Techie to teacher

California hopes to persuade scientists and engineers nearing retirement to make math and science teaching their second career. The program is modeled on an IBM program, which lets would-be teachers take online courses on company time; they get a $15,000 stipend during their three-month student teaching internships.

“It’s like Teach for America backward. . . . I’m taking the still-young and saying, ‘Let’s do this,’ ” (Sherri Lansing) said. “They bring experience, they bring wisdom, they bring knowledge, and they also bring money. They can afford to be teachers.”

I predict the ex-techies won’t put up with the working conditions in disorderly, poorly led schools.

Education Week followed up on six Ohio teachers who started in the profession five years ago and found all have remained teachers. But only two are working in inner-city schools; a third was working in a Cleveland middle school till May.

Late on May 4, an 8th grade girl angry about detention threatened to “beat the ass” of the teacher, prompting her classmates to take up the chant. In the next period, a mouse poked its head out. During the commotion that followed, a 7th grader carrying the dead rodent slammed Ms. Hauserman into the doorjamb. She closed her classroom door and couldn’t stop crying. “I can’t do this anymore,” she thought as bruises began to form.

Now diagnosed as suffering from post- traumatic stress syndrome that developed over months, she hasn’t been back to the school.

She’s interviewing for jobs outside Cleveland.

About Joanne


  1. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Taxpayers need to sue for the return of every cent they paid out for administration. Who says inner city kids can’t learn? They sure learn what they can get away with.

  2. Kirk Parker says:

    And the student was charged with assault? Somehow, I don’t think I fault the teacher for not sticking it out…

  3. If there were employees at IBM (for example) who were beating up managers and employees–and if IBM inexplicably allowed this situation to persist, letting the guilty employees keep their jobs–then the company would certainly be subject to lawsuits by any employees injured in the future, and probably also be employees who were “only” threatened by violence.

    Why shouldn’t the same principle apply in the schools? Why should these be treated as some sort of extraterritorial spaces in which normal rules of law and civility do not apply?

  4. Highschool science is hardly going to make some kid go “wow, I want to be a scientist!” Besides, the whole teacher credential program is nothing more than a massive income transfer. Most of the credentials are issued by the Cal State universities.

    Why have the credential program at all? If they really want to be serious, why not wave the “teacher training” and let people just take and pass the CSET?

  5. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Or even waive it.

  6. P. Abel says:

    And as a ex-techie now finishing a third year of teaching, I will tell you my patience for the absurdity of teacher education classes is at an end. I passed the NYS LAST, ATS/W and Math CSET without opening a book, ditto with the CA CBEST. But, if I have to write yet one more paper contrasting & comparing Constructivism, etc… I’m going to scream!

    My students are successful at passing the NYS Regents exams in Math & Science (I teach both), I hold high standards for classroom achievement as well as behavior. Why in the world isn’t that enough? So, I’ll trundle off this summer & finish my Master’s degree while muttering – “how will this make me teach better?”

    What will help me teach better? Teaching at a Honors Academy this summer to very small classes of highly motivated students – it will allow me the luxury of pre-testing some curricula changes and doing another few thousand math problems!

    Good math teachers, IMHO, love math. We do math problems for fun and for deeper understanding. We do them with students not only for the students’ betterment and learning but we step back and watch “how” they solve them. We tackle errors or misunderstandings in mathematical cognition as they happen 🙂

    So did teacher ed “teach” me how to teach? Nope.
    Will the Master’s degree make me a “better” teacher? Arghhh… I believe doing the job day after day gives me better insight as to what works & what doesn’t.

    Give the ex-techies a few weeks shadowing an experienced and successful teacher, mentor them the first year with classroom management, pacing, etc and get out of their way 🙂

    My guess is they will gravitate to the most well run schools where they have a high degree of freedom. I’m not sure the education establishment is ready for thousands of us who worked in a “skunkworks” environment, but I am happy teaching. I’ve adapted, my school has adapted and both of my department chairs have been supportive.