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"Nation's easiest college major" (a s/o of sorts)


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I was an english major with a minor in history. I was one class shy to have a minor in philosophy as well. I wish I had double majored in english/secondary education instead.

 

I would have liked to have a couple years teaching english under my belt before I started homeschooling, financially and experience wise. I could be teaching online courses and grading sat essays too. I'm encouraging my daughter to get the secondary ed double major if she majors in english or history. Jmo.

Edited by LNC
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I was an english major with a minor in history. I was one class shy to have a minor in philosophy as well. I wish I had double majored in english/secondary education instead.

 

I would have liked to have a couple years teaching english under my belt before I started homeschooling, financially and experience wise. I could be teaching online courses and grading sat essays too. I'm encouraging my daughter to get the secondary ed double major if she majors in english or history. Jmo.

 

I had the same major and minor as well as a minor in international studies. My education courses were all at the graduate level. For me, I am so glad I went back and got the education courses. I've spent several years teaching overseas and will be teaching English in China part-time next year. I also hope to teach virtual school someday.

 

I'll say again, I don't understand this vitriol toward classroom teachers. Many, many teachers truly want the best for their students and work in terribly difficult situations that education courses in no way prepare them for. I feel blessed that I will be able to homeschool my child, but I feel just as blessed to teach at a school that truly cares for the students.

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25 years ago, my college had a stringent program for those studying to be teachers. I've known and subbed for teachers who graduated from the same uni within the last five years and they are excellent teachers.

 

It probably depends on the college. I'm sure some universities don't have programs as good as my university.

 

One thing to consider when you're talking about ACT scores of teachers, etc...... I heard it said that many times a teacher who was a "C" student is better at getting ideas across than straight A students who intuitively "get it" and haven't had to "learn." I'd never thought about it, but I think it is probably often true.

 

I also wanted to point out that most of my teacher friends teach in private schools and the pay is horrible. Their kids qualify for reduced lunches and some even for free lunches. Their work is a labor of love. They could have gone into careers that pay more.

 

I know of two public school teachers who left teaching after 16 and 17 years and became bank tellers. They make more money, have a LOT less stress, and put in a lot fewer hours. You don't need any degree at all to be a bank teller. I'm happy for them that they enjoy their new jobs, but kids are missing out on a couple of great teachers because the stress, poor pay, work load, etc. got to be too much.

 

I salute good teachers everywhere!

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This is what happens when you have a system which consistently fails from the ground up. Your roommate should have failed second grade when she did not learn this for the first time, and should not have been promoted accordingly along her educational path - so she never would have been in a position to "learn" and struggle with these things in college.

 

This is the ultimate consequence of promoting everyone regardless of whether the concrete goals for each subject and each educational stage are defined and met.

 

I think there are two separate problems. One is the way kids are being taught at elementary and secondary schools now so that they aren't truly learning. And the other is the way most university undergrad and grad level schools of education are attracting students and teaching at a low level.

 

Like in Liping Ma's book where the Chinese teachers had a lower level of math education than the American teachers but truly understood lower level math so that they could really teach it. Elementary teachers don't necessarily need to have taken multiple semesters of calculus, but they need to have a REAL understanding of elementary math. Preferably they should have gotten that in elementary school. If not, education departments should be teaching education majors truly indepth math and not passing those who can't do it. The standards for what count as knowing elementary material should be higher and they should raise standards for entry and graduation from these programs. Then maybe kids in elementary school could actually be taught a real understanding of math as well.

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I attended a "good" university whose education department is considered one of the better/more rigorous programs in the country. After a lot of classes on child development we took:

 

Math for el.ed majors (a review of elementary level math where college-age girls struggle to understand the base-10 system and multiply fractions)

Diversity in the classroom (where we spent the semester reading picture books with minority characters . . . seriously)

Special-ed classes (where we learned about IDEA and all the labels our students would have - but never discussed how to teach them :001_huh:)

Art for el.ed majors (where we did an elementary-style art project once a week for the semester)

Music for el.ed majors (same as art, but we sang)

P.E. for el.ed majors (where we played a different sport each week)

Childrens Literature (the one decent class I took - literary analysis taught by an English professor who sat on the Caldecott committee)

 

After these classes were done we spent time helping and observing in actual classrooms. Then we took classes on how to teach our primary subjects:

Literacy (where we learned how to design elaborate systems for moving children through various literacy centers and were warned to NEVER teach phonics, spelling, grammar, composition, etc)

Math (where we reviewed basic math again but weren't actually taught how to teach it)

Science (where we learned about elaborate projects we could plan for the children that would be impressive to parents)

Social Studies (where we learned how all social studies should be taught through the use of multi-cultural books - requiring yet another semester of reading picture books)

 

Then we were allowed to student teach. I spent a semester with a 1st grade teacher who loved her kids, but taught them nothing. Then I spent a semester with a rogue kindergarten teacher who was teaching her kids phonics and math, but had such a temper that the children were terrified of her . . . I was terrified of her.

