2008 Me Would Hate 2013 Me For This Post

I want a degree in Education to be more difficult. 

I don’t mean I want to make it really hard so we can weed out “bad teachers”.

I mean I want, “Wow, you got an education degree? That’s impressive,” to be something people actually say.

I want a Bachelors in Education to be so respected that teacher licensing exams are unnecessary. 

I want a workload with a higher cognitive demand.

I want education majors who have to spend as much time on their work as engineers or fine arts majors do on their work.

I want research papers to be assigned for weekly reading rather than textbooks that summarize the information.

I want more classes in psychology, interpersonal communication, and counseling to be required.

I want education majors to take courses in content taught at the same level they will be teaching, using varying methods of teaching so they can see excellent teaching modeled, since there is a chance they never experienced it during their own K-12 education.

I want secondary education majors in elementary classrooms and elementary education majors in secondary classrooms to gain a better appreciation for their colleagues and a better understanding of how a subject can have continuity across grade levels. 

I want secondary education majors observing in the classroom as early as the elementary education majors.

I want a 5 year degree for education majors.

In short, I want past Taylor to hate present Taylor, but secretly be thankful he received a rigorous education in education.



5 thoughts on “2008 Me Would Hate 2013 Me For This Post

  1. @MrMcDonough says:

    Thanks for this piece. It’s certainly caused me to pause and give thought. The education department at my college didn’t allow students to major in Education as they claimed that specializing in education wasn’t as valuable as specializing in a specific subject while minoring in education. At the time, this made sense to me. The education minor would provide the lens through which I could view my major. I ended up taking 4.5 years to complete my student teaching certificate as I co-taught 10th grade history from September-December at a local public HS. That said, I now see content as being less important than educational theory, itself.

    By the time I reached college, I already had a vast understanding of the humanities. Focusing on education while minoring in English and history would have allowed me to delve more fully into areas of pedagogical inquiry and curriculum development; I could have observed more teachers, visited more schools and asked more questions. I do think that the emergence of so many fresh, innovative (and radical!) voices on the educational landscape has heightened the collective societal conscience when it comes to conversations about progressive education. This reality helps to embed in educators the understanding that how you teach is more important today than what you teach. Cultivating curiosity, resilience, collaboration, cultural competence and a bevy of other 21st century skills isn’t about mastery of facts, it’s about building a foundation for the global citizens of tomorrow. While education used to be more like carpentry (following a blueprint), it’s evolved into something that should be more like snorkeling (guided exploration, risk-taking & showing, not telling). Tomorrow’s teachers don’t need to be masters of content, they need to be masters of the craft of teaching and inspiring.

    I do worry, though, that in a capitalist-driven world where the tail often wags the proverbial dog, the only way society will respect an education degree is if it earns more money.

  2. Jennifer Lawler says:

    I was just talking about this issue with a colleague this morning. We agreed that the job of teaching has become far more complex than it once was, and that teacher education programs must begin to reflect this complexity. I have also recently engaged in conversations with colleagues regarding the relationship between teacher content knowledge and student achievement. In John Hattie’s research, he found content knowledge to have a relatively low effect on student achievement. Many educators would like to argue this point. I try to explain that it is not really content knowledge, but content pedagogical knowledge that matters for teachers. Having a PhD in mathematics isn’t going to make me an effective math teacher – understanding how children learn mathematics and the best strategies to guide their learning will. Teacher education programs need to focus their efforts on ensuring that future educators understand how children learn and research-based best practices in the content areas they will teach.

  3. M. says:

    I agree, and I disagree. My M.Ed. was laughably easy. I’m almost embarrassed to say that I have it. So I’m all in favor of making education degrees more rigorous.
    On the other hand…we do t have enough high-quality people doing education degrees NOW. How is making it more difficult going to help?

    • Well, I don’t want to make it difficult for the sake of making it difficult. I want to make it difficult because teaching is an important job and I feel that currently the education programs we have do not adequately prepare or train a majority of the teachers who go through them. But I disagree that making it harder will mean that we won’t have enough people graduating. It doesn’t stop engineers, counselors, etc.

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