How well did your preservice program prepare you for the classroom?

Very well. It may be impossible to foresee every challenge a teacher will encounter, but I had the experience and resources to respond to students' diverse needs and adapt to new demands.
18% (18 votes)
Fairly. I was somewhat prepared for the classroom, but I had a steep learning curve. I struggled to handle all the demands on me and meet my students' varied needs. The first couple of years could have gone more smoothly if I'd had better preparation.
42% (42 votes)
Poorly. What I studied in my preparation program had little relevance to the real demands of teaching. I felt unsuccessful as a teacher during my first year or two, and my students may have suffered as a result of my inexperience.
34% (34 votes)
None of the above. (Comment below.)
5% (5 votes)
Total votes: 99

Comments (27)

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Richard (not verified)

Teacher Preparation

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I completed my teacher preparation between 1978-1982. I had very grounded education professors who did an excellent job teaching me educational theory. However, my practical experience was very limited. I saw the inside of a classroom twice during my teacher preparation program. First, during my Intro to Education course and at the end when I student taught. Schools and classroom were very different in those days and more practical experience was probably not as much of a concern.

George (not verified)

teacher preparation

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Hi: I was a lateral entry teacher so I had no "standard" teacher training, only over two decades of work experience, largely as a supervisor and manager. Classroom management is no worse for me, however, than for the teachers I work with, some with over 30 years experience. Currently, I also instruct new-teachers-to-be for NCTeach, letting them know what to expect and how to deal with much of it. As I watch my wife work through her traditional coursework for teacher training (yes, we are really getting into education), I realize that the traditional training does not prepare one for the realities of the students...but I don't think anything but immersion really prepares you for this. To me, this is where an effective mentor is so important, giving the new teacher a chance to ask questions, seek support, etc.

Debbie Wagner (not verified)

Medical Science

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I an a RN and was a "Lateral Entry" teacher, therefore I had no preparation prior to entering the classroom. However, I had done student teaching as a school nurse, had volunteered in the classroom in my own children's schools, and was not 21 years old!!

My first year was interesting; I worked in a low performing school and had almost every trick in the book pulled on me. However, I had a great mentor and she was the reason I survived. I am in in my 13th year of teaching, have earned my Master's, and am a National Board Certified Teacher.

Jenny (not verified)

Current Interns

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I'm in my 10th year of teaching and I frequently work with preservice teachers from a local university. Their program places them in a school from the first day of the year until the last. They have the opportunity to see everything that goes on. I wish I had had such an extensive program when I was certifying. I feel that my program did a reasonable job, but these new teachers are infinitely better prepared than I was.

Kurt (not verified)

I too have had the same

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I too have had the same thoughts about my college education. Educators definitely learn better by doing rather than lecture after lecture. Many of the professors I had in college were intellectually very gifted, but I always felt that they probably couldn't make it in the classroom, so they became professors at a university. Learning a 100 different ways to do lesson plans sure conflicted with my experiences I had in the various schools I did my four week observations in. I too gained more from my imersions in school classrooms than in the university classrooms.

Jen (not verified)

Teacher Preservice Preparation

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I went to one of the best universities for teacher preparation. I had many field experiences, but I learned more in my first week of teaching than all four years of college combined. Teacher preparation prepares you for the methodology of teaching. You are able to learn formal lesson planning (which most of us don't use even close to) and learn about your chosen content areas. You gain insight into brain development and current teaching practices. Throughout my college coursework, a theme that was hammered into our brains was that students "learn best by doing." This also holds true for educators. Aren't we, too, learners in our trade?

I had field experiences in each grade level that I am certified to teacher under my licensure. This prepared me more for my time in the classroom than any lectures could have come close to. Learning about how to effectively deal with children and, more importantly, gaining the confidence to be a leader in their education, came with time. It takes practice to get better at anything we do in life. I think teacher preparation should involve more of a long mentorship with a current teacher with similar certification, mirroring the first year teacher mentorship that my state requires.

grettak (not verified)

teacher preparation

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My college coursework gave me the framework on which to build my expertise as a teacher, but it did not prepare me for what I must do as a teacher.

The methods classes and instrumental pedagogy classes were taught by instructors who were not impacted daily by the setting in which I actually would work, so there were the expected weaknesses that scenario causes.

After the shock of the first year of teaching, I began to realize that I had so much more to learn from sheer teaching effort. No course could have proven that, nor provided that understanding. I would not have listened anyway, because back then, I thought I knew everything.

As the years continued, I reconnected with the perpetual learner in me. That is when my teaching improved, my ego got out of the way, and I truly began to love what I can do as a teacher.

Nevertheless, there needs to be some designation for this aspect of teacher education, because the word "preparation" gives the impression that when one is finished with the course work, they will be "prepared" to teach. Maybe we should call it "learner preparation", since we spend the remainder of our careers learning ways to become more effective, nurturing and expert in our craft.

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