 

It was rare for anyone to get less than an A in a class. If you showed up and were conscious, then you were doing great. I was told by one of the professors (confidentially ;)) that I had one of the highest ACT scores they had ever had coming into their program. I wanted to be a teacher and I really believed I could make a difference. I held my tongue when professors spouted nonsense and was only really rattled by my fellow students when I saw what they couldn't do mathematically (scary, scary stuff). Once I got out of school, though, it was eye-opening. I knew some teachers that were very intelligent (mainly older women), but most of my fellow teachers were not. What surprised me was how many of them hated learning themselves. They didn't read for pleasure and I knew a few who were outright hostile toward smart, motivated students. It was disillusioning to say the least.

 

Every now and again I get requests from my university to contribute to the College of Education. I send them a written decline with a detailed explanation of why I don't care to contribute (always mentioning that we homeschool as a result of my experiences). I donate to the academic scholarship fund instead.

 

Wow. And thanks for sharing so much detail - that helps me.

 

I remember taking the class at 7:30 MWF... I also took Calculus at 7:30 PM on MW the same semester... adding and subtracting fractions for breakfast and derivatives for dinner!

 

:lol:

 

There is a huge difference between what is expected since the 1970's to complete your degree and that which was mandatory in earlier decades. ..That said, let it not be forgotten that there are jewels in the dross both past and present. I am unsure how many posters here are aware that the WTM book was written by two women one of whom has a degree in education. Maybe the brush strokes in this thread are overly broad??

 

I'll say again, I don't understand this vitriol toward classroom teachers.

 

I don't think it's towards teachers; I think it's towards some people's experiences of "joke" education courses. I can't express enough how shocked I am to hear what goes into some of these courses (or what doesn't go into them). It really does make me feel a whole lot better about educating my own kids, despite my lack of university degree. Compared to Jann's roommate, I think I'm doing alright!

 

My mother got her bachelor's degree in early elementary education in the mid-1960s, and she was a fabulous teacher (well, she still is - she's always teaching, just not getting paid for it in the classroom anymore). I think Jessie Wise, referred to by Elizabeth above, got her degree even earlier than my Mom did. Both are people who are true educators.

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I attended a "good" university whose education department is considered one of the better/more rigorous programs in the country. After a lot of classes on child development we took:

 

Math for el.ed majors (a review of elementary level math where college-age girls struggle to understand the base-10 system and multiply fractions)

Diversity in the classroom (where we spent the semester reading picture books with minority characters . . . seriously)

Special-ed classes (where we learned about IDEA and all the labels our students would have - but never discussed how to teach them :001_huh:)

Art for el.ed majors (where we did an elementary-style art project once a week for the semester)

Music for el.ed majors (same as art, but we sang)

P.E. for el.ed majors (where we played a different sport each week)

Childrens Literature (the one decent class I took - literary analysis taught by an English professor who sat on the Caldecott committee)

 

After these classes were done we spent time helping and observing in actual classrooms. Then we took classes on how to teach our primary subjects:

Literacy (where we learned how to design elaborate systems for moving children through various literacy centers and were warned to NEVER teach phonics, spelling, grammar, composition, etc)

Math (where we reviewed basic math again but weren't actually taught how to teach it)

Science (where we learned about elaborate projects we could plan for the children that would be impressive to parents)

Social Studies (where we learned how all social studies should be taught through the use of multi-cultural books - requiring yet another semester of reading picture books)

 

 

:iagree: My experience was similar. I learned more about teaching from one year working at a daycare with a woman with no degree but a ton of practical experience than I did in four years of college. I also learned phonics through the process of teaching my own children to read. Phonics was a big no-no in the school of education when I was there.

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Most ed programs I've seen want to concentrate on only the material the future teacher is going to actually teach. I, personally, think it's important that the future teacher go further in depth and with courses than what they are going to teach. That way, they know what's important for the student to learn.

 

A couple of years back I was with a student teacher supervising while she taught the class. It was Physical Science and they were doing atoms and electron placement in the outer shell (simplified - not Chemistry level). One bright student asked what happened to all the "extra" electrons for larger atoms - asking if there were extra shells for them. The student teacher replied that there was something for them, then looked at me. I told the students that, yes, there were up to 7 energy levels electrons could fill if there were that many electrons, but only the outermost one being used counted for reactions as that's where the "free" electrons were. Then I said they would learn more about it when they took Chemistry.

 

The student teacher then told them (out loud) that it was all really confusing and I shouldn't scare them. They'd find out soon enough. :glare:

 

She's now teaching at our school - nice lady - but I disagree with the system that doesn't require our teachers know things deeper than their subject so they can answer these types of questions without worrying about "scaring" the kids.

 

In math I've seen teachers really be strict about things that don't matter so much for their future - and be really lax about those things they will desperately need for higher level courses. Kids don't learn what they need - then are pushed on. That's a recipe for disaster in math and our school's scores demonstrate it (as does the average for our nation).

