wasting bandwidth since 1999

Instant Teachers in Texas

Not surprisingly, Chett over at ReformK12 disagreed with my post about the "instant teacher" plan recently passed by the Texas State Board of Education. Under the program anyone with a degree "related" to the subject they plan to teach who also passes a test would get a two-year certificate to teach. You can read all of Chett’s thoughts yourself but I have a couple of items to respond to.

My objection to the Texas plan wasn’t so much the instant part as the fact that there appears to be no support offered for these new teachers once they enter the classroom. Chett says that the responsibility for this belongs to the local districts not the state. And then he says it belongs to the school not to the district or state. Well, someone needs to take responsibility.

In this case, since the State Board is approving this simplistic approach to teacher certification, they should pay for the training most of these instant teachers will need. Let the individual districts and schools decide how best to implement it but a mentor program shouldn’t be an option when the standards for certification are set so low.

Chett also says "Be sure the candidate knows the subject matter cold, and genuinely wants to work with kids (as opposed to seeing teaching as a fallback position)." I guess the test is going to cover both parts of this.

He also says "Hand the teacher copies of The First Days of School by Harry Wong, and Setting Limits in the Classroom: How to Move Beyond the Dance of Discipline in Today’s Classrooms by Robert MacKenzie. Both of these books are extremely practical, the first focuses on general classroom procedures, and the second on discipline." Both books are excellent and we use them in our system’s mentor program. But just handing them out with no follow up is still irresponsible.

And finally, "How do you think they do it in private schools?" Of course. As we all know every private school is better than any public school.

Previous

Mars is All Wet

Next

More Unsound Science

3 Comments

  1. You write, “Chett says that the responsibility for this belongs to the local districts not the state. And then he says it belongs to the school not to the district or state.” Never said that last. (While I’m often hypocritical, I wasn’t at that moment :-)

    See, after your original post mentioned “local school systems” I replied that this was where responsibility for mentoring belonged, meaning local whatever. Later, I specifically spoke of individual schools, for I feel the responsibility should lie with the principal and administration of each particular school.

    My entire point was that the whole shebang should be local, not run by the state. This mentor program could include things like training sessions using the Wong and MacKenzie books as textbooks, which is exactly what I would do if I were a principal. This is what I meant by “let the individual schools deal with new teachers their own way.”

    On making sure teacher candidates know their subject cold and genuinely want to work with kids, you write “I guess the test is going to cover both parts of this.” No, silly, the principal (or local school board) will do that, just as it is done in private schools.

    When I mentioned private schools, you seemed to get your back up: “As we all know every private school is better than any public school.” Sheesh, did I say (or even imply) that? Why the absolutes “every” and “any”? I would argue that the average urban private school outperforms the average urban public school, but there is a huge overlap.

    My whole point to mentioning private schools is I don’t see them clamoring for a state-mandated teacher training program. They hire whom they like and train them as they see fit!

    Cheers, sport! :-)

  2. aschoolyardblogger

    Chett, you are a dangerous thinker. If you had your way, and there were vouchers, we might have schools of choice. Imagine the choice between your school, Tim’s school and my school. The only thing left to figure out would be how to let children, and not their parents, do the choosing.

  3. Tim

    You make a good point about school choice. We know that kids have different learning styles and that all of us have different teaching styles. Wouldn’t it be neat if we could help parents match them up?

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén