In which I rant about incompetence

I am currently in a M.Ed. program, majoring in Secondary Education. The program is mostly for career-changer-types who didn’t major in education for their undergrad, but are now earning their teaching certification. A teacher prep program at a major US university would have some of the best teachers to pass on their knowledge, right?

Nope.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m still early in the program, so this is in no way a condemnation of all the professors here. I think I’ll actually like my methodology teacher, in fact. But there is this one…

Let me give you an example. Twenty minutes into our first day of class, he starts explaining one of our assignments, which involves a class presentation. He tells us, make it Socratic. Ask lots of questions. Involve the class. Good, good… But then I realize no one but him had spoken that entire period. Not a word. If class discussion is so important, why does it seemingly not matter whether or not the class speaks? WHY DON’T YOU TEACH BY EXAMPLE, YOU TEACHER OF TEACHERS?

“It would seem that you have no useful skill or talent whatsoever,” he said. “Have you thought of going into teaching?”
― Terry Pratchett

The old adage says, “Those who cannot do, teach.” As a future teacher… I have to agree. Too many are pushed into the field of education simply because no other field will take them. Like my education professor who I hear has never actually taught K-12. This is especially the case in the maths and sciences, where someone with those abilities could make far more than a teacher’s salary. Those who should be teaching the rising generation usually aren’t.

Check out these stats from the National Center for Education Statistics. (The data is a bit old, but the argument stands.) Scroll down a bit and check out the SAT scores for people with Education majors. Sad, isn’t it?

Now, I’ve had some excellent teachers over the years. But I’ve had some knotheads, too. No matter what NCLB or other legislation is put through to regulate, valuate and intimidate teachers, I think the root of the issue is something different altogether. For the talented individuals we want to become educators, the red tape, drama and meagre salaries just ain’t worth it.

Some do it anyway. I like to think I am one of those. Let’s hope I am.

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