Why ‘Most’ Teacher Education Programs are a Waste of Valuable Time

Yes, I said it.

“Most” teacher education programs are a colossal waste of time.

Why?

Teacher education programs spend too much time on the practice of teaching in terms of curriculum and lesson planning.  Ask a recent graduate about “assessment” and “instruction” and a whole long list of education buzz words and (“differentiation” how could I forget it? lol) they will be able to rattle off definitions, philosophers, and theories.

Forget THEORIES.  Theories aren’t helping me or my colleagues teach the nation’s crazy (did I say it?) children!

Yes, I’m giving you the real deal.  There is a lot wrong with today’s children.  Mind, body, spirit–everything.

Teacher education programs need to change with the times.  What new teachers need to know (and the older ones too) is how to deal with the human element of teaching.  It’s not about Darwin or Piaget, its about how do I teach kids who seem to be crazy?  (Because I’m not crazy yet, but I’m starting to feel it…)

If only we knew, if on-ly-we-knew.

Alright, maybe, just maybe “crazy” is a strong word (::cough::).  But the bottom-line is, we call people crazy when we don’t understand them.  When we don’t understand their actions or what they say.  When we don’t understand their experiences.  When our own personal experiences do not align or allow us to have empathy or sympathy for an individual.

All of us teachers with our Bachelors and Masters Degrees have somehow made it through the educational system unscathed.  We are the chosen ones who were the teacher’s pet or just had that natural aptitude to do well on the test.  (Or had the foresight to get a degree or certification in a relatively secure career field.)

If we made it through the system, somehow impacted in such a way that we actually want to return and teach, how could we possibly understand the minds of children who hate school, themselves, their parents, their teachers and/or their communities?

Teacher education programs need to step up.

Take the teacher out of the college classroom and put them, day ONE, into classrooms all over the country and especially in both privileged and underprivileged schools.

Learn about the disparities.

Learn about how economics plays in this education game.

Learn about how real teachers find a way to command their classrooms and manage to get some knowledge into their students’ brains.

Learn about how to survive the emotional and psychological pain of sometimes wanting to give up, throw the towel in, and go get a nice pair of heels (or loafers fellas) and take that desk job.

Lesson planning never helped a teacher one day survive this process of teaching and learning without having learned the above and some other real-world, real-deal skills.

What would happen if we recruited master teachers from all over the country and gave them each a couple million dollars to fix our schools?  What a wondrous day that would be…

Or forget the millions.  Just recruit the master teachers.  Not the businessmen or the supervisors.  Of course they play their roles, but if only teachers could be empowered enough to take control of this problem and use the power of synergy to bail out the sinking ship of our educational system.

Listen, this education problem is everyone’s problem and responsibility:  politicians, local governments, communities, businesses, school districts, parents, and principals.  But if teachers, not Hollywood (no offense “Waiting for Superman”) could be the driving force behind this thing, we could go the distance.

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