- Schools of education should help pre-service teachers develop plns (Professional Learning Networks) and find ways to have those pre-service teachers observe classrooms as soon as possible in their education.
- I think teachers need mentors for first year who want to mentor the teacher. I think they should teach effective integration of technology and action research for classroom management, etc.
- First students must spend time in schools observing a variety of teachers and see how they teach and run their classrooms. Students need to have an excellent background in their subject area, a lot of training in classroom management and lesson planning. Of course, they also need to be skilled in the latest technology that they will hopefully have in their classrooms. Schools of Education should work together with school districts to provide training programs for Cooperating Teachers and mentors.
- To prepare pre-service teachers: Spend as much time in the classroom as possible. I was in the classroom all four years of my teaching degree...outstanding experience! As much time observing master teachers as possible, in a lot of different grade levels and disciplines (library, tech, classroom, science, etc.) Learn how to write a lesson plan and curriculum that is standard aligned (we did this and had to teach a lesson to fellow teachers...they critiqued with great feedback). How to interact with parents and family of a student. Learn what to do in extreme situations (i.e. if a child is being abused, divorcing families, terminal illness of a family member, etc.) Learn how to integrate tech well. Learn how to write a grant. Learn how to build and sustain a PLN.
- Pre-service teachers need less time in their college classrooms and more time in real world classrooms. They should be required to do st. teaching in more than one school/ district, so they can get a taste of urban vs suburban or rural and different socioeconomic levels. Schools of Ed need to hire educators who are still involved in real-world K-12 ed, either as teachers, admins, mentors, even volunteers. How can someone effectively prepare students to become successful teachers in today's schools if he/ she is not completely familiar with what today's schools are like? Nothing is static, everything changes. If you retired from the classroom years ago, how do you know what you are preparing your pre-service teachers for?
- Remind them that they are special, wonderful and valuable people because they won't hear that enough.
While several themes kept coming up over and over again there was one that most agreed was crucial; the need for Pre-Service teachers to spend as much time in the classroom as possible. Most agreed that having a firm understanding of theory is important. However, it is just that, theory. It is vital that those wishing to teach and be educators see what other educators do everyday. What I kept hearing was that there are so many varied requirements for observations and student teaching from around the country.
Personally, I was required to to spend almost 300 hours in a several types of classrooms before I was allowed to enter my Education program. After completing several educational foundations courses I spent over 3000 hours in classrooms working with teachers, students, parents, administrators and community members. At the time I wondered if it was all worth the time and effort. But when I got my first teaching job, I was thankful I had so much time spent, not in a college classroom but in real classrooms with real teachers.
My situation is not the norm. I heard everything from 1 day a week for 3 years until graduation to 1 day a week the last semester before graduation. Schools of Education need to do better. Teachers will consistently say that, while their classes in college are valuable, nothing prepares them for the "real-world" of teaching then being in the classroom with students. The more experience, the better off all involved, the teacher, students, parents, administrators, will be.
So what do you think? Do Schools of Education adequately prepare Pre-Service Teachers for the classroom. Is there more they could be doing. If you were a Dean what changes, if any would you make?
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