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What are student teachers missing?

I have had several student teachers over the last decade and usually work with at least one undergrad student each year. Most are from Quinnipiac University near my school. I will say that I think the school has an excellent program — the best of any school that I have worked with. However I do wish the school would add a few things to their program. Here they are…with a very short explanation for each:

1-Technology:They need to be up to date with the latest tools and how and when to use them. Too often they include computers in a unit not to create, but just because they can. This can’t be taught by a current professor — this stuff just wasn’t around when they were teaching.

2-Create: They are very good at following lesson planning “rules.” Open unit with question, give opening facts, follow-up with primary source, ask open-ended question, etc. I want to see them creating far-out units that push themselves and the kids.

3-Risk-taking: I want to see units that crash and burn because the kid had enough guts to try something that pushed of what is the norm. I don’t want ok safe units that are guaranteed to succeed. I want an attitude that says watch out kids, this is special, and together we will give it our best shot, even if it floops.

4-Know-themselves — Hmmmm…self-reflection(?)I want someone to sit down and reflect with them. I want them to know why they are doing things, who they are and what made them that way. When that happens they start to no longer see a group of kids, but individuals.

5-Know the answer to “Why?” Why does Billy need to know this? Why is he going to remember it 10 years from know? Why is it valuable to him immediately? Why did the kid not hand in his HW? Why did she fail the test? Why does the mother’s actions at the conference explain the actions of the student?

I hope what is written above is not seen as negative statement about my past colleagues.  It is a statement about the colleges that they come from.   I will say that many of my past student teachers were some of the greatest educators I know.  They created a classroom environment that I have only seen surpassed by a few veteran teachers.  I am very proud to have shared a classroom with them, and I would be happy to have my children in their class(alright…except for that one guy who wasn’t going to teach anyway).

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