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Old 06-28-2011, 05:52 AM
 
2,612 posts, read 4,591,687 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivorytickler View Post
You cannot teach what you do not, yourself, know.
Oh, but you can. That's what textbooks are for. And just talking about K-5, the amount of actual subject knowledge taught is small enough that pretty much any adult knows it or can learn it in a few minutes. The types of subjects taught are things like reading, where the subject matter expert would be in teaching reading - not in actually reading. Even dumb teachers can do that. And don't forget all that non-textbook stuff I mentioned.

Didn't you ever take a college course with someone famous in his/her field who taught so badly that you didn't learn anything? I remember a famous historian who stood at the podium of the lecture hall mumbling incoherently into the microphone for the entire class. I took a class in grad school with a PhD who didn't even try to teach - she made up some group project and had everyone sit around in groups talking about it for the whole semester. Some days she didn't even come to class. Teaching is hard work and requires preparation, dedication, speaking skills, people skills, a someone who really likes to help people. Without those things, the teaching part just doesn't happen.
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Old 06-28-2011, 05:53 AM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,393 posts, read 29,722,259 times
Reputation: 14499
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasper12 View Post
The woman I would not pass on her student teaching, she looked good on paper, had high marks in her college classes. Should have been no problem for her to do student teaching.
1. She came to work obviously hung over, said she had the "flu".
2. She treated my para's like maids, and was rude and dismissive to them.
3. She wrote IEP goals that were so long, and convoluted, that I had no clue what they meant.
4. She yelled at a mentally retarded student.
5. She got into an argument with a parent, basically telling the Mother that her son could not learn.
6. She took a cane away from a blind student, to "show" him how to do what she wanted him to do...demonstrated what she wanted him to do, walked 20 feet away, then expected him to do what she just showed him...ummm, the kid is BLIND!

I could go on and on...believe me! Please let me know where I was even supposed to start with teaching this woman to be a good teacher. It was not going to happen. She was a perfectionist, and thought she knew everything. It would not have mattered if she was Einstein. She was not a good teacher. She got irritated if children did not do what she told them to do, how she expected it to be done. She interrupted a student learning how to sort silverware so many times, the child forgot what the task was!

Just an example of a "smart" teacher.
There are people who are idiots out there. As a teacher, I would hope you get that their existence proves nothing.

Since you would have been passing her to teach, it was appropriate to fail her. I'm not passing my kids on to something they will fail at. The kids I pass who probably shouldn't have aren't going on in chemistry anyway and even if they do, a D- says it all.

I don't believe you can teach someone to be a good teacher in the time we give to student teaching. As I said, I think teachers need to apprentice like engineers do. I think schools need to recruit the best and then invest in them.
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Old 06-28-2011, 05:57 AM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,393 posts, read 29,722,259 times
Reputation: 14499
Quote:
Originally Posted by marie5v View Post
Oh, but you can. That's what textbooks are for. And just talking about K-5, the amount of actual subject knowledge taught is small enough that pretty much any adult knows it or can learn it in a few minutes. The types of subjects taught are things like reading, where the subject matter expert would be in teaching reading - not in actually reading. Even dumb teachers can do that. And don't forget all that non-textbook stuff I mentioned.

Didn't you ever take a college course with someone famous in his/her field who taught so badly that you didn't learn anything? I remember a famous historian who stood at the podium of the lecture hall mumbling incoherently into the microphone for the entire class. I took a class in grad school with a PhD who didn't even try to teach - she made up some group project and had everyone sit around in groups talking about it for the whole semester. Some days she didn't even come to class. Teaching is hard work and requires preparation, dedication, speaking skills, people skills, a someone who really likes to help people. Without those things, the teaching part just doesn't happen.
Given I had to correct the text book I teach from 5 times this year, going as far as telling my students not to read certain sections, I disagree with you.

I disagree even if the book is right. If text books were great teachers, you wouldn't need teachers. Teachers are needed because text books are not good teachers. Teachers need to answer the questions that are not answered in the text book and catch the mistakes (common in answer keys). How are you going to do that if you, yourself, are relying on the text to teach you?

