I just watched 23 of my student teachers graduate last week. Now they are actively interviewing for jobs as the local school districts are slowly posting their openings. Five of these soon-to-be new first year teachers already have a job. I was thinking recently about my first year of teaching back in 197… I always tell my students that everything I learned in college about teaching I did the first week. Subsequently, everything I said I would never say to children I had said by the end of the second week out of desperation. Then, I had to learn to be a teacher.
The teacher preparation programs are so much better now. I like how my students spend almost an entire school year in a classroom. They get to see, participate in and create procedures and curriculum from the beginning of the school year until almost the end. At the same time, they learn and plan classroom strategies in college courses and then return with that information to the classroom. This scenario worked well for my wonderful cohort group this year. There were several who actually surpassed their site teachers ability to create an even more efficient classroom.
Yes, times have changed. Teacher preparation programs are much better now. The breakdown in the system now comes when a new teacher does not receive the strong support necessary to continue the growth she started as a student. Even the best new teacher needs continual support and advice to be successful. I am hoping that each new teacher leaving my program will receive that support. I feel much like a parent sending my child out into the world. I hope each one will become the successful teacher I can see inside her/him today.