 

As I said before, after 12 - 13 years (12 school years, 13 calendar years), it's beginning to wear on me. I'm seriously thinking of giving it all up after this year. At most, I'll be giving it up after my youngest graduates in 2 1/2 years.

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I was not an education major in my undergrad studies. It wasn't until I actually started teaching in a program designed for college grads to teach while working towards a credential that I went into education.

 

I loved my job. I loved my profession. I loved the students. I taught ESL, English, History and a few electives before becoming a school counselor. I was not well versed in Chemistry or higher level math. I never will be. It isn't my bent. This does not mean I was dumb. It does not mean that I was an ineffective teacher. It also doesn't mean I couldn't have done something else.

 

My husband is a CPA. Do you really care if he can write an exegesis on Ulysses when you really need your taxes done?

 

My education classes in the general sense were not all that challenging, but my MAs were not in general education and I did indeed get something out of them.

Edited by DawnM
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My education degree is a master's degree (elementary and early childhood). I went straight into grad school after finishing my undergrad degree (a double major in political science and literature), so it was easy for me to compare the two programs. My impression from talking to students at several colleges was that my undergrad program was relatively rigorous, with lots of required reading and writing, expectations that we would be prepared for lengthy in-class discussions, and exams that required us to really process the material. The graduate education program was a complete step DOWN from all of that. Most of the classes were far easier than honors classes I had taken in high school, with almost no assigned reading and exams that were multiple choice. In order to get the MA rather than just take classes toward certification, we had to take a graduate writing seminar. The teacher for this was really fantastic, but she worked very hard to coax just one real paper from the students over the course of a semester. She had to coach them extensively, give lots of opportunities for edits, and basically teach most of the students how to craft an argument. The class I took on methods for teaching math and science had students in tears because to pass it was necessary to score 90% on a math test from the end of a 6th grade math book. We were warned of this requirement and given a sample test at the start of the term, and still many took the test multiple times, paid huge sums to tutors, and there were endless complaints. Remember -- everyone in this program already had an undergraduate degree! I saw students give garbled presentations, read papers that would not have gotten passing marks at my high school, and still I never heard of anyone getting less than a B in any class or on any assignment.

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I also took several education courses at one point since I briefly considered becoming a high school physics and math teacher. As others have commented, they were by far the easiest classes I've ever had. My wife and I actually began to look at homeschooling after I realized that the students in these classes(who were mostly certified teachers) would be the same ones teaching our kids.

 

My favorite education major story though came from when I was a math and physics tutor as an undergraduate. I was assigned to work with a lady who was trying to pass the state basic skills test to become certified. She had already failed this test once.

 

When I first met her, she showed me sample questions and I was stunned. The first question on the practice test(and one she was struggling with) was to put either <,>, or = to compare 1/2 and 1/3.

 

The other quote she told me was that her 3rd grade son had passed her up in mathematical ability. She was being certified to teach K-8 and I wanted to ask her if she saw any problems with the idea of her becoming an elementary teacher.....

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. I am unsure how many posters here are aware that the WTM book was written by two women one of whom has a degree in education. Maybe the brush strokes in this thread are overly broad??

 

A woman who wrote a book to help people homeschool their own children? I don't think she would take offense. :001_smile:

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One thing to consider when you're talking about ACT scores of teachers, etc...... I heard it said that many times a teacher who was a "C" student is better at getting ideas across than straight A students who intuitively "get it" and haven't had to "learn." I'd never thought about it, but I think it is probably often true.

 

I agree with this sentiment, actually, if we assume that now those teachers understand the material they struggled with. Unfortunately, when a teacher doesn't have a firm grasp on the how and why of the material they are teaching, they aren't able to get those ideas across to the current batch of struggling students. It also makes it impossible for them to accurately evaluate material from more advanced students who may not be doing things exactly according to the manual.

 

I look at the people I went to school with who are in education today. Almost without exception, they were the students who struggled. I definitely believe that can be overcome and they could fulfill the role of a teacher very well if they were approaching their field with dedication and professionalism. I don't see that very often. I see them complain on facebook about involved parents. I see their posts about how much they dislike their students and teaching their subjects.

 

I can think of a few dedicated teachers who approach their subject as a profession, complete with constant development. I can think of a few who care about their students but just don't approach it with what I personally would consider the necessary attitude. I can think of many who do it to get paid and don't care for any aspect of their position.

 

I know there are "good" teachers. I just don't see very many of them in my own world.

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One of my roommates in college was an El Ed major & an English minor. She hated to read anything other than romance novels and struggled mightily with el Ed math. Our other roommate (business major who went to law school) and I (a music major w/a pre-med emphasis) often took a break from our own studies to help her with math and the required reading for her English classes. One evening she complained long and loud about having to read one of Shakeseare's plays for a class on -- wait for it -- Shakespeare. I gave her a withering look and asked if she wanted to change places as I was studying biochemistry. She declined.

