Posts Tagged ‘educator’
I’ll be meeting with the Assistant Dean of Education this morning.
Part of the credential program involves this Web service called TaskStream. On TaskStream, we’re required to write essays. I didn’t take it seriously, even though theoretically everyone in the office actually looks at every TaskStream application. My University Supervisor — theoretically, he comes in the classroom every so often and observes — had looked at it.
Three weeks after I had everything submitted, I received an e-mail or two.
Got your voicemail. Here’s the deal. One of the last things the School of Ed does before recommending you for a credential is to look at Taskstream. If you want a credential, I would recommend removing all comments such as “I hate these essays. I don’t want to do this,” ”This is @#$%^,” and “Look at my blog at this link [which link I also recommend removing].”
I resubmitted all of the essays, making appropriate changes. For some reason, I still don’t take it seriously. There’s a good reason, and not simply that I reflect already in this blog.
Every teacher I talk to, without exception, groans in remembrance when I tell them I’m still in the credential program. Invariably, they respond:
The credential program doesn’t prepare you for the classroom. I learned nothing.
This comes from a wide sample of teachers, old and young, new and veteran. It comes from student teachers and master teachers of all flavors. No teacher I’ve ever talked to has ever suggested that any element of the credential program — other than strictly the student teaching elements — has ever even helped to prepare a teacher for the real classroom, and I’ve talked to a lot of teachers.
Whether it’s the mob mentality of succumbing to the prevailing teacher wisdom or whether this is some sort of sincere truth, teachers I’ve met are unanimous: the credential program is useless.
If I am dismissive, and if I don’t take what the School of Education says seriously, it isn’t because I think so. It’s because everyone else seems to.
After I turned in my somewhat edited and almost improved TaskStream essays, I got this e-mail.
The School of Education has called a meeting for Wednesday, May 21st at 8:30am to discuss your Holistic Proficiency, Teaching Sample Project, and linking your blog. … Please let your master teachers know that you will be away from the classroom for this half hour meeting. Please also reply to this email so I know you received it and will attend.
After the initial shock, I’ve decided to not let this bother me, either. Why should it?
I have nothing to hide, and I readily admit that I don’t take seriously that which has the appearance of busywork, or that which every teacher I’ve ever met insists that the program helped them not at all.
Like some petulant child, jumping through hoops has never been my thing. I worry for myself once I get into the profession.
I’ve had four teachers at my current, inner-city school compliment me on my intelligence at separate times. Each of the four immediately added that compulsory layer of “it won’t make you a good teacher.” This has been a source of frustration for me.
Mr. Bogush, for his part, also riffs on the hard-to-swallow theme of the four teachers in my department.
You have the “Curse of Knowledge” — you know so much that it is often impossible to realize what it was like to not know it. You are a thinker so initially it will be impossible for you to realize what it is like to be ignorant and naive. …
Unlike White Kids’ Unified, students have to come first at Podunk, Mr. Bogush said. Whether or not administrators demand it in Podunk doesn’t really matter — the situation already demands student-centric reflection.
At Podunk, you will have to reflect, reflect, reflect. Not about your curriculum, and not about your primary sources or images, but about your mindset and the students. Why do they think what they think? You are so smart that you will feel stupid. Day after day.
You will find that all the things in life you thought were important are not, and some of the things that you took for granted become precious. You will have to be a mom, dad, brother, sister, social worker, and thrift store operator first. Only then will you be able to teach. You will learn that the “smartness” that you have is worthless and you will have to figure out 100 other ways to a kids heart.
Don’t mind my interjection, but is smartness really worthless? I chalk this up to hyperbole. He continues:
Don’t let being too “smart” keep you away from Podunk — let it drive you there. You might hate it; you might dread every minute. However, it will make a “thinking teacher” stronger. You will learn skills and insights that you will never get from a book, from a person, or by working at the other school.
I had intended to reflect on his comment, but I couldn’t bring myself to add anything. Mr. Bogush sums it up his point of view, and I have no perspective to counter it.
No perspective, at least, that the teachers at my school would allow themselves to appreciate. As far as they’re concerned, smartness be damned: I’m a student teacher. I don’t have any business making judgment on high educational theory.
What is the role of smartness as a teacher? What is the role of reflection, at either White Kids’ Unified or BFE-Podunk Joint Unified, and is the role different between the two districts?