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01 July 2015 @ 08:24 am
Knowledge for Sale  
Pedagogy! Get your fresh hot pedagogy here! Programs! Get em while they're fresh! I got some lovely authentic, responsive frameworks here!

When I was young, I often stayed with my grandmother for days at a time. There were all sorts of street vendors, some in horse-driven carts, who would come down the street behind her house hawking their wares. A link from the (you should forgive the name) Smart Brief this week centered on a district in Texas which has mandated online PD for all teachers with fewer than 5 years of experience: http://www.panews.com/2015/06/28/paisd-to-begin-innovative-staff-development-course/. The price tag is staggering. But what staggers me even more, are some of the underlying assertions as to the need for this PD. Here is one quote that disturbs me:

"'We have a lot of individuals coming from the business world into our classrooms,' he said. 'We have engineers coming in from industry teaching math courses. They’re brilliant people, and they know their fields — they have no problem teaching the class material. But when you have 27 students, 160 if you’re teaching in the high school, that’s completely different from industry or from business.'” - See more at: http://www.panews.com/2015/06/28/paisd-to-begin-innovative-staff-development-course/#sthash.fHRp9R8k.dpuf"

No duh! Folks who come into education from another profession do not have the knowledge they need. The reason for that is that they believe they are imparting knowledge, teaching "things." What they are doing, IRL, is teaching KIDS and not content. Do they not touch on this in nursing school and engineering programs? Apparently not. And that is sad. I wonder if these folks from other occupations take any courses in colleges of education? If they do, I would hope they would have a better handle on class management, discipline, and more. And if you are not called to teaching per se, I am not certain why you have entered the classroom.

This is not an indictment of alternative certification (well, maybe a little). It is an indictment of a school or district that does not screen applicants to see what they DO know about teaching real live students. What questions are asked in an interview that would lead someone to hire a potential teacher without sufficient knowledge and expertise in education?

And, of course, part of this is due to the high rate of turnover in teachers. Instead of trying to address this situation, we are offering PD online for the droves of new teachers who come into the profession without a background in pedagogy and then leave in a matter of a few years.So, spend almost a half a million dollars on bringing folks up to speed (who should not enter the classroom without already possessing the skills and knowledge and expertise) instead of spending funds on books, libraries, librarians, equipment, and all the other necessities. In a few years, perhaps schools and districts will understand priorities better. I can only hope.
Current Location: Maine
Current Mood: angryangry
Mindi RenchMindi Rench on July 1st, 2015 01:43 pm (UTC)
For less than the price of those online programs, school districts could hire instructional coaches to provide job-embedded PD that enhances the practice of all teachers at the point of need. Now that I am a coach, I wish I had had a coach when I was in the classroom. Even people who've been teaching 20 years have things to learn!