I’ve spent the past semester, for the first time in my career, working with science TEACHERS. Teachers, not students. It’s a change I guess I always knew in the back of my mind was coming, it just didn’t hit me that this is what I wanted to be doing until I really got into it.
So, what has been my most profound realization after the first few months: reflection is important, and I can’t stop reflecting on how teaching and learning in the 21st century needs to change. In working with teacher candidates (TCs), it really has become evident why new teachers become so much like the teachers from yester-year. I’m not going to go into this too much, it’s been documented before (Lortie, 1975). The model of how we prepare future teachers has many obstacles to overcome. The most profound is the muddled relationship that is the TC and his/her cooperating teacher (CT). In being in someone else’s classroom, with his or her students and his or her classroom procedures, it can become quite challenging. On top of this, the manner in which teachers are placed with CT’s is a real crap shoot in itself to begin with. It really is luck of the draw. There are many factors that impact where TC’s get placed, and it is less than ideal. If teacher training programs are to change, I can envision many more effective ways in which we can get future teachers in a classroom with students (though not practical right now).
So, how does this happen with student teachers and in-service teachers? I don’t know the answer to this, but I think it starts with the “WHY?”. I’m anticipating a talk next week by Simon Sinek (How great leaders inspire action) at the MN Ties conference. You can check out my schedule HERE. I can see how this applies to education in so many ways. Another individual, John Moravec (who I’m connecting with in January) has a talk (Leapfrogging toward knowmad society) that is also related. I’m so focussed in most of my thinking on big scale change. In talking with TC’s, I can see that I’m quite comfortable discussing teaching strategies and love the help and guidance that I’m able to provide, but yet can still find myself thinking larger scale. How will this large scale change come? That’s the path that I’m on trying to discover an answer to.
One thing I know for sure is that writing blogposts such as this aids in my thinking so much. We constantly preach to our TC’s about it, and I’ve understood its importance for a while now; but never really appreciated it as much as I do now that I’m encouraging others to do it as well.
To wrap up, in my first semester of grad school, I’ve learned how to use Dream Weaver and am in the process of giving the blog a face lift (see the logo above). I’m working on a project involving the Minnesota River (see logo to the left) and creating professional development opportunities for teachers using some sweet technologies. I’m anticipating this being my dissertation research. I’m presenting a paper next semester at the ASTE conference in South Carolina. I’m looking at teacher reflection using video annotation software. I’m following 20 scholarship winners who are current science or math teachers in the Metro. I’m quickly knocking down the credits as my coursework continues to fall into place. And of course, the fabulous TC’s I’m supervising and working with too have impacted me tremendously as well. I couldn’t be happier in my professional life at this time.