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Teacher Describes 'Laughable' Teacher Training

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The New York Times has taken on the topic of teacher-preparation programs in a post for its ongoing Room for Debate blog.

In the post, "Frustrated Early Childhood Teacher" characterizes some teacher coursework offered by education schools as "laughable." For instance, this teacher writes, she (or he?) once attended a training session hoping to learn about how to increase literacy among English-language learners and went away disappointed that the session had ended with an activity of making caterpillars out of egg cartons. She considered the session a waste of time.

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It is very interesting for me to read the commentaries of many teachers and find so many of them frustrated by their preparation, studies and class experiences.
I graduated from Guatemala at a good teacher's school when I was 18 years of age. The theories were good and also the preparation, which was holistic. We were taught to teach in an environment that does not have the great resources available here in the US.
I went back to school here in the US because my preparation and expertise in class were not sufficient for the system. I was allowed to be a teacher's assistant and then praised for teaching in Spanish that is what is needed where I live (Bilingual/dual language Education)... And yet I could not be a "teacher".
After finishing my studies, I am being requested to do a practicum. This after I taught for a year on a special contract to replace a teacher on sabbatical for her doctorate degree!
Yet, I learned a great deal in many areas of my studies, especially when learning about the importance of bilingual education (in any native language of the student) Yet, this area could use a lot of improvements in teacher education.
Most importantly, I learned to speak and write better in English; never of course at pair with a native speaker and learner of English. Which brings me to what I will finally be doing at the schools: Teach in Spanish to spanish speakers, and teach also Spanish as a second language to other children, plus teach to children of Spanish speakers that lost their native tongue because of the system. Research shows that this type of learning improves both the capacity and the ability of the student, plus their English of course!
There is more to teaching than the classroom setting, like any good teacher would tell you.
Without the parents and the community, plus good leadership at all levels, teaching becomes an isolated learning of facts that many times do not put the students in touch with their reality and life.
Teaching is a communal effort, with the parents as the principal leaders of their children.
Do Universities need improvement? YES! Perhaps, theories and practicums should be done at the same time. Then, the experience of applied theory would make far more sense and teachers would not be so afraid of a great profession and vocation!

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