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Re: [teacherartexchange] Being a New teacher


From: Patricia Knott (pknott_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Fri Jul 14 2006 - 14:35:59 PDT

I can't help but continue the conversation about what may be wrong
with student teaching programs. I fully sympathize with Diane when
she says:
> Right now, the whole university thing seems to be a right of
> passage...and then you can get
> out and learn how to teach. Maybe art teachers get a clue about
> doing this effectively after about 10 years or so.
> As a teacher educator the state of affairs is disheartening.

I too think the time frame is miserable. Art certification is K-12
- so they get so many weeks in elementary and so many weeks in
secondary and as Michal says they are not there in the beginning when
we establish the class atmosphere. Legally I can never leave an
uncertified teacher totally in charge of the room. So my presence is
always there, and my kids behave according to my presence. Also, I
find the college kids really don't understand what a curriculum is.
They know lessons and units, but don't know the big picture and they
don't know how things fit together in sequence. Everything gets
personalized to what they want to do and they don't know how to look
at the curriculum expectations. Student teaching is--- here's my
chance to show off with my best lesson but when it goes wrong?????

I think it is rather shameful that we teachers live under the
threats and demands of things like NCLB and Standards, and yet our
student teachers get a couple of weeks to only barely get their feet
wet. We are faced with so many kinds of problems and expected to be
the cure-all for all that's wrong. The paper work alone, for dealing
with special circumstances, is a course in itself. Perhaps the
statistics on why so many new teachers leave within a short time is
indicative to something the universities need to look at. I KNOW
it's lack of preparation and experience that causes this flight.

One of the big problems I see is lack of communication between the
teacher, student and university supervisor. I came across a study
some time ago about innovations in the pre-service program. The
communication was daily and blogs were used for teacher-student,
student- supervisor, teacher-supervisor and student -student.
Communication was the key... and a safe place to vent and cry and
moan without threat of repercussion.

I expect the bottom line is still lack of respect for the teaching
profession and the skills it takes. One of my colleagues told me
after a visit to China, that there teachers are regarded as the
highest profession - higher than doctors, because "somebody has to
teach the doctors."
Doctors spend months in residencies. Our teachers a few weeks.... and
then they are expected to know it all.

My experience with school district New Teacher Induction programs is
a brief whirlwind of information. If taken seriously there would be
no time to comprehend it. So the new teachers put in the time and
then get to what is really important - their classroom. But on top of
the daily grind, they are expected to attend these meetings, take
grad classes to meet state requirements for full certification,
participate in after school activities and then probably have another
job because their meager salary is not enough to live on.

I just think the student teacher thing has to be more than a few
hours of observing and a few weeks of practicing. Even for those that
are "natural" teachers, the time is suspect.


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