In this weekend’s New York Times, columnist Joe Nocera explores how teacher preparation programs leave many teachers unprepared for the realities of urban classrooms:
Both [teachers] have undergraduate degrees in elementary education, yet they both recalled how lost they felt when they first stood in front of a classroom. They hadn’t done nearly enough student teaching, they felt, and, in any case, the student teaching they had done hadn’t prepared them to deal with issues, as Edel put it, “like poverty, drugs, crime, and hunger” that she was seeing on a daily basis. Melinda recalls thinking that even the most basic elements of her job — classroom management, organization, lesson planning — were things she had to figure out on her own, after she had begun teaching. When I asked them what they had learned in college, they shouted in unison: theory!
“Shouldn’t teacher education be precisely what the reform movement should be focused on?” asks Nocera.