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I was one of those Special Ed majors with a very average ACT score. I really struggled in high school, not because I am unintelligent, but I think I was a kid who fell through the cracks. I graduated from a public high school that was/is considered one of the best in the state, but my 6th grade math classes were abysmal. I missed a lot of basic skills and because I did not intuitively "get it", it made a big difference down the road. It wasn't just math skills, but other areas that I completely missed or struggled with and no one caught on. I am glad that my high school performance on one standarized test didn't completely alter or determine my future choices.

 

I did very well in college. My education classes were no easier or harder than my other classes and I did well across the board. I think much of my college success was because I had really learned how to study and was used to working hard. It came together well for me as I aged and matured. I am still working to fill in the gaps of the basic skills I missed and had I stayed in the classroom, I would have continued to do so. Success is in part a willingness to work for it. I know I was a good classroom teacher and would have refined my craft had I stayed in the classroom. I was/am willing to continue learning and working on areas of struggle, something I think every professional must do.

 

As far as classes, I had a number of Special Ed theory classes, Modifications and Adaptations, Applied Behavior Analysis, a class where we learned phonics and teaching phonics through direct instruction (we used a program by the authors of Teaching Reading in 100 EZ Lessons, funny how it comes back around), as well as a couple of general Ed classes. We did not have a class where we made bulletin boards or filled in copy books for handwriting, but maybe the general Ed majors did. We did have to make up several math games for a math class, we wrote and taught a number of lesson plans for various subject areas and we wrote a number of papers. I think the most important skills taught in an Education degree are learned by actually being in the classroom and I hope colleges are moving toward getting students in an actual classroom learning to teach for much longer than the typical student teaching semester. Unfortunately, I also think we have a broken system and the next generation of teachers are not always learning from the best and brightest, so we are sort of in this dysfunctional cycle.

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My education degree is a master's degree (elementary and early childhood). I went straight into grad school after finishing my undergrad degree (a double major in political science and literature), so it was easy for me to compare the two programs. My impression from talking to students at several colleges was that my undergrad program was relatively rigorous, with lots of required reading and writing, expectations that we would be prepared for lengthy in-class discussions, and exams that required us to really process the material. The graduate education program was a complete step DOWN from all of that. Most of the classes were far easier than honors classes I had taken in high school, with almost no assigned reading and exams that were multiple choice.

:iagree:

 

I have undergrad majors in math & English. My MAT is from the same school that gave us the article that prompted this spin-off. I had to take graduate level courses in math and in education, along with student teaching. The graduate level math credits I have are what let me teach at the cc.

 

I don't know if the state exam to be credentialed is the same, but I am certain my son at age 9 could pass the one I took. A math question I recall was asking the length of a paperclip that was drawn next to a ruler.

 

I had two classes with the education department that had instructors who were good. All the others were ridiculous and by showing up you'd pass.

 

Yes, there are excellent teachers out there. I'm sure my son is going to miss out on some of them by me homeschooling him. However, my experience with my degree and with stories I've heard from friends who were in the program with me make me very grateful to be homeschooling and I would love to do away with most schools of education. Have the students get a degree in their content field.

 

And it was in the education courses that I heard about not grading in red because it scars the psyche of the students. :glare:

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I was not an education major in my undergrad studies. It wasn't until I actually started teaching in a program designed for college grads to teach while working towards a credential that I went into education.

 

I loved my job. I loved my profession. I loved the students. I taught ESL, English, History and a few electives before becoming a school counselor. I was not well versed in Chemistry or higher level math. I never will be. It isn't my bent. This does not mean I was dumb. It does not mean that I was an ineffective teacher. It also doesn't mean I couldn't have done something else.

 

My husband is a CPA. Do you really care if he can write an exegesis on Ulysses when you really need your taxes done?

 

My education classes in the general sense were not all that challenging, but my MAs were not in general education and I did indeed get something out of them.

 

If what you've written is based upon what I wrote, I didn't mean to imply that a high school teacher should know everything about all subjects. I do, however, feel they should know a great deal about the subject they are teaching - more in depth than what they teach. A math teacher (high school) should know the basics of calculus even if all they teach is Algebra. A Physical Science teacher should know the basics of Chemistry and Physics, etc - the higher level courses they are training students for.

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That said, let it not be forgotten that there are jewels in the dross both past and present. I am unsure how many posters here are aware that the WTM book was written by two women one of whom has a degree in education. Maybe the brush strokes in this thread are overly broad??

 

Of course there are some jewels out there.

 

And I agree that for many years, it was often the case that the brightest women went into teaching. Of course, it was also true then that there were fewer educational opportunities available to women in general, and teaching was one of the few socially acceptable professions for them.

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This is what happens when you have a system which consistently fails from the ground up. Your roommate should have failed second grade when she did not learn this for the first time, and should not have been promoted accordingly along her educational path - so she never would have been in a position to "learn" and struggle with these things in college.

 

This is the ultimate consequence of promoting everyone regardless of whether the concrete goals for each subject and each educational stage are defined and met.

 

 

I have one word for this post. AMEN!

