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Old 11-06-2011, 08:02 AM
 
Location: Summerville, SC
3,383 posts, read 6,851,621 times
Reputation: 1434

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Quote:
Originally Posted by wyolady View Post
Ivorytickler, I believe you are an engineer and came to education from industry, right?!? Did you have to take pedagogy classes and do student-teaching before you went into the classroom?

The reason I ask is that my 7th grade daughter has a math teacher this year who was an engineer and came from industry. They hired her before she had taken any pedagogy classes OR student taught. She is taking her 1st pedagogy class now...I know because she sent home a permission slip for me to sign allowing her to videotape her lessons to prove her "student teaching".

The problem is she has absolutely no knowledge of how students learn. On multiple occasions, my daughter (who is very good at math) has learned a new concept in class, but is frustrated because she can't seem to get the right answer. When she and I do it together, I walk her through the steps and every single time, there is at least 2 or 3 steps this "expert engineer" teacher failed to show to the class.

When I've spoken with this teacher about it, she always says "Oh, I thought 7th graders knew how to do that. I guess I just realized they weren't taught that yet." When I refer her to the curriculum map our district has for all teachers telling them when skills are taught so they can articulate their curriculum, she tells me she doesn't know how to read a curriculum map and doesn't know what the term articulate means.

At least she is honest....but just because you have expert content knowledge doesn't mean you will be good at teaching it to our students.
I had an ex-astronaut canidate(didnt make it) that had like 2-3 doctorates, was an ex fighter pilot, teach a relatively basic college level math class.

LOL, I and a few other students were fine since we knew the math, but the other half the class was lost. He was a horrible teacher, and he couldn't go far enough back in math to be able to explain it. My part of the class taught it to the rest of the class.

Sent from my autocorrect butchering device.
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Old 11-06-2011, 08:41 AM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,393 posts, read 29,736,370 times
Reputation: 14499
Quote:
Originally Posted by wyolady View Post
Ivorytickler, I believe you are an engineer and came to education from industry, right?!? Did you have to take pedagogy classes and do student-teaching before you went into the classroom?

The reason I ask is that my 7th grade daughter has a math teacher this year who was an engineer and came from industry. They hired her before she had taken any pedagogy classes OR student taught. She is taking her 1st pedagogy class now...I know because she sent home a permission slip for me to sign allowing her to videotape her lessons to prove her "student teaching".

The problem is she has absolutely no knowledge of how students learn. On multiple occasions, my daughter (who is very good at math) has learned a new concept in class, but is frustrated because she can't seem to get the right answer. When she and I do it together, I walk her through the steps and every single time, there is at least 2 or 3 steps this "expert engineer" teacher failed to show to the class.

When I've spoken with this teacher about it, she always says "Oh, I thought 7th graders knew how to do that. I guess I just realized they weren't taught that yet." When I refer her to the curriculum map our district has for all teachers telling them when skills are taught so they can articulate their curriculum, she tells me she doesn't know how to read a curriculum map and doesn't know what the term articulate means.

At least she is honest....but just because you have expert content knowledge doesn't mean you will be good at teaching it to our students.
Yes. I have a masters in teaching and a masters in engineering.

What you describe is individual. I've always been very good at teaching what I know to others. I was the go to person all through engineering school. I often held my own, impromptu, classes in the student union when my classmates didn't get what was taught in class. I was one of the most requested tutors when I was getting my associates degree. I was highly commended by the board of education for the number of my students who passed their classes and for working, successfully, with a student who was legally blind and taking calculus. He got an A but he was smart. He just couldn't see. My pedagogy classes did not impact how I teach steps. I teach them all because you need them all. If anything, I teach all the steps to a fault. I tell my students that we learn things the long way first and they can start cutting out steps ONLY after they understand those steps. I find, you can, often, skip the steps you know well...unfortunately, many of my students want to jump right to the short cut without understanding first why it's a short cut. This is what I HATE about Everyday Mathematics. It teaches the short cuts that someone who really understands math would use without the understanding part...I think that part is critical. I want my students to think.

This is one of the things I think frustrates my students. I expect them to understand not just regurgitate. I don't hand out short cuts you can memorize until the next test. You have to figure those out on your own and you won't if you don't understand the material. Sometimes, I'll have students figure them out and they'll ask why I didn't teach it that way in the first place. I then ask them how much they learned on their way to finding that short cut. They, usually, just smile....

