They also shared with me that they felt the strategies I was presenting in the training were probably being learned by their fellow participants/colleagues for the first time – ever.
As a veteran educator who’s taught students grade 7 – community college and mentored fellow preservice and inservice teachers (with academic training, even if mostly in theory), I found myself needing to listen and regroup. Academic teachers, even brand new ones, generally have had some exposure to literacy strategies, even if it was in a college class discussion or textbook assignment.
These tech center instructors, conversely, came from industry with little to no foundation on which to scaffold the material they’re learning.
Oh my! Could it be that my presentation of strategies might be making some sense to some, but missing the mark for many? I was glad that I had already planned for formative assessment in more than one way: in the classroom, observable by their administrators, but also in our sessions, through informal writing and focused discussion.
Stop. Regroup. Assess. Adjust as needed.
Our discussion also helped cement the direction of my staff development plans for new(er) tech center teachers, most of whom come directly from industry. They have the credentials to share information about their industry, but what they’re lacking is HUGE: pedagogy, the study or process of being a teacher, sometimes referred to as the ‘the art or science of teaching.’
When the business people-turned-educators arrived for their first day, I’d make it a point to chat with them, find out why they wanted to teach, what their expecations were, and offer my support. I was curious. With that, they’d head off with keys and Teacher Manual in hand, to find their classroom and begin their new career. The classroom door closed.
After Christmas break, most were gone. Lots of reasons. Mostly underprepared, overwhelmed, and just plain burned out.
For those who came back that first week in January, they looked hesitant… and determined. The majority of them never returned after the final bell in June.
Teaching (‘done right’) is tough. Many new teachers don’t survive.
One of the primary reasons: little support and lack of understanding of pedagogy. So, what does effective teaching look like? What is this thing called ‘the art and science’ of teaching?
Take a look at the extremes, presented by veteran educators, and see if you recognize any of your colleagues, your children’s teachers (or yourself or your teachers!) in them …