom. Sadly, I know for a fact that no real action will be taken on the part of the parents to support the discipline I administer here, and the students know this. One of them left my room with a smirk, because he knows that no real action will be taken on him outside of what I did. And sadly, these are not isolated incidents.

    So, along with information that many times has no real practical use, we also work against the very people who are supposed to be helping us.

    Anyway, that’s my talk.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Ah! Finally, an area in which I can speak with real authority!

    I am a teacher. I teach 7th and 8th grade foreign language, and can say for a fact that I learned much more in my time student teaching than I ever did in a college class. What is taught in most college classes for education is a bunch of psychology-driven theory that has little or no bearing on our actual job.

    I don’t want to get too far off topic here, but in fairness, let me say this: our jobs are not made any easier by unsupporting administration and parents. Just today, incidentally, I had to deal with two students who refused to work. One of them I had call home to talk to his mom. Sadly, I know for a fact that no real action will be taken on the part of the parents to support the discipline I administer here, and the students know this. One of them left my room with a smirk, because he knows that no real action will be taken on him outside of what I did. And sadly, these are not isolated incidents.

    So, along with information that many times has no real practical use, we also work against the very people who are supposed to be helping us.

    Anyway, that’s my talk.

  • Stephanie

    I’m sure some programs are better than others but, frankly, I think that the student has much more to do with what kind of teacher she or he becomes than the program. I think it is entirely possible to get a good education at most schools if you are willing to put the effort into it. I also think it is possible to skate by and do the minimum at most schools if you want. (And this holds not just for schools of education.) Dedication to the job, patience for explaining something… again… and again, the ability to deal diplomatically with Sally’s mom when she comes in demanding that you raise her precious snowflake’s grade, an eagerness to learn new ways to teach concepts, and actually caring about each student: these things cannot be easily taught. They are either a part of a prospective teacher’s personality already, or they aren’t. Subject matter mastery is, of course, important. But I had several TAs in college (many of them in math courses) that prove that it is far from the only needed skill.

    I consider both of my parents prety good teachers. I had my dad in 4th grade and avoided my mom but many of my friends had her for Algebra 2 or Math Analysis. They earned their degrees in education (elementary education in my father’s case, secondary in my mother’s) from Concordia – Seward. My mom’s master’s degree in teaching mathematics was earned 3 or so years ago at CSUN. I just don’t think that where they went to school is particularly relevant to the type of teachers they became.

  • Stephanie

    I’m sure some programs are better than others but, frankly, I think that the student has much more to do with what kind of teacher she or he becomes than the program. I think it is entirely possible to get a good education at most schools if you are willing to put the effort into it. I also think it is possible to skate by and do the minimum at most schools if you want. (And this holds not just for schools of education.) Dedication to the job, patience for explaining something… again… and again, the ability to deal diplomatically with Sally’s mom when she comes in demanding that you raise her precious snowflake’s grade, an eagerness to learn new ways to teach concepts, and actually caring about each student: these things cannot be easily taught. They are either a part of a prospective teacher’s personality already, or they aren’t. Subject matter mastery is, of course, important. But I had several TAs in college (many of them in math courses) that prove that it is far from the only needed skill.

    I consider both of my parents prety good teachers. I had my dad in 4th grade and avoided my mom but many of my friends had her for Algebra 2 or Math Analysis. They earned their degrees in education (elementary education in my father’s case, secondary in my mother’s) from Concordia – Seward. My mom’s master’s degree in teaching mathematics was earned 3 or so years ago at CSUN. I just don’t think that where they went to school is particularly relevant to the type of teachers they became.


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