I'm sure I teach my content well and thoroughly (Evidenced by a sharp jump in passing scores when I taught the lower level kids at the charter school I used to teach at and a drop right back to where they were before I got there the year after I left.). Issues my students have have nothing to do with me not teaching steps. This is why I click so well with the special ed kids. I think this approach kind of bores the brighter kids who get the material the first time it's taught though but I have to teach all of my students not just them but they're, usually, up to the challenge of figuring out the shortcuts on their own, though I do make them explain the shortcuts to me before I allow them to use them.

My issue, as a teacher, is disruptive kids and part of my problem is I'm not quick enough to call home. I keep thinking that at 17 they SHOULD know how to behave and this should be worked out at school but I just end up making problems for myself. I need to start calling home the first time there's a problem instead of treating my students like adults. This stems from coming from a professional world. In the real world, if someone is texting during your speech, you ignore them. You talk to the people who want to listen. In school, it's no child left behind so you can't do that. I'm in my fourth year and still don't have the texters and talkers high enough on my radar to prevent other problems later. And they blame me when they didn't get what I was teaching.

I had one girl, last year, who, constantly, texted. One day, during a test review, she blurted out "WHEN did you teach us THAT?" and about 1/2 of the class answered, in unison, "When YOU weren't paying attention". Unfortunately, I'm conditioned to ignore people who aren't paying attention and to not take it personally but I'm part baby sitter as a teacher and I have to figure out how to both teach and keep kids from texting, talking, drawing pictures, staring at the wall....whatever they do when they aren't paying attention to me.

To be honest, I find most engineers make good teachers. Most of us are anal about taking the time to, truely, understand what we've learned (two of my measureables were "teach" and "learn" when I was in industry. I was expected to teach every engineer and tech in the lab something and to learn something from everyone in the lab.). I'm helpless without understanding. I couldn't memorize and regurgitate to pass a test to save my life. I have to understand to do. Fortunately, understanding comes in handy in teaching. Pedagogically, my issues are on the other end of the spectrum. I expect students to think. I ask questions you can't answer without thinking. Many of them don't want to think. They just want a rubric and to check things off until they're done and then wonder why they didn't get an A.

I can think of two instances where missing steps was an issue for me. One is solving ratios like x/y = a/b for, say, x. My students could not follow me when I simply multiplied both sides by y. Turns out they were taught, in algebra, to cross multiply to get xb = ay and then divide by b. I have to do this as a two step operation or they don't get it. The other is I have a habit of canceling units on both sides of the equation but my students seem to need to see them one on top of the other to cancel. That's it in four years. I'd say I do pretty good at getting the necessary steps in.

My content knowledge or teaching is not the issue. My issue is disruptive students and how to handle them without kicking them out of my classroom (the office doesn't like that). I would LOVE to work for a school where teachers can just send disruptive kids to detention for the rest of the hour. I find you only have to kick one or two out and the rest step in line.

Last edited by Ivorytickler; 11-06-2011 at 09:15 AM..
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Old 11-06-2011, 11:20 AM
 
15,762 posts, read 13,199,215 times
Reputation: 19651
Quote:
Originally Posted by MustangEater82 View Post
Links supporting data?

Sent from my autocorrect butchering device.
Forgive me for assuming you read the OP before making a comment.

The link from the OP. Do you really need me to post it again?
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Old 11-06-2011, 11:23 AM
 
15,762 posts, read 13,199,215 times
Reputation: 19651
Quote:
Originally Posted by NJBest View Post
The median salary at our district is $69,965. 50% of teachers are making more than that. I'd say that's very fair.
I teach in NJ as well, at one of the best funded schools in the state, and our median salary is well under that.

This must be one of the best teacher salary guides in the state, or it is a very age skewed school.
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Old 11-06-2011, 11:26 AM
 
Location: North
98 posts, read 122,803 times
Reputation: 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivorytickler View Post
Depends on who you ask. I can tell you this, I was hired because of them but that would not have been the case in all districts. Most districts value the jack of all trades general science certificate, over subject matter expertise, because with that, a teacher can teach all science in grades 6-12 and that makes scheduling easier.

Do I need them? I'd say yes because I think you need very strong content knowledge to teach science at the high school level. I'm amazed by how many mistakes I find in books and professionally done videos (Bill Nye the science guy...isn't always right. (for example, his video on bright line spectra talks about atoms giving off light when the electric current makes them come apart and they go back together ... ... which is, blatently, wrong. They don't come apart.)