 

This is the basis of the entire problem. We pass along failing students for years and years and tell them they are doing fine. We then hand them off to the colleges, uni's, professional programs, and tech schools of the nation.

 

I know a young man with a master's degree in both math and computer science. He teaches at our local community college. The administration does not allow him to fail anyone because they lose federal and state funding if they do not have HUGE two year associate degree graduation rates. So, he is required to dumb down his curriculum. Therefore, he teaches "college algebra" and in reality they do not actually open the college algebra book. He uses a Saxon Math 4th grade text and teaches multiplication tables, division, fractions, and basic word problems. But, they get college credit for "college algebra". Additionally, 25% of the class need to be failed...they cannot do 4th grade math. However, he is not allowed to fail them. College algebra is the highest mathematics that the four year university 50 minutes from here requires for elementary teacher education. Many of his failing students are at the CC to get their gen-ed requirements at the cheaper school and then transfer to this uni who accepts the credits without question. Since 8 of the 10 students he wanted to fail last semester were intending on declaring an elementary education major upon matriculation to the larger uni, and since this credit would be accepted without question, then these students who are not capable of passing 4th grade math, will not be discovered at the uni because they will not have to take another math class...they may take a "theory of teaching math" or math methods class...but these classes talk about curriculum, or they talk about methods of presenting information, yet they do not require the prospective teacher ed major to DO math in front of the professor. I am not certain how these people manage to pass the "Test of Basic Skills". W. But, Michigan's TBS is ridiculously easy and you can fail it multiple times and still get certified.

 

I know all of this because as a new high school guidance counselor, my eyes are being OPENED. I've always known there were significant deficiencies in teacher ed in this state, but I never understood just how bad it really is.

 

Elizabeth makes an astute point. In my experience, the older teachers who seem to have come through the system prior to an agenda to revamp teacher ed departments and take the academic meat out of them while introducing a lot of educational theory and give credit for things like "bulletin board classes", etc. shine...their results stand for themselves. They are far more effective and they are very comfortable with their subject material...subject matter experts in teaching that pure academic discipline, but with the added benefit of having figured out how children think and develop. The younger ones, and especially those that have graduated from teacher ed in the last 10 years, are not suject matter experts, period. However, he local high school chemistry teacher, certified to teach high school science, never took a college chemistry class!!!!! This person cannot do the work that is in the text that she must represent. Amongst the younger teachers, there are many instances of this.

 

Thankfully, my new chem students are absolute sponges. They love the subject material, are eager to please me, and are fascinated by the beauty/ elegance of the subject. We are rapidly making up for lost time and I feel the pressure immensely. I may be completely worn out by the end of the semester. But, I'm determined to make a difference for them even if I end up turning down the job for 2012/2013....the one thing it does guarantee is that if my resolve to homeschool through high school was very strong before, in comparison, the strength of my new resolve must be represented in scientific notation!!!!!

 

I had some amazing teachers in my elementary school. Truly, astounding, talented, passionate, gifted, and HIGHLY INTELLIGENT teachers. However, they were all older...most had gone through "county normal" back in the days when teaching schools were county certification schools that operated independently of colleges. All of their classes were rigorous exams on subject material...they were tested on their personal skills in each area...if they had deficits, they had to study to bring it up. Virtually NO "methods" or "theory" of classes. Senior year was spent student teaching but getting intimately familiar with the curriculums of the day. I am so thankful they were severaly tested on their own academic skills. The worst students in our school were FAR above the best students I'm seeing at our local elementary school. Though I had some pretty sub-par middle school teachers, I was able to continue learning because of that sure foundation I'd been given.

 

I am profoundly saddened by the fact that in our local schools there are very few teachers who could even begin to compare to my now very elderly (some have passed away) teachers from the 70's and early 80's. I am saddened for the children who may never know what it means to be inspired by great teaching.

 

Faith

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I have one word for this post. AMEN!

 

This is the basis of the entire problem. We pass along failing students for years and years and tell them they are doing fine. We then hand them off to the colleges, uni's, professional programs, and tech schools of the nation.

 

Faith

 

My experience is similar to yours. The older teachers have retired or are counting the days as their methods are shunned now even if they got results before. It's sad.

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I think that the shunning of teachers that have different methods or work harder is also a serious problem. I have heard two teachers speak of it. The first in terms of being cornered in the teacher's room after volunteering to run two high school afterschool programs. The other teachers told her that if she ran two, then the administration might want all the teachers to run two programs, so she better not do that again next year.

 

The next was a brilliant girl who spent all her out-of-school time taking classes and reading and preparing lessons. The other teachers ostracized her and kept telling her that she was making them look bad and that she'd better just do what was expected by the administration and no more. That young woman couldn't stand the middle-school mentality of the teachers she was working with in this suburban district and left teaching to get her PhD and teach at the college level.

 

My friend, a college professor, was meeting with his daughter's veteran fourth grade teacher about his frustrations with the curriculum, when she conspiratorially told him that since she had only two years until retirement, she was chucking the standards and teaching these kids the way she used to teach when she was young, including among other things, poetry memorization and diagramming!