The text book is a tool it is not everything. The teacher must fill in the blanks. You cannot do that if you are relying on the text to teach you. Plus, a knowledge of where things go from here allows the teacher to choose what is really important and what can be glossed over.

IMO, this is a very naive view of teaching. Unfortunately, it's also a common belief. First and foremost, a teacher must be a subject matter expert. You cannot teach what you, yourself, do not know. You won't recognize mistakes when you see them and you won't be able to answer questions that don't have an answer in the back of the book.
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Old 06-28-2011, 06:23 AM
 
18,856 posts, read 30,469,841 times
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I was thinking about the skills needed to do my job...ost of my career I worked with children who were blind, deaf, mentally retarded, autistic, usually with other medical issues, and had any combo of the above disabilities, in any type of continuum.

I am not good at math, but I know sign language. Both ASL and Signed English. I can't diagram a sentence. But I can break down a task into 20 steps, and teach a blind, MR child how to independently find a toy in a classroom, and take that toy back to his desk to play with it.
I managed to work with para's in my claas, who became my dear friends, even the most militant parents were hardly ever confrontational to me. Administration respected me.

What my student teacher did not understand about working with SPED kids, is that a task, like sorting silverware, is not just doing the task correctly, it is engaging a student in doing an independent activity. That is eventually a potential vocational objective. Right now, I did not care if he sorted the spoons and forks correctly. It was that he sat in a chair, and did a task he liked for 30 minutes, without direct supervision. Huge sucess!! We can work on doing it right later on. She just did not get that concept. He felt good about doing a task, he did it!

I had excellent para's in my classroom, who were great teachers. They did not have fancy degrees. But they worked well with SPED kids.
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Old 06-28-2011, 07:31 AM
 
Location: Midwest transplant
1,984 posts, read 4,790,159 times
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Subject knowledge and a strong, long and rigorous student teaching experience would be my foundation for strengthening teacher education programs. 12-14 weeks in a contrived setting is just not a true picture of what teaching is~and having more than one classroom, with at least 2 cooperating/mentor teachers would be a better experience for the practice teaching experience.

During the first year, it's critical to have a supportive mentor, (not necessarily an already too busy administrator who has been out of the classroom for too long) to help observe and make suggestions, provide support and guidance for the newest teacher. Call it the "master teacher" or the "mentor" but it is an integral part of the beginning teacher's foundation in the classroom and school.
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Old 06-28-2011, 08:26 AM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,393 posts, read 29,722,259 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teachbeach View Post
Subject knowledge and a strong, long and rigorous student teaching experience would be my foundation for strengthening teacher education programs. 12-14 weeks in a contrived setting is just not a true picture of what teaching is~and having more than one classroom, with at least 2 cooperating/mentor teachers would be a better experience for the practice teaching experience.

During the first year, it's critical to have a supportive mentor, (not necessarily an already too busy administrator who has been out of the classroom for too long) to help observe and make suggestions, provide support and guidance for the newest teacher. Call it the "master teacher" or the "mentor" but it is an integral part of the beginning teacher's foundation in the classroom and school.
I agree. I do not feel I've been mentored. Mentoring has meant my "mentor" stops by and asks me how it's going. Personally, I think my mentor should be observing me teach and I should be observing her teach, which is not possible since my mentor no longer teaches. I don't feel this training process works. It's more me figuring things out by trial and error. The only feedback I get is really from two snapshots a year when my principal comes in and observes one class. I can see where if someone gets off on the wrong foot, in this profession, it might be hard to find their way to a better path.

If I had to design a teacher training program, it would involve co teaching for one year under several different teachers who are considered good teachers, followed by closely monitored invidual teaching. Unfortunately, no one will pay for this. Industry does not balk at paying promising candidates for training years but education would. Because of this you'd limit future teachers only to candidates who can afford to, literally, not work for a year. Who could arrange observing and co teaching on their own. I could not afford this so I muddle along knowing full well that I could be a great teacher by now if I'd had that kind of training.

