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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Which programs best prepare new teachers for the classroom?

Which programs best prepare new teachers for the classroom?

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Interesting story that came out of Michigan via NPR, "Two Cities: Teacher Preparation." It asks a fundamental question, "Which programs best prepare new teachers for the classroom?" What are your thoughts? Did you feel "prepared" when you first entered the classroom? What program did you go through to teach? Pros/Cons of each? Looking back, what's the number one thing you feel is the most important thing to know when entering a classroom for the first time? And...how can we really start changing the way teachers are taught so they feel prepared for the classroom? Lots of questions..let's start some dialogue and see if we can't find some answers!

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Cheska Lorena's picture
Cheska Lorena
Science Teacher from the Capital District Region, New York

I read this article too this morning. I went through a teacher preparation and licensure undergraduate program... I can't imagine going through only five months worth of training! I did 2 practicums and student teaching, spanning 5 months each during my junior and senior years. Even with 2 years of classroom theory under my belt, my very first day in the classroom was a shock.

I think a balance between teacher programs would be the best approach. I spent too much time in the classroom learning about theories, writing about my philosophy and classroom management plan, and reading edu-related articles and books on my own time. Getting A's in the higher-ed classroom was not the same as handling real live students in a dynamic elementary, middle school, or elementary setting. It was hard because I got cocky and thought I knew everything! I needed that wake-up call; it taught me a lot about humility and I learned how to listen, observe, and apply what I learned in theory class.

Looking back now, I learned more thinking on my feet in a dynamic classroom. Pre-service teachers and teacher-trainers would benefit from a mixed model, where hands-on field experience is introduced in alignment with the background classes and not after as a culmination of the program. I found that I ended up scrapping a lot of my written undergrad work after my field trainings. It's easy to talk about ideal plans for an ideal classroom, but everything changes once you step foot in the "real world".

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