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Topic: What You Never Learn in Methods Courses
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Jerry P. Becker

Posts: 13,809
Registered: 12/3/04
What You Never Learn in Methods Courses
Posted: Sep 6, 1999 10:20 PM
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[Things to keep in mind during this new school year ...]

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From NCTM News Bulletin, September, 1998, Vol.35, No.2, p.5


"What You Never Learn in Methods Courses"


[Note: The excerpt below is from James F. Marran, emeritus chairman of
the social studies department at New Trier High School in Winnetka,
Ill., and was reprinted with permission from Marran and Education Week
(vol.17, no. 1,3 September 1997).]


Every teacher education program in every college and university should
create a course called

"Other," where the syllabus will examine the axioms of what all present
programs forget to tell teacher candidates. These are what every new
teacher learns in that first tedious and traumatic year where, in the
best of circumstances, the excitement, engagement, passion, and
challenge of learning the traditions of teaching unfold. In the
"Other" course, teachers would learn:


<fontfamily><param>Symbol</param>…</fontfamily> That a teacher cannot
be all things to all people.

<fontfamily><param>Symbol</param>…</fontfamily> That they are not "bad
people" if they are not always able to meet all the needs of all their
students.

<fontfamily><param>Symbol</param>…</fontfamily> That they are powerful
and compelling figures in the lives of their students.

<fontfamily><param>Symbol</param>…</fontfamily> That in recalling
their school years, students mostly remember their teachers, not the
courses they

took.

<fontfamily><param>Symbol</param>…</fontfamily> That they need to find
a "critical friend" whom they can trust to serve as their sounding
board.

<fontfamily><param>Symbol</param>…</fontfamily> That at times students
can be very cruel, difficult, and mean-spirited.

<fontfamily><param>Symbol</param>…</fontfamily> That it is a mistake
to personalize a student's unacceptable behavior.

<fontfamily><param>Symbol</param>…</fontfamily> That teachers love
their students as their parents love them--but in a different way and
for a

different reason.

<fontfamily><param>Symbol</param>…</fontfamily> That few people will
ever appropriate the amount of time and effort teachers give to their
teaching.

<fontfamily><param>Symbol</param>…</fontfamily> That by choosing to be
teachers, they have entered an emotionally dangerous profession.

<fontfamily><param>Symbol</param>…</fontfamily> That they are both
role models and change agents.

<fontfamily><param>Symbol</param>…</fontfamily> That they need to pay
attention to both their physical and their emotional well-being.

<fontfamily><param>Symbol</param>…</fontfamily> That teaching is not
like inducing a chemical reaction, but more like creating a painting,
or planting

a garden, or writing a friendly letter.

<fontfamily><param>Symbol</param>…</fontfamily> That teaching is a
complicated business because students are such unexpected blends of
character,

personality, and background.

<fontfamily><param>Symbol</param>…</fontfamily> That most of the
significant advances in civilization have been the result of the work
of teachers.

<fontfamily><param>Symbol</param>…</fontfamily> That teaching is an
act of faith in the promise of the future.

<fontfamily><param>Symbol</param>…</fontfamily> That teaching is a way
of life.


*****************************************************************

*

Jerry P. Becker

Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction

Southern Illinois University

Carbondale, IL 62901-4610 USA

Fax: (618) 453-4244

Phone: (618) 453-4241 (office)

(618) 457-8903 (home)

E-mail: jbecker@siu.edu

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