Edited by Kalmia
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I think that the shunning of teachers that have different methods or work harder is also a serious problem. I have heard two teachers speak of it. The first in terms of being cornered in the teacher's room after volunteering to run two high school afterschool programs. The other teachers told her that if she ran two, then the administration might want all the teachers to run two programs, so she better not do that again next year.

 

The rotten thing about this is they may have a point. By the sounds of it, there are places where teachers get good pay etc, but when my dh was teaching the school was extracting as much work as possible, even busywork, from the teachers and paying them poorly because teaching is a "caring" profession. Teaching at that school was definitely for single workaholics. We'd have panicked at the hint of anyone hitting him with more work.

 

Rosie

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I have a lot of respect for teachers who can manage and teach so many students at one time, especially with all the obstacles tossed at them (special needs students mixed with advanced students, non-academic requirements, challenging parents, non-English speaking students, students who essentially can't be disciplined, etc.). It is a set up for some students to fail.

 

What I find sad is when new teachers, who are enthusiastic and want to teach, discover that they are not prepared to teach once they get a classroom. They realize that classes they thought were teaching them how to teach didn't teach them.

 

I have had new grads who got their first teaching job come to me and ask for help. One was terrified that she was going to be teaching 1st grade because she knew that the foundation she needed to give them in reading and math would set the tone for the rest of their education. I am glad she took it so seriously, but she recognized that she had not been adequately taught how to teach. She had no idea how to teach a child to read and no idea how to teach math. Her education courses taught her how to manage a classroom and how to be sensitive to cultural differences, but not how to teach. They told her to follow the directions in whatever curriculum she was given, and she didn't need to do anything else. But the curriculum she was supposed to teach assumed a lot and didn't give her enough information, and didn't apply to all the students she had.

 

I had done a lot of research on how to teach my dc, and I passed on resources and ideas and info I had learned and told her some ways to teach reading and math. She used my research, ideas, games, strategies and some lesson plans. She ended up being a good teacher, but she learned on her own how to teach.

 

There was another newly certified teacher who came to me asking how to teach math, reading, science and history to her new class or 2nd graders. It was her first year of teaching, and the school had no books for her to use and told her to just keep the kids busy and teach them anything until they got books ordered and received - which ended up being sometime in January! She had no idea what to do with these kids, and no idea how to create her own curriculum. I showed her what I was using and let her borrow some of my curriculum. She used hsing curriculum to teach her students for half the year. She actually liked it better than what the school eventually gave her to use. But the problem was that she also had no idea how to prepare lesson plans or how to teach without a book telling her scripted details. She had also been told to follow the lesson plans in the curriculum the school would give her, but they gave her nothing. She was not prepared to teach because school didn't teach her how. It worked out. She read my hsing resources and said that many of them should have been classes education majors should be required to take. That is where when she learned how to teach.

 

I don't like that this is happening to college students who want to teach. They deserve better preparation for their future careers, and so do the students they will be teaching.

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From MoneyWatch (June 20, 2011):

 

Slackers wanting to earn the country's easiest college major, should major in education.

 

It's easy to get "A's" if you're an education major. Maybe that's why one out of 10 college graduates major in education.

 

Research over the years has indicated that education majors, who enter college with the lowest average SAT scores, leave with the highest grades. Some of academic evidence documenting easy A's for future teachers goes back more than 50 years!

 

The latest ****ing report on the ease of majoring in education comes from research at the University of Missouri, my alma mater. The study, conducted by economist Cory Koedel shows that education majors receive "substantially higher" grades than students in every other department.

 

______________________

Huh. And I always thought communications was the easiest major. Heh, heh, heh.

 

 

B.A. in communications (journalism)

M.A. in English (rhetoric and composition)

 

Totally OT, but my dh got a bachelors in journalism from the same institution you did!

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I had to take a few classes outside my major in sociology and business and roughly 10% of each class was composed of fellow computer science or other STEM majors. We used to shake our head at how the sociology or business majors would complain about tough tests and grading. Those were our easy, sleepwalk-to-an-A classes.

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Huh. I went to the wrong college if that's what the rest are like. I graduated 8th in my high school class with the highest ACT score. I worked my butt off in college for a BS in elementary education. I did not graduate at the top of that class, and I had the bruises to show for it.

 

Similar story here.

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I got my teaching credentials in CA. My undergrad was in something completely unrelated. ALL education work is at the graduate level, which is why you cannot major in it in undergrad.

 

This worked very well for me as I had no idea I even wanted to go into it until I had graduated from college.

 

Dawn

 

I find it interesting that it is not possible to major in education at the University of California or the California State University schools. You can minor in it, but I guess you major in whatever you are planning to teach.
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No, it was more in response to another post.

 

I do agree with you on that point.

 

However, I also think there are so many more issues with today's teaching. It is not the educator's fault that she has to learn classroom management in order to teach in today's schools. It is a reality. Those teachers who can handle and manage a classroom as well as gain their students' attention will succeed far more than those who are extremely well versed in their subject area but can't get anyone to pay attention or listen.

