Our educational system is broken. At least that’s what parents and the government believes. (I’m not saying they are right… I’m not saying they are wrong).
Up to this point there has been some disagreement about how to fix it.
I have the solution.
Best of all I’m not going to charge a dime for it.
After all, I’m here for the kids (and summers, but that’s a different blog).
As an added bonus we don’t have to throw money at the problem or add more testing (although I’m still in favor of grade level exit exams, but that’s also a blog for another time).
Here’s my plan.
It’s so simple it’s seems almost too good to be true.
Did I mention it’s free?
The one thing upon which parents, teachers, administrators, and the government can agree (actually it’s the only thing upon which they can agree)… we all want our students to perform better.
Here’s my plan.
Teachers teach students.
Ipso facto, to get higher performing students, we need better teachers (and administrators).
So how do we get better teachers?
Train them better.
How do we do that?
Train them like plumbers.
Teachers go to college for 4 years (or 5, possibly 6, sadly 7 in some cases). They take a laundry list of classes in which there are two primary goals.
The first goal is to have them sit quietly for 3 1/2 years and listen to professors talk about what makes a good teacher. Then they get to student teach for a few weeks.
The second goal is for colleges and universities to make boatloads of money by holding students hostage for 4 years in their education programs.
This type of training works in some instances, but too often we produce young teachers who aren’t prepared.
You know whose training works?
Here is an example from a plumber training program: The term of the plumbing apprenticeship consists of five years of not less than 8,000 hours in which a minimum of 500 hours is spent in paid-related classroom instruction and 260 hours of unpaid-related instruction with a minimum 80 percent attendance.
Plumbers not only take classes, but they work with master plumbers who teach them the skills on an actual job site.
They train with plumbers to become plumbers for 8,000 hours.
Think about that. 8,000 hours.
A typical school years is less than 1,400 hours.
And that’s not counting field trips, testing, snow days, lunch, and recess.
Student Teachers “teach” for 12 weeks (?). At 5 days a week (?) for 7 1/2 hours a day (?).
That’s 450 hours.
Who’s better prepared? A new teacher or a new plumber?
We need new teachers to spend more time in the classroom learning, tutoring, and getting hands on experiences before we throw them to the wolves.
And by wolves, I mean students, parents, colleagues, administrators, and school boards.
New teachers should spend years learning their profession, not weeks.
If we did a better job at preparing new teachers, they would do a better job teaching which would benefit the students.
Again, no charge.
All of my ideas are free… because they are of no real value.