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Old 06-28-2011, 12:57 PM
 
6,550 posts, read 12,617,627 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivorytickler View Post
You cannot teach what you do not, yourself, know. A teacher must be, first and foremost, a subject matter expert. Now, once they are, I'd agree that a teacher that makes kids feel comfortable will be able to teach more but if my choice is between one teacher who makes kids comfortable but is not a subject matter exert or a subject matter expert who might make kids less comfortable, I'm going with the latter. The simple fact the subject matter expert knows more things to teach means that more learning can take place in their class. Maybe it will and maybe it won't but the possibility is there.
But you aren't going to be teaching a 3rd grader the quadratic formula or tangent and cotangent.... Nor will they ask about it... Therefore what difference does it make if you know it?
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Old 06-28-2011, 01:01 PM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,393 posts, read 29,736,370 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhett_Butler View Post
But you aren't going to be teaching a 3rd grader the quadratic formula or tangent and cotangent.... Nor will they ask about it... Therefore what difference does it make if you know it?
I didn't say every teacher had to know everything . I said they need to be subject matter experts in what they teach.

A 3rd grade teacher needs to know more than just how to read on a 3rd grade level to teach reading to 3rd graders. They need to read well above grade level. Further, they need to know how children learn to read and they need to know how to spot common reading issues. My dd's 3rd grade teacher could read but she didn't undestand how reading should be taught nor did she recognize very common reading issues. It took Sylvan 40 sessions to correct the problems and jump her 3 grade levels in her reading ability because they know how to teach reading to kids and they can spot the problems. IMO, her teacher was not a subject matter expert. She didn't know enough to be teaching reading.

I teach chemistry. If I were not a subject matter expert I might have taught entropy the way it's presented as the book (as disorder). I didn't because I know better. There is, however, no shortage of chemistry teachers who will put up a slide, next year, showing a messy room and a clean room, side by side, and claim the messy room has more entropy (they actually have the same entropy assuming all other conditions are held constant). There is also no shortage of text books with this picture in them. This is a mistaken belief in science that just won't die because too many teachers who were not subject matter experts have taught it this way and their students are now teaching it this way and publishing books with this error in them.
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Old 06-28-2011, 01:18 PM
 
Location: Middle America
35,822 posts, read 39,431,510 times
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Strong mentoring can make all the difference in the world on whether or not a teacher progresses in the profession or becomes discouraged and leaves. The absence of seasoned support and mentoring was the main reason that I came to the decision by the end of my student teaching that I would not pursue a teaching position. I spent almost ten years in other fields before I reconsidered, and re-entered the profession.
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Old 06-28-2011, 01:28 PM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,393 posts, read 29,736,370 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TabulaRasa View Post
Strong mentoring can make all the difference in the world on whether or not a teacher progresses in the profession or becomes discouraged and leaves. The absence of seasoned support and mentoring was the main reason that I came to the decision by the end of my student teaching that I would not pursue a teaching position. I spent almost ten years in other fields before I reconsidered, and re-entered the profession.
Having worked in other professions, I can see where strong mentoring could make so much difference. Unfortunately, I don't see too many new teachers getting strong mentoring. If I survive this, I hope to be one someday.
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Old 06-28-2011, 01:35 PM
 
24,511 posts, read 34,160,783 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivorytickler View Post
Having worked in other professions, I can see where strong mentoring could make so much difference. Unfortunately, I don't see too many new teachers getting strong mentoring. If I survive this, I hope to be one someday.
It's the CYA culture that limits individuals from professionally nurturing eachother. It's sad actually.
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Old 06-28-2011, 01:37 PM
 
6,550 posts, read 12,617,627 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivorytickler View Post
I didn't say every teacher had to know everything . I said they need to be subject matter experts in what they teach.
Uh, before you start smacking yourself on the head and being disrespectful, I suggest you read what you ORIGINALLY wrote. Not your edited version. The last bolded part makes a difference in your point.

IOW, a 3rd grade reading teacher should be well-versed on reading at the 3rd grade level and how 3rd graders learn (hmmm, sounds like more methods classes on how to teach 3rd graders than actual content-area specialty, but I digress), but don't necessarily have to be able to break down the works of William Faulkner and be an "expert" in the field of English in order to teach reading on the 3rd grade level....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivorytickler
A 3rd grade teacher needs to know more than just how to read on a 3rd grade level to teach reading to 3rd graders. They need to read well above grade level. Further, they need to know how children learn to read and they need to know how to spot common reading issues. My dd's 3rd grade teacher could read but she didn't undestand how reading should be taught nor did she recognize very common reading issues. It took Sylvan 40 sessions to correct the problems and jump her 3 grade levels in her reading ability because they know how to teach reading to kids and they can spot the problems. IMO, her teacher was not a subject matter expert. She didn't know enough to be teaching reading.

Your statement here is that you need to be an expert on "How to teach reading to a 3rd grader". Well yeah. No argument there.

Your original statement implied that you need to be an expert on the SUBJECT which is false...

My point was that you don't have to be a math expert to teach 7th grade remedial math. Your counter seems to be that "No, you have to be an expert on how to teach remedial math to 7th graders."...

Ummmm, yeah, I guess that would be nice?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivorytickler
I teach chemistry. If I were not a subject matter expert I might have taught entropy the way it's presented as the book (as disorder). I didn't because I know better. There is, however, no shortage of chemistry teachers who will put up a slide, next year, showing a messy room and a clean room, side by side, and claim the messy room has more entropy (they actually have the same entropy assuming all other conditions are held constant). There is also no shortage of text books with this picture in them. This is a mistaken belief in science that just won't die because too many teachers who were not subject matter experts have taught it this way and their students are now teaching it this way and publishing books with this error in them.
But there's a difference between being a "subject matter expert" and "knowing what you're teaching" is my only point.....