 

Dawn

 

 

 

If what you've written is based upon what I wrote, I didn't mean to imply that a high school teacher should know everything about all subjects. I do, however, feel they should know a great deal about the subject they are teaching - more in depth than what they teach. A math teacher (high school) should know the basics of calculus even if all they teach is Algebra. A Physical Science teacher should know the basics of Chemistry and Physics, etc - the higher level courses they are training students for.
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I have one word for this post. AMEN!

 

This is the basis of the entire problem. We pass along failing students for years and years and tell them they are doing fine. We then hand them off to the colleges, uni's, professional programs, and tech schools of the nation.

 

 

Faith

 

Going with your though here...

 

 

On another thread, Tibbie linked Tracy Lee Simmons (Climbing Parnassus) speaking at Highlands Latin School (Memoria Press) and he stated (at about 6:30) that "...most colleges I've visited are more like cancer wards. They're very sad, because they're filled with people, 19, 20, 21 years old, and older who simply have not learned to think at all, and they've barely read any books. And you'll speak to some of them after some sort of presentation and they will admit that several of them went entirely though high school without reading a book."

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I dont think it's a big deal. To me, it shows that a good teacher doesn't mean they need a bunch of credentials or high test scores. I don't, & I think I'm a fine teacher!:)

 

If schools were turning out highly educated graduates that might be true. But they aren't. They are graduating many MANY students who are basically illiterate, have abysmal math skills, and know nothing of history, science, or anything else.

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It is not the educator's fault that she has to learn classroom management in order to teach in today's schools. It is a reality. Those teachers who can handle and manage a classroom as well as gain their students' attention will succeed far more than those who are extremely well versed in their subject area but can't get anyone to pay attention or listen.

 

Dawn

 

:iagree: But they still have to be teaching them correctly. ;) I've seen teacher have the attention of a class, then teach them something wrong more than once. But those who can't control classes are the worst. Occasionally there are also classes that are near impossible to control to a decent level without significant absences.

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I fully agree with you. My disagreement is in simplifying the issues of the problems with today's educational system. It is far more complex than one issue (in this case, the teacher ed program.)

 

Believe me, I taught for over 16 years in a very over populated, very inner city and very broken school. Our test scores overall (for 5,500 students) were in the 13th-15th percentile.

 

I have had 47 9th graders in my elective class.

 

But I also do say that people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. My 9th graders were far more likely to give me the world if they knew I cared about them and believed in them.

 

Dawn

 

:iagree: But they still have to be teaching them correctly. ;) I've seen teacher have the attention of a class, then teach them something wrong more than once. But those who can't control classes are the worst. Occasionally there are also classes that are near impossible to control to a decent level without significant absences.
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My mom and I have a back and forth disagreement on education degrees.

 

My point is: why would anyone that much for a degree for a profession where they will make less money than my degreeless (but extremely intelligent) BIL who works at a gas station?

 

 

Because they love it and/or feel called to that profession.

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I earned a master's degree in education and I never broke a sweat. Some classes I skipped entirely except for exam days because they were such a waste of time and I graduated from the University of Michigan with a 3.9 GPA.

 

 

I too have a master's in education. My research class was very challenging and engaging (not hard; just challenging and interesting. And one other class I particularly liked; probably because I liked the teacher and we had to write a paper on a topic I was very interested in.

 

I should also note that the above research class had a reputation of being "dreaded" because it was so hard.

 

The rest of it was mostly worthless. Honestly, 80% of it was sharing classroom ideas and favorite kids' books, or discussing "common problems" with the education system and kids and families today -- drugs, too much TV, etc.

 

I remember one language arts class we watched the entire Jodie Foster movie "Nell" and discussed it for a few minutes. This was a graduate level class.

 

I actually always thought it because the school I went to was an "evening/weekend program" and the program just wasn't that intense. But maybe it is typical??

 

I also wanted to point out, though, that MANY teachers do not have "education degrees" -- they have another major and an education minor, or a few extra classes to get a teaching certificate.

 

For example, before I got my Master's degree, I was a music major and fully certified to teach k-12. And believe me, that is NOT an easy degree that "just anyone" can do!!

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Because its a parent friendly job. Because its a govt job. Because kid are fun and cute. Because they intend to marry someone who makes money. Because they know that despite the lower pay, its a livable wage and a safe job with good benefits and reasonably low stress environment as compared with some others.

 

I can think of lots of reasons to teach.

 

Because once you have tenure, it practically takes an act of God to get fired. Because you're usually home by 4pm. Because you get summers off and all those "staff development" days without kids...

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Make an education degree the most difficult degree to earn and pay accordingly.

 

 

.

 

 

I completely agree.

 

 

I've been saying that education degrees are a joke for a long time now. I majored in a science, and everyone on campus made fun of the education students.

Edited by Kleine Hexe
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Not at the University I attended in the '90s.

 

I majored in Biology first, then moved to Communications and Education and was involved with tutoring people in the other schools.

