Getting Ready to Teach
Edudiva is back, blogging about teacher preparation. She describes a conversation that occurred while helping a friend apply for a job (very appropriate subject matter for these economic times, I might add). The friend needed to submit a statement about her philosophy of education along with her resume; she thought she’d include the “philosophy” she wrote for an education course. After all, the academic who taught the course had liked it. Edudiva told her to go back to the drawing board, and added these valuable comments about ed schools:
Teacher ed schools need to focus on helping teachers improve their teaching rather than trying to sound more academic by encouraging or even accepting the overuse of jargon. The prestige they seek will come from success rather than imitating other so-called soft sciences.
One aspect of the education system that stands in the way of what Edudiva envisions is the refusal to measure teacher quality. Sure, there are some broad “studies,” but there isn’t enough evaluating teachers and promoting based on the results, at the school level. I’m reminded this quote from an article in the Post-Dispatch about a change in testing:
If a particular teacher or school gets especially good results, others can learn why — though schools shouldn’t use the scores to evaluate teachers, says Ann Jarrett, teaching and learning director with the Missouri National Education Association.
As the above sentence shows, teachers’ unions can spot the threat of merit pay from a mile away. Teachers aren’t recognized for what common sense might identify as areas of achievement, like improving their students’ test scores — the “success” Edudiva recommends as the basis of prestige. So, they have to find other ways to stand out. And one way in which they distinguish themselves is by speaking a top-secret education code.