Monday, May 7, 2012

Where is the ground floor?

I always thought the "ground floor" in the field of education was Kindergarten, as it usually signifies the beginning of a child's education career. Now, I'm not so sure. I am a firm believer that the experience a child and their family have in kindergarten often sets the stage for the remainder of their school years. However, the teacher drives the experience. The teacher's college experience plays a role in the effectiveness of the teacher. So, is the ground floor kindergarten, or college? That question has probably been debated by LOTS of people much smarter than I, though I think I'm leaning towards college for the time being. I only say this because so many new teachers are entering the 21st Century workforce with 20th Century skills. School systems then have to spend time "re-training" new staff members. This training is in addition to the traditional induction process that new teachers go through. I bring this up because in last week's post, I said I was going to share my thoughts on steps schools or school systems can take to aid in closing this gap. - Invite the dean or department chair within the school of education to participate in school division meetings and professional development sessions. This way, they get to experience the issues today's schools are facing. - Offer your talents to a higher-Ed institution. Many schools of education are looking for guest speakers to help bring a real-world flavor to the class. Being a guest speaker will also allow school division members to interact with potential teachers. - Ask higher-Ed institutions for assistance in solving school and division problems. The opportunity may turn into a grant or dissertation possibility for a student or faculty member there. - Form a partnership with a college or university. Allow instructors to visit your school or system. Hold professional development sessions for teachers on campus. - Keep the lines of communication open with your higher-Ed institution. Make sure they know why or why you aren't hiring their teachers. Make sure they are aware of the mission and vision of your school division so they can help prepare potential teachers. I know there are many more ideas out there, but for the sake of time, I'll allow others to comment.

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