 

Easiest Schools:

 

Art & Music

Youth Ministries

Physical Education

Communications

Psychology

 

without a doubt.

 

Now Education was not as difficult as getting a BS in Math, Chemistry, or other Science but the people attending at least had to pass a test in basic Math and Reading. You would not believe the people I tutored from either Music or Communications who had very little understanding of either of those subjects. People who had to take Algebra in college. People who couldn't write essays (no idea of what a 3-point essay was).

 

For those in Secondary Ed, the specific theory courses were at least as difficult as the Math I took there, but the other courses depended greatly on the instructor.

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Totally OT, but my dh got a bachelors in journalism from the same institution you did!

 

The University of Missouri is the alma mater of the author of the piece I linked. I didn't indicate my alma mater. But hello to a fellow j-major, anyway!

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I'm not surprised. I always wanted to be a teacher. As a child I thought helping friends with their homework was actually fun. When I got to college I spoke to an advisor about declaring a major, and I indicated that I was interested in education. She looked at me with surprise and said that I didn't have to be an education major because my test scores were good (I think my ACT was a 31/ can't remember SATs). I couldn't believe it! I found my education classes to be very easy and graduated with a 4.0. My hardest classes were probably for my minor in German.

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My mom and I have a back and forth disagreement on education degrees.

 

My point is: why would anyone that much for a degree for a profession where they will make less money than my degreeless (but extremely intelligent) BIL who works at a gas station?

 

My mom (who works for the schools) points out that they receive a lot of time off, decent health care/retirement packages and most of their spouses have higher paying careers.

 

Here's one answer.

I really wanted to be a teacher. I loved the idea of being a classroom teacher. I loved kids. I loved education. (I loved school and did very well there. I was not one of those who brought the education majors' SAT scores down.)

 

If a school would have hired me without a degree, I would have started teaching right out of high school.

 

I loved teaching... until I had my own kids. I discovered that I prefer to raise them myself instead of paying for daycare (so I could spend the day with someone else's kids).

Edited by zaichiki
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Years ago, I was at a star party with three friends. As we were sitting around playing with our telescopes and waiting for astronomical twilight, we started talking about the way science is taught (or not taught) in public schools.

 

Mary has a Ph.D. in organic chemistry, and at the time worked for Dow Chemical as a research chemist. Her husband, Paul, also has a Ph.D. in organic chemistry, and is a chemistry professor at Wake Forest University. Steve has a Ph.D. in biochemistry and is a professor at Wake Forest Bowman Gray School of medicine.

 

I thought my comment pretty much summed up the problem: "You know, not a single one of us is qualified to teach chemistry in the public schools."

 

:lol:

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I know I started subbing because I needed a part time job that was flexible, school was close by, and my kids were in the district (albeit elementary while I was high school).

 

I stuck with it when we didn't need the money because I absolutely love teaching (and had worked up to where I was teaching math/science as a sub, not babysitting) and love working with teens finishing up their high school education.

 

What's burning me out now is having to "teach" math with CPM math. It's been in our school for 6 years now and the upper level math knowledge of even our best students has declined considerably unless they do a lot on their own outside of school. It's bothering me having the kids think they are doing well, when in reality, they are being poorly prepared for college. Some could easily do so much more than they're having the opportunity for. I guess I shouldn't care, but I do, and it's just weighing on my mind.

 

Care to read a review of CPM Alg 1 (what I'm "teaching" full time now)? Our school requires ALL students take 2 YEARS to complete this Alg 1 course - and they still come out with low knowledge and poor scores on our state Alg 1 test (Keystone Test). The school tells us their test is too hard. We volunteered to be a "testing" school for field tests for Geometry so "our scores would be counted in the demographics for scoring since we score low." It bugs me. I need to quit... but right now we need the money. So what I really need is to find another job...

 

Here's the link to the review if anyone cares to read it:

 

http://www.mathematicallycorrect.com/cpmwb.htm

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Having my oldest in school these last 2 years has been eye opening. Most of the teachers have been pretty terrible (Spanish teacher teaching ballroom dancing and her weird philosophy instead of Spanish, Biology with no labs and lots of screaming, Law teacher who loves to recount his many run-ins with law enforcement, Culinary Arts teacher who teaches to coach sports but doesn't know how to cook- I could go on and on...). It is pretty evident that these folks did not start off as the best students. Many of the teachers went into teaching to coach sports.

 

 

There does seem to be a big change in teacher education since when I was in school. I never realized how lucky I was to have fantastic English and Math teachers. My English teacher devoted her life to teaching. We wrote essays weekly starting in 10th grade, and the whole class evaluated the essays. After her class, college English was relatively easy.

My math teacher was very thorough, and tried to make sure everyone understood the material. He took an interest in me, and encouraged me to apply to a selective college. None of my son's teachers are like this, and he goes to a "good" public school. I don't think it should be any surprise that many of our schools are failing. Until teachers are held accountable for knowledge of their subject, it will continue to be a problem.

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