Your Teacher Training Program Sucks (Probably)

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That's the conclusion of a new report that looked at the curriculum requirements and substance of area teacher preparation programs:  Colleges blasted over teacher preparation; deans blast back Tribune:  The
report called out programs for a lack of consistency (aspiring
elementary teachers must take anywhere from 27 to 60-plus credit hours
depending on where they enroll), unfocused coursework ("too many of the
assignments were frivolous or utterly irrelevant"), too little
direction in pairing a student teacher with an effective mentor ("a
make-or-break decision") and weak admission standards for the
profession... Report takes aim at Illinois teacher training programs WBEZ:  The
National Council on Teacher Quality says that more than half the
teacher training programs it looked at in Illinois are poorly designed...  What do you think?  Are the programs that bad in general or in particular?  Do they even matter that much, compared to school-related factors teachers face once they're in the classroom? 


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  • From the report here is one of the key recommendations: "Continue to raise admissions standards until they ensure that teachers
    are truly capable of meeting the increasing demands of teaching.
    Commendably, Illinois recently raised the cut-scores on the basic skills test required for admission to education schools with the result that it allows a much smaller percent of applicants to pass. While this is a big improvement, it is not clear if the
    test now ensures that Illinois education schools select candidates from the group they should

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Maybe teachers make less money than those other professions because they get the summer off. Just a thought.

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    PLEASE .....teacher education courses ALWAYS have been considered MICKEY MOUSE courses in college .....if you're a TEACHER you're a TEACHER ...the courses are just part of the maze to get your job....some of can teach some can't .....gotta realize if you really belong in the profession !!!!!...either you have the ability or not !!!

  • I agree with the study. Neither my undergraduate or graduate program really helped me become a better teacher. I learned every single thing I know about teaching through other teachers, reading great education books and trial and error. I went to National Louis for my graduate program and the final project in our Reading and Bilingualism class was to do an oral presentation on the language groups in a particular area. It had absolutely ZERO to do with helping bilingual kids become better readers. Much like the entire program, it was a waste of time.

  • There's a lot of problems with Mr. Estvan's "analysis."

    He doesn't factor in that teachers work 3/4 year; or that the MBA degree requires more course and field work than the EdM; that tenure provides a lot more job security for teachers than private sector employees lack; that defined-benefits public pensions are superior to the defined-contributions private funds; that union cross-the-board payscales depress wages for teachers in high-demand areas; etc.

    And the sources he cites, don't match well with what the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.

  • Some times it is interesting to comment and see where it goes. This was one of those times for sure. On the MBA not for profit/government salary average of $73,125, at Access Living we have only one MBA who did make that much to start. Most MBAs that go to work in the not for profits I know of are CFOs or grants management people. Most MAs, MSWs, and M.Eds (like me) do normally make less.

    Now on the average ACT scores of teachers in IL. I think maybe too much is made of the relationship between the score and teaching without other considerations like those that I discussed. We live in a market economy and higher scoring graduates will go where the money is. Even if the salary of a teachers may be for a shorter work year than for those other professions, it is not always possible for teachers to turn that extra time into money.

    We should also all pause for a moment and think about the fact that teachers in some countries are paid relative to other professions far more than in the US. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has data on this. Comparing each country

  • Education is a much more difficult job in many ways than it has ever been, and while I don't think Higher Education Programs prepare teachers enough for the actualities of being in the classroom, I don't think all programs are a HUGE problem, but a problem indeed. Than again, I don't think any program could prepare a person for all the various hats and growing expectations that they will meet when then become actual teachers. Teaching is difficult and the rewards for all the effort and strain are not financial in nature. It takes a special person to want to become a teacher, and I think many schools are trying to make it easier to enable more people to become teachers (and make money of course). This is just one issue. You also have schools that leave teachers to flounder in isolation, demanding more of teachers (many of whom already work long hours grading, lesson planning, working on IEP's) with less supports, putting emphasis on testing, parent non-involvement or parent approved ideas of entitlement and victimization, a corrupted moral base, the spread of technology without limits/understanding (students and teachers), all of these and millions of other issues are confronting our educational system and teachers. How do you plan for that? I'm a teacher, and I really don't know how you prepare a person to handle not only the academic part, but the social part. Human beings are messy. So what is a solution?

  • One has to be careful when they compare a large, multiethnic population like the US with a much, much smaller, homogenous population like any of those of Norway, Sweden, etc. The data is skewed in a lot of ways due to these unfair comparisons, but I do have to agree that more supports and assistance for teachers would help. Not just test prep help either. Actual worthwhile programs and collaboration

  • For the most part, teacher prep has never been what it could be. I think it has improved over time, but until we take seriously the role of the teacher, teacher prep will remain less than stellar.

    A few years ago I was in Switzerland with some educators on a tour. We had dinner with a local monk who headed the parish school. We asked some questions about economics and he shared the that highest paid careers were "of course, physicians and teachers."

    We get what we pay for. However, it is possible to help our current hard working teachers improve and create classrooms that are cultures of continuous improvement.

    Come visit me at and read/respond to some of my education thoughts.

  • I will answer your question, "What do teachers have to do?" All teachers take at least three, four to five hour tests to become certified. For example, I have taken the following for my initial certificate:
    Basic Skills
    Content: English Language Arts
    For my second certificate I took the following:
    Reading Specialist

    All were passed on the first try and all were within 20pts of the 300pts needed for a perfect score.

    I hope that gives you some understanding of what we do to become certified. If only 22% pass, that should tell you how extensive the tests can be.

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