I’d fill you in on the details of the meeting that decided I was to redo — depending on how you view it, do in the first place — the TaskStream busywork, except a certain unnamed source specifically requested that I not quote him.

Not that I’m bound by his ultimatum, legally speaking. Any first-year law student could tell you that truth is an absolute defense against libel, the tort most commonly used in cases involving the written media. However, I’ll honor his request.

After explaining to the makeshift committee about my conviction that, for some reason, everyone involved with student teachers I’ve ever met excepting one has decried the “uselessness” — their word and mine — of credential programs, the committee was unconvinced.

I hadn’t taken that TaskStream stuff seriously. After all, all these credential programs lack merit, I quoted. Paraphrased, their response:

Not this one.

There was, admittedly, one quite convincing personal protest by he-who-shall-not-be-named-or-quoted, but I won’t name or quote him, even though it does him an unfair disservice. I’d much rather quote him, to be honest, and if he revokes this stipulation I shall do so willingly and without hesitation.

Suffice it to say that the committee wasn’t amused by my complete lack of regard for the documentation component of my student teaching semester. Expletives had been involved, and I hadn’t bothered to do more than what I thought was the absolute, bare-bones minimum. In effect, one observed:

What kind of teacher only shoots for a two out of four, for barely passing?

My mind flashed back to 15 pieces of flair, and the rot at the center of the maggot.

This meeting was last week.

As of 13 hours, 52 minutes ago, the first half of my student teaching project was officially redone. Mind-gaggingly painful, headache-inducing sadism. Only Russian has strong enough words to describe the pain of my self-imposed misery.

Screw this, he wrote in a moment of undirected anger and frustration. What’s the big deal with teaching, anyway? Why can’t I be a pilot, instead?

Yet I know I’m going to actually do the assignment this time, and do my God’s-honest best. Hell’s bells.


  1. Kathryn

    A relevant tangent: someday, when your gifted students (or their parents, or the resource teacher) tell you that they NEED differentiated lessons, perhaps you will recall this exercise (and a few odious staff meetings) and be moved by the plight of your students–enough to actually help them.

  2. That was going to be my take too:

    I think the real value of credentialing programs is to remind you of how painful it can be to be a student.

    Just wait until you get to do BTSA.

  3. Ms. Kathryn: There would be some value in that, I suppose.

    Mr. K: I may not even get to do it, and I have mixed feelings about that idea.

  4. samjshah

    I feel your pain, even though I’m not exactly sure what you’re talking about specifically. In Massachusetts, where I went through my credential program, I think we had to do an essay or two, but they weren’t anything really.

    Even though I’m not teaching in a public school, I have to say that the single thing that has stuck with me when it comes to my very few ed classes (I was in this new, streamlined program where you could get certified in 1 year, all classes and student teaching included!) was something that one of my two ed profs said the week before each of us went to take over our student-teaching classrooms:

    “I’m going to level with you. All that we’ve been doing for the past month has been BS. Nothing we’ve said to you or that you’ve read is going to help you once you stand in front of those kids. What I can tell you is that the only thing this is good for is making you THINK you’ve done everything you can to prepare for what you’re about to do. Maybe that will help with your nerves for the first five minutes before taking over. But really, the only way to learn to teach is by teaching, and learning from your mistakes.”

    He was a wise man.

    I’ve talked to other teachers who went through ed programs they found immensely useful. I don’t know what they did that we didn’t, but I’d sure like to find out.

  5. To be fair to my program, I did have one course plus one professor who really significantly helped my teaching. The course was on assessment, and I took it online — lessening the sting of being in class, and allowing me to cover essential, interesting and useful material efficiently and at my own pace.

    My professor was a real class act. He covered almost every bit of the required curriculum, but reinforced his lectures with tangents about what it’s really like out there. He was a lot like your professor — straight up, no B.S.

    Side note: Notice that I don’t disparage any individuals, general or specific, involved in administering the program. I disparage only the program itself, and in a general sense, in accordance with the consensus of educators I’ve met.

    I do understand that our program was created to fulfill a state mandate, and I believe you when you say it’s better than the turd the state hands down.

    To put it crudely: I don’t disparage individual polishers — just the turd they are forced to work with.

  6. credential candidate

    Just wanted to add a voice from another side here: I am in a credential program that has been immensely useful. The professors acknowledge at every step of the way that nothing they say will give us a magic set-up to perfectly run our classrooms, but we discuss theory, curriculum, instruction, etc. to good effect. I think it’s crucial to have some sort of conceptual framework for what we do, and also to have a forum in which to discuss it with experienced master teachers/professors.

    I wonder at people who teach in credential programs saying that what they teach is b.s. — that’s pretty undignified and unprofessional, I think. If they don’t believe teaching can be taught — or at least discussed and debated and worked out, as happens on this blog and others — what business do they have teaching?

    Seems like the idea that it is a magical thing that you ONLY learn by doing is another aspect that factors in to the de-professionalization of teaching.

  7. You misunderstand. My professor posited that most of the other professors in my department, though very nice people and more than competent in the theory of their field, would talk about only how wonderful and joyous teaching is, of all the roses and unicorns.

    They didn’t talk about anything bad that might happen while you’re a teacher. The fake lawsuits, the excuses, the whining, the belligerently disruptive students, the “in an inner-city school, don’t let female teachers walk to their cars at night.” He knew even the last one from personal experience.

    Ignoring the bad for the sake of the saccharine is foolish, and it won’t help me or any credential class when I get into the classroom. That’s why at least my professor called it B.S.

  1. 1 Priorities « On the Tenure Track

    […] before the first meeting, I had already developed quite a bit of trepidation about entering the profession. The decision to […]

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