Another excerpt from my current project on reforming education. I have finished the second chapter now and am about 7500 words into the book—a pretty good start.
So perhaps the teacher education programs are at fault? The state has gone to great pains in creating a number of standards, regulations, requirements and paperwork for a prospective teacher to accomplish but is it really helpful? Are there new teachers who are qualified or are they lacking.
It seems there is a bit of both. While I don't knock the state for its efforts to try and account for every teacher and their training, it does not seem to be making much of a difference. In fact, there have been some teachers run off because they had been teaching a subject for a number of years without the proper qualifications. Many of these people left the private sector and became teachers. Some were engineers who taught physics, or former missionaries who taught Spanish. Others were chemists or biologists who desired to teach in order to pass on the skills and expertise that they possessed. Some of them quit teaching because they were unwilling to jump through the hoops. They knew they were good teachers. Their students knew they were good teachers, but they did not have the proper credential, and rather than do what was required in order to continue their job, they left the classroom.
To be fair to the state, the new requirements were made clear and there was ample time given to complete them, but for some it didn't matter. Perhaps they only had a few more years of teaching left in them anyways before they took time to spend with grandkids and travel, but for whatever reason some left.
I don't think that this is really the problem however. Still part of me thinks that there is a lack of proper teacher training. Now any veteran teacher will tell you that things were simpler when they began and that keeping kids alive and busy was the main objective, but still there can be some improvement.
The state knows this too and is trying to compensate for the lack of training new teachers arrive with by offering a mentoring program at the schools themselves. Even knowing that and knowing that some credential programs are not as good as others, I still feel as though the schools of education are not the problem. Most seem to be doing what they, and the State of California, feel is best to prepare a new wave of teachers. After all it is not an easy thing to take a recent college graduate who has spent her entire life as a student and get her to the other side of the classroom in one year. Teaching is a challenging occupation that takes years to master and so they might be doing the best job they know how.
In the end I can excuse the schools of Education from blame, and certainly hope we can refrain from "blowing them up." The problem must lie elsewhere, so please allow me to continue exploring my own journey to nail down the problem.