The Looming Changes In Student Teaching

Friday, October 11, 2019

As educators, we are concerned about the quality and quantity of applicants entering the field of education. Our members have often been catalysts for innovative solutions to the many challenges facing education. This is why we take an interest in the next generation of educators and why we strive to improve their experience and support as they transition from teacher candidate to classroom teacher.
 
In 1986, education school deans from the top universities developed a critical report  that attributed much of the blame for struggling public schools on the training teachers were receiving in college.

Research reminds us that although we spend millions of dollars and thousands of hours on teacher preparation courses, we do not have much evidence justifying some of those requirements in Colleges of Education. Nor do policymakers really know how to measure and define a successful teacher training program.
 
Effective educator preparation remains critical to the future of education in Tennessee. We have already focused as a state on admission requirements in educator preparation programs. Again, research is mixed on the relationship between academic admission requirements, and teacher candidates’ later effectiveness levels. This provides an opportunity for needed research. Teaching candidates must have a GPA of 2.75 and an ACT or SAT score of 21 or 1020 for admission to an educator preparation program.
 
Policymakers should invest much more time and resources into learning about the science of teaching and how individual teachers actually develop their skillset - and how long it takes to develop some of those skills—and what changes are needed. Policies currently reflect the fact that we know far more about a teacher after they enter the classroom than before. Important benchmarks we should look at besides program completers are identifying those who actually enter the field of education and teach, as well as those who remain for several years. However, change may be on the horizon for the profession.
 
The University of Michigan  is making some interesting changes, and moving to end the longtime practice of sending educators into their classrooms after just a few months of student teaching. Elizabeth Moje, dean of the school of education at the University of Michigan, is offering an innovative method, based on the way doctors are trained -  that will extend teacher training through their first three years on the job, supporting them as they take on the daunting responsibility of educating children. The teacher intern program at Michigan would be the first dramatic upheaval in the way teachers are trained in this country in at least a generation - an upheaval that has been a long time coming. Michigan has planned its launch for this year.
 

In a nutshell, the new approach is like a teaching hospital, where future teachers -  called interns -  will train together under a single roof. They will complete their student teaching there. Then, instead of heading out in search of a job in another school, they will stay on for three more years as full-time, fully certified teaching “residents.” Residents won’t be trainees. They will be real classroom teachers working with real children and making a real salary -  the same as any other first-, second-, or third-year teacher. But, unlike their peers in traditional schools, they will continue to learn from their professors and will work closely with the veteran teachers -  called attendings - who will make up most of the school’s teaching staff.
 
Each educational preparation program has its approach to supporting teacher candidates, and our association tries to fill in gaps for our student members. It is critical to walk the fine line between informing teacher candidates with the needed knowledge and overburdening them with excessive information. We aim to touch on issues such as legal and professional development while catering to student teachers with specific content such as plan assistance, classroom management, and an introduction to our Career Center  to help teacher candidates to find future employment. 
 
The existing teacher shortage - especially in special education, math, and science, and in schools serving students of color, low-income students, and English learners - will likely only increase, based on the predicted increase in the school-going population in the future. Colleges of Education must also address how to serve Career & Technical Education (CTE). Areas such as business, agriculture, health, automotive, and mechatronics programs need high-quality teachers. Also, we should consider how to better build the skills of paraprofessionals who work alongside teachers in classrooms in critical roles.
 
There is no way to ensure that all teachers are great before they begin teaching. However, we can make the effort to equip our educators with skills for a modern age. Change is on the horizon in how we prepare those who educate our children. Policymakers and stakeholders need to work together to make the necessary changes that benefit our students and ensure that quality educators enter and remain in the profession. Together we can make schools a better place for teachers to work and our students to learn.

J.C. Bowman, executive director of Professional Educators of Tennessee


A Thought About The Unvaccinated

Roy Exum: 4,032 Cases A Day

Jan. 6 Was Not A Love Fest - And Response


As COVID is on the rise once again, I am confused about why so many people are hesitant about being vaccinated. If you are afraid or unsure about the vaccine, perhaps the ongoing effort to inform ... (click for more)

In Louisiana, where just 36.5 percent of residents have been vaccinated for COVID-19, the state’s Department of Heath held a noon media update yesterday to announce 4,032 new cases of the disease ... (click for more)

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Opinion

A Thought About The Unvaccinated

As COVID is on the rise once again, I am confused about why so many people are hesitant about being vaccinated. If you are afraid or unsure about the vaccine, perhaps the ongoing effort to inform and educate people will eventually help. If you are not being vaccinated for purely political reasons, consider that the effects of COVID could impact the population in a way that decreases ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: 4,032 Cases A Day

In Louisiana, where just 36.5 percent of residents have been vaccinated for COVID-19, the state’s Department of Heath held a noon media update yesterday to announce 4,032 new cases of the disease had been reported in the state within the last 24 hours. Think about that; it's incredible. Further, 20 died on Monday alone as a horrifying “perfect storm” is spreading across the South ... (click for more)

Breaking News

County Health Department Urges Return To Masks In Public Places For All; Masks At School Strongly Recommended

In alliance with updated guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Hamilton County Health Department is recommending that both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals wear masks in public indoor settings. Officials said, "Breakthrough cases are possible, and preliminary evidence suggests that fully vaccinated people who do become infected ... (click for more)

Hamilton County Has No More Coronavirus Deaths, 141 New Cases

Hamilton County had 141 new coronavirus cases reported on Wednesday, bringing the total to 46,863. There has been no more deaths from the virus, and the total is at 514 in the county. The number of those who have recovered from coronavirus in Hamilton County is 45,452, which is 97 percent, and there are 897 active cases. There are 76 patients hospitalized and 20 in ... (click for more)

Sports

UTC Athletics Re-Launches Mocs Merchants Program

The Chattanooga Mocs are bustling with activity this summer. The July Month of Deals is coming to the end on the ticket side, while season tickets sales on the whole have been robust. Now news of the football program being picked to win the Southern Conference adds to the excitement. The Mocs added a greater online presence in its re-launch of the Merchants Program with the ... (click for more)

Michael Swanegan Making The Most Of His Second Shot At 2K Stardom

To be great, risks have to be taken. For Michael Swanegan, that risk involved moving thousands of miles across the country and away from his infant daughter. The one time hoops star at Pasadena City College was trying to break into the professional “NBA 2K League '', and playing against east coast opponents while in the westernmost state put Swanegan at a competitive disadvantage. ... (click for more)