Quality, Clinical Preparation Is Nonnegotiable—Let’s Figure This Out
People becoming teachers need significant time to learn their craft before they take on the full responsibility of the job. This is nonnegotiable. No other high-functioning profession tolerates such widespread under-preparation.
Ten years ago, straight out of college, I became a teacher. I had no experience in teaching or preparation beyond seven frantic weeks of student teaching during the summer before I attempted to lead a Bronx fourth-grade class. Fueled by idealism and a track record of earning good grades, I felt I could compensate for my inexperience with my youthful energy. Predictably, the year was a disaster, both for me and for the students. And I left the teaching profession. The long version of the story is here.
A clinical-based teacher prep program brought me back, saved my career, and put me in a position to help hundreds of students move toward becoming their best selves. Time with great mentors and a reduced teaching load were indispensable in preparing me—not only to survive but also to be consistently effective. We know what works.
I’m looking forward to seeing the GTL Center take up a solution-oriented discussion that gets into the nitty-gritty of teacher prep.
What are the barriers to pairing preservice interns with great cooperating teachers—and how do we overcome them?
Emporia State University, in Emporia, Kansas, seems to have this figured out: The retention rate of its graduates after five years in the profession is about double the national average. In addition, preservice interns at Emporia State spend two semesters in the classroom with their cooperating teachers. That’s a whole lot longer than the typical student teaching experience. Check out a video produced by the U.S. Department of Education profiling Emporia State’s success.
What are the keys to expanding teacher residency programs, such as the Academy for Urban School Leadership in Chicago? They show real promise.
How do we reimagine Teacher Prep 2.0? The Center for Teaching Quality has an insightful, teacher-written report with models and ideas.
Let’s figure this out before too many more students have to see a baffled rookie teacher at the front of the room.
Dan Brown is a National Board Certified Teacher. During the 2012–2013 school year, he has served as a Teaching Ambassador Fellow at the U. S. Department of Education. In September 2013, he become the Director of the Future Educators Association. Dan Brown didn’t write The Da Vinci Code, and he’s okay with that. Follow him on twitter @danbrownteacher or email him at email@example.com.