Had I decided to go into teaching I most likely would have gone with American History (I decided not to teach because, quite frankly, I didn't enjoy my practicum btw...). Anyway, I did well for the most part in my schooling, but bombed a class in US Labor History and didn't fair that well in the "History of Modern France".... So maybe I wouldn't qualify as an "expert" in your book...

That said? I could still teach a small unit on US Labor History on the High School level without much difficulty. I'm not, after all, teaching them the college level version and I didn't bomb the class because I failed to understand the basics.
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Old 06-28-2011, 01:38 PM
 
7,335 posts, read 8,997,029 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Wallace View Post
I am a teacher. I have a master's degree in my content and went back for postbac certification for teaching. Since then, I have periodically taken classes for recertification.

In all honesty, education classes are minimally demanding. I found them to be primarily composed of busywork that literally could have been covered in one-fourth of the time, and the rest was simple common sense or laughably ridiculous educational theory ungrounded in reality.

I learned a vast amount from the real teachers currently teaching -- from my cooperating teacher and from the one or two actual teachers they recruited to conduct workshops on actually useful topics (e.g., classroom management). If I were to be given the responsibility for restructuring how teachers are trained, I would begin by placing student teachers with master teachers, having them learn practical elements of their discipline from other master teachers in a workshop setting, and have the lightest possible dose of educational theory.
Good post, and absolutely true; many of these Education requirements are simply ridiculous, painfully easy and have no value whatsoever; a student is better off taking more classes in the actual subject matter, and then learning about practical classroom teaching from an older, experienced professional..
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Old 06-28-2011, 01:42 PM
 
6,550 posts, read 12,617,627 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivorytickler View Post
Having worked in other professions, I can see where strong mentoring could make so much difference. Unfortunately, I don't see too many new teachers getting strong mentoring. If I survive this, I hope to be one someday.
If teaching becomes a more high-demand, well-paying occupation? Then this will all come.... But people cannot continue to demand more training for teachers without additional compensation (relative to the economy of course).

Seems more and more that people want to bash the teaching profession and current teachers and demand that they do more and more to prove their qualifications.

In the meantime they ignore the fact that there is a shortage of teachers that are willing to put themselves through the CURRENT requirements in order to enter the teaching profession at current salaries. How would simply increasing the requirements to become a teacher (all else remaining equal) make MORE people want to become teachers?

Of course the answer is that it wouldn't.

Not really lecturing YOU here as I think you'd agree on this?
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Old 06-28-2011, 01:47 PM
 
6,550 posts, read 12,617,627 times
Reputation: 3152
Quote:
Originally Posted by MassVt View Post
Good post, and absolutely true; many of these Education requirements are simply ridiculous, painfully easy and have no value whatsoever; a student is better off taking more classes in the actual subject matter, and then learning about practical classroom teaching from an older, experienced professional..
Frankly a lot of it is philosophy too.... It was the most difficult part to stomach in the classes I took. Philosophies on how we have to essentially meet the children in their learning environment and coddle them in order to get them to come to the table and be receptive to learning and such....

IMO a lot of this "philosophy" is hogwash. You crack the whip a bit and restore discipline to the teaching environment and much of this will take care of itself without having to sink to the level of allowing kids to use I Phones to access research data over a wireless network, etc... (maybe that's just me?).
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Old 06-28-2011, 02:07 PM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,393 posts, read 29,736,370 times
Reputation: 14499
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhett_Butler View Post
Uh, before you start smacking yourself on the head and being disrespectful, I suggest you read what you ORIGINALLY wrote. Not your edited version. The last bolded part makes a difference in your point.

IOW, a 3rd grade reading teacher should be well-versed on reading at the 3rd grade level and how 3rd graders learn (hmmm, sounds like more methods classes on how to teach 3rd graders than actual content-area specialty, but I digress), but don't necessarily have to be able to break down the works of William Faulkner and be an "expert" in the field of English in order to teach reading on the 3rd grade level....




Your statement here is that you need to be an expert on "How to teach reading to a 3rd grader". Well yeah. No argument there.

Your original statement implied that you need to be an expert on the SUBJECT which is false...

My point was that you don't have to be a math expert to teach 7th grade remedial math. Your counter seems to be that "No, you have to be an expert on how to teach remedial math to 7th graders."...

Ummmm, yeah, I guess that would be nice?




But there's a difference between being a "subject matter expert" and "knowing what you're teaching" is my only point.....

Had I decided to go into teaching I most likely would have gone with American History (I decided not to teach because, quite frankly, I didn't enjoy my practicum btw...). Anyway, I did well for the most part in my schooling, but bombed a class in US Labor History and didn't fair that well in the "History of Modern France".... So maybe I wouldn't qualify as an "expert" in your book...

That said? I could still teach a small unit on US Labor History on the High School level without much difficulty. I'm not, after all, teaching them the college level version and I didn't bomb the class because I failed to understand the basics.
Yes, SUBJECT matter experts. I never said experts in everything nor did I imply it. When NCLB called for teachers to be subject matter experts, no one assumed they meant all subjects. Seriously, if that's what you thought I meant, why didn't you call me out for not being an expert in everything?

Teachers do need to be subject matter experts BEYOND what they teach. This is understood at the college level. There, no one would accept a professor saying he could just use the book to teach. It takes a masters degree to teach on the undergrad level and a PhD to teach on the graduate level and professors are subject matter experts well beyond what they teach. The same should be expected at the high shcool level. Unfortunately, often teachers have general degrees and no area of expertise.

Last edited by Ivorytickler; 06-28-2011 at 02:16 PM..
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