I also have a very good understanding of what my students will need in the real world because I came from the real world. One thing they're lacking is the ability to self assess or perform a task without someone giving them a check list to follow. In other words, the ability to think for themselves.
Would it cost more to raise teacher wages to match engineers in industry, or to draft better educational materials?
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Old 11-06-2011, 11:29 AM
 
24,511 posts, read 34,167,001 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lkb0714 View Post
I teach in NJ as well, at one of the best funded schools in the state, and our median salary is well under that.

This must be one of the best teacher salary guides in the state, or it is a very age skewed school.
I'll admit that our district is above average in terms of funding and salaries... but the for the state, it's $57,597.
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Old 11-06-2011, 11:32 AM
 
15,762 posts, read 13,199,215 times
Reputation: 19651
Quote:
Originally Posted by NJBest View Post
http://www.city-data.com/township/We...Mercer-NJ.html

Most teachers live in surrounding cheaper towns.

NJ Teacher Results

I only looked at math teachers in the high school, as a subset since we know how math is the most in demand field, therefore they are likely paid the most with the highest degrees.

Average salary was $67K but average years as a teacher (and many math teachers come from other fields BEFORE they teach) was 14 years. Oh and the vast majority of those teachers had masters degrees.
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Old 11-06-2011, 11:33 AM
 
15,762 posts, read 13,199,215 times
Reputation: 19651
Quote:
Originally Posted by NJBest View Post
I'll admit that our district is above average in terms of funding and salaries... but the for the state, it's $57,597.
Source?

And considering our cost of living, our consistent ranking at the top of the education lists and how many of our teachers have advanced degrees, that is not much money at all.
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Old 11-06-2011, 11:35 AM
 
Location: Middle America
35,822 posts, read 39,431,510 times
Reputation: 48626
Quote:
Originally Posted by MustangEater82 View Post

I personally do not think if starting tomorrow all teachers got $15k more a year our school performances would improve.
Neither do I, mainly because teacher performance is not the sole factor playing a role in student achievement. More factors, most of them of a complex sociological nature, would have to be addressed than simply what goes on, teaching-wise, to adequately address the breakdown in student performance. You can't address only one piece of the puzzle and expect overall solutions. But you won't see any improvement by failing to address any of it, either, and lower salaries do have the effect of pricing out talented would-be educators who can use their talents elsewhere for better compensation. As in many other settings, there is a "You get what you're willing to pay for" element at work, and it's pervasive in some settings more than others. Not everyone will be a martyr for their work, and those that will won't necessarily do it forever.

Can't speak to the union issue, as I teach in a private setting without union/collective bargaining presence.
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Old 11-06-2011, 11:42 AM
 
15,762 posts, read 13,199,215 times
Reputation: 19651
Quote:
Originally Posted by MustangEater82 View Post
Another question I have. If you asked 100 people on the street(not one teacher), if they thought they deserved more money for the work they do, and if they thought there responsibilities haven't increased as well... What do you think the answers would be?

So it pointless to ask any profession if they deserve more money. They will argue and bring up points displaying there why they deserve more until the end of the world.
Except look at the teachers here. We have not demanded "more" money in the slightest. All we have done is defend the amount of money we DO get. The vast majority of teachers who have responded have said their compensation is fair. So apparently you are either wrong (since teachers are not saying the deserve more) or teachers are some special subset.

Quote:
It's about supply and demand.

I personally do not think if starting tomorrow all teachers got $15k more a year our school performances would improve. All that would mean is teachers have been sandbagging this whole time and those type of employees won't change. This isn't a knock on teachers, its a observation of employees everywhere. An open question to teachers, are the schools full of shotgun teachers protected by unions?

So either our teachers now suck and our horrible, or there is a different problem causing our schools to fail. There are threads and threads on here explaining why our teachers do not suck and how they are some of the hardest workers out there, with amazing educations.

So that leaves us with the other answer.... There is a problem with the system. Throwing money at teachers won't fix the system. We need to identify the problem, discover a solution, and focus our money and efforts on that.

That is how the problem will be fixed and our schools improve.

Sent from my autocorrect butchering device.

Teacher quality is the next biggest factor effecting student success after those related to SES. The reality is that many of us were willing to sacrifice SOME of our incomes in private industry to teach when we were being wooed to classrooms by good benefits and decent salaries because we liked teaching but now when we are losing those benefits and salaries the best and brightest of us, who inherently have more options, are leaving in droves.

If you cannot at least narrow the gap between what we make in private industry and what we make (including benefits) as teachers, you will not be able to attract quality teachers in the numbers necessary to enact change.

So while I agree most of the problems wrong with education are societal, there is a real gain to be made by increasing teacher quality across the board.
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