Teaching is an odd profession. You're expected to know the job before you start and require little training. It's no wonder people tend to lump teachers into two categories: Natural teachers and not natural teachers. With no real on the job training, it's hard to become a trained teacher. Even natural teachers are just doing things their way. They just happen to have stumbled upon some that work better. Too bad they don't share.

Teaching is too solitary a profession given the stakes.

Last edited by Ivorytickler; 06-28-2011 at 08:38 AM..
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Old 06-28-2011, 11:33 AM
 
6,550 posts, read 12,614,231 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lorrysda View Post
Well, shame on you (or your teachers back then) for not "using" (or teaching the use and importance of) the process of diagramming a sentence when "speaking"...diagramming is the way one learns to use proper English for the most part. If you cannot diagram the words/phrases in the sentence then you are not using correct sentence structure. I learned to diagram sentences starting when I was in the 4th grade. I have since tried to use the diagramming as a "test" when making sure my written sentences were correctly structured throughout all my school years right up to present time. After all these years since learning correct English (over 65 years) the correct use of words in phrases, modification, etc., are ingrained. For instance, when I read any sentence that ends with a preposition I cringe. When I see any sentence using "if it was" I cringe! Once one learns correct English it becomes automatic habit.

There was once a time when TV actually used correct English...no more...I am forever correcting the language used by TV personnel and am constantly shocked by the ignorance shown. For instance, the word "data" is pronounced with the first "a" as long...not short! One of the easiest rules in correctly pronouncing words in the English language is that it takes a double consonant to break the "long" sound of a "vowel" to the short sound. Those exceptions simply have to be learned, but off hand I cannot think of one. Example: later, latter
"Shame on me."? I said I DID learn it. It was a long time ago professor. Why don't we cook up a quick trigonometry problem for you and watch you squirm a bit as you tell us how unnecessary trig is...
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Old 06-28-2011, 11:39 AM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
32,131 posts, read 39,225,649 times
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Diagramming is dead. Only one English teacher on my staff can do it, he's 66. My own kids (27 down to 14) have never done it. Whether it's a shame or not the reality is that beginning in the 1980's it started to go away. And for the record, it wasn't taught in any college teaching program (that I now of) but something passed down through the generations.

It doesn't fit into the state tests now being administered so it would have gone away anyway.
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Old 06-28-2011, 11:49 AM
 
6,550 posts, read 12,614,231 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Wallace View Post
Yes, but here's the thing: If you had to choose a teacher who was "good with kids" versus a teacher who knew her subject matter but was not spectacular with kids, I'd choose the latter. An ability to relate to kids but without the in-depth knowledge of subject matter is not much better than babysitting.
Depends on the grade level.

I'd say elementary teachers can get by with a strong understanding of the rudimentary aspects of his/her subject whereas a high school teacher requires more in-depth knowledge...

Actually that should be kind of obvious.
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Old 06-28-2011, 11:50 AM
 
6,550 posts, read 12,614,231 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marie5v View Post
I disagree with that. Just from a subject-matter learning standpoint, it runs contrary to what a lot of research shows - that children (and pretty much anyone) learn best when they feel comfortable. That means they are not afraid to take risks, make mistakes, ask questions, and so on. No one learns well in an uncomfortable environment. Depending on the age group, being comfortable might mean having a really nurturing, caring teacher, or it might mean just having a fair-minded teacher who treats everyone equally and doesn't scream.

Second, specifically with the youngest children, school is about a lot more than subject matter. Students are learning social skills, learning to be independent from parents, to trust other adults, and many other non-academic skills - that is a huge part of elementary school. A teacher who cannot relate well to children cannot be successful on any level in those grades.

For elementary school, I'd choose a total dummy with a heart of gold any day for my child, rather than a genius who was cold, uncaring or just plain mean. And I know we've all had experiences with horrible teachers who humiliated students or did other awful things, and it certainly doesn't matter in those cases how much knowledge about their subject they had. I know there is a kind of gradient where a compromise is possible, but as a rule I think teaching is much more about personality than subject knowledge - although both is obviously what makes a great teacher.
Oops, already said I guess.... :-)
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