Ed major is easy, students tweet

Education schools aren’t trying to draw high achievers to teaching, complains the National Council on Teacher Quality’s PDQ blog. Admissions requirements are low and assignments are undemanding. (See page 162 to 164.)

Tweets on #edmajor show education majors bragging about how easy their classes are.

By contrast, students on #mathmajor#sciencemajor and #nursingmajor frequently tweet about how hard they work and how much they enjoy solving difficult problems.

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  1. My brother and I graduated from college in the 50s and 60s and the ed school was a joke at both times; useless and boring courses, worthless theory and fads, the worst teachers in the university and almost no useful academic or pedagogical coursework (especially in el ed). Most of the kids who dropped/flunked out of his premed program and my healthcare program went to the ed school. The programs couldn’t have been better designed to repel serious students. I’ve been hearing that (whatever the name is) street that separates Teachers’ College from the rest of Columbia U is the widest street in the world for at least 50 years.

  2. I dated an ed major for a few weeks in college back in the late 1970s. I would grouse about the 20 problems I had to solve for tomorrow’s Engineering Statics course (about 2-3 hours of skull sweat) and then ask her, “so, what have to do tonight?”

    “I have to make a couple sock puppets that I can use to perform a scene from the such-and-such children’s book.”

    She was really cute, but ultimately too annoying to date for any length of time.

  3. When I was in ES in the 50s, we didn’t do much in the way of arts and crafts and I don’t remember any teacher-directed play activities at all during school. We played – essentially unsupervised – at recess. We usually did some colored-paper thing for holidays, and we had art and music appreciation (both listening to music and learning folk and patriotic songs), but book reports were written (thank Heaven, no dioramas). However, a ES teacher relative (probably a very good teacher, who knew math and science) did take two beanbag classes and her master’s thesis was at the level of a 4th-5th grade science project.

  4. My MIL was an elementary school teacher, adn she gave me a bunch of her college textbooks from back in the 60s. It was not \easy reading – philosophy, psychology, etc. Her psych textbooks are a LOT more dense than the ones I used for my psych electives in the 90s. My friends in elementary ed classes in the 90s didn’t seem to have material that was even close to the difficulty of the older textbooks.

  5. Mike in Texas says:

    The endless bashing of teachers continues. I’m sure there are no tweets out there from drunken journalism or economics students.

    • Educationally Incorrect says:

      This is not “bashing of teachers.” It’s bashing of education schools. It’s not the same. When I was a teacher I “bashed” my so-called training because it sucked.

      Defending ed school practices will do nothing but invite more contempt for teachers.

    • Roger Sweeny says:

      Mike, you’re right; it is indirectly bashing teachers. Most of us are better than the ed schools we had to go to. I would love to see my union push for disestablishing the ed schools but that seems like an impossible dream.

  6. Deirdre Mundy says:

    I thought about getting my MAT at one point. A friend who’d already suffered through the program warned me off. “It’s horrible. You’d kill yourself from boredom. Nothing but group projects and classes where the professor reads aloud from the textbook, because the other students are too dense to read it themselves!”

    The worse these programs get, the more they drive away prospective teachers. I know some brilliant teachers, but many of them did the alternative certification methods–where 2 years of work is compressed into weekends for 1 year.

    The thing is, most of what ed school laboriously teaches could be learned by skimming a few books and then browsing Pinterest. The real learning for new teachers takes place during student teaching and in the first years in the classroom.

    So why have ed school at all?

    • Rhetorical question or invitation to discussion?

      • Deirdre Mundy says:

        Invitation to discussion. Why not just have someone get a 4 year degree followed by an apprenticeship? Heck, back in the day, a teaching degree was a 2 year, post HS degree. So clearly the current licensing/training regime is not about actual teacher training and is more of a sorting mechanism. Why can’t we devise a better, cheaper sorting mechanism?

        • Stacy in NJ says:

          Deirdre – Come on! You have to know that much of “higher ed” is about credentialing. Keeping students in school for longer periods of time and constructing barriers to entry.

          My oldest son wants to become a physical therapist which now requires a doctorate degree. Really. A doctorate for a physical therapist. It’s complete BS. It’s the professional organizations limiting competition in cooperation with the schools who provide the programs (for a fee, of course).

          Obviously, if a future teachers received a rigorous high school education then a couple of years of training and some supervision by an experienced teacher that should be adequate – certainly for elementary ed.

          • I’m with CW and Stacy: El ed teachers, at least k-3 ones, should be able to be well-prepared in a two-year program and an internship, which could start within that two years. After all, they should already know most of the academic content – although they’d most likely need geography and civics.. Dump the silly theories, fads and artsy-crafty nonsense, make sure they know phonics, grammar, composition, arithmetic, history, civics and basic science. Regrettably, some spec ed would have to be included. Even for higher grades, when a BA is required, the focus should be on academic content, some of which should be open to exam pass (including SAT, ACT, SAT II, AP, CLEP etc).- as it would for early ES teachers. If kids know they can use really good test scores to opt out of classes – and higher test scores should be required for program entry – there’s motivation to pass such test barriers.

          • Roger Sweeny says:

            A cynic might say, “The business model of American education is, ‘You give us money; we give you certification.’ The longer it takes to get certification, the more money we make.”

        • Educationally Incorrect says:

          I agree, but my theory as to why things are they way they is this: Most people in the ed world suffer from an inferiority complex and want to prove to the world that “we is smart two.” Teaching is not a theoretical science but the ed people want to pretend it is so it’s seen as a very cerebral discipline. This is why we have all these Grand Unified Theories of Learning floating about in ed schools.

        • Goes to the nature of the public education system.

          School board elections don’t, or at least only occasionally, hinge on the district’s educational attainments. Being thinly-attended board elections are based on name recognition, union support or for no obvious reason at all. If board membership doesn’t hinge on the educational attainments of the school district what’s that say about the importance of education as a function of the public education system?

          The people who are in charge of a school district don’t get to hang onto their office due to the excellent educational results attained under the incumbency nor do their lose their elective position for lousy educational results. At the top-most levels of the most widespread institution of public education the education of kids is only an incidental consideration.

          If the school board members don’t have to care about whether kids are educated then how urgent is that consideration down the organizational pyramid? Do those who oversee the hiring process then feel compelled to seek out ed schools that best prepare new teachers for their duties or is one ed school pretty much as good as another? Is there any motivation to agitate against statutory requirements that drive up the cost of becoming a teacher without, in any way, producing better teachers?

          Springing from the indifference of the hiring agency to the skills of the people they hire is an indifference on the part of the ed schools to how they go about their business. If it’s unimportant that new teachers are unprepared then it’s unimportant to teach them in a manner that prepares them. But limiting access to the labor pool – the unions concern – to artificially-inflate wages, as well insincerely demonstrating the importance of education – the concern of state politicians – , results in educational requirements on new teachers that have nothing to do with them being good teachers.

  7. I should have added that three of my 1-4 teachers (no k) were old Normal School grads and they were excellent teachers. Do the basics and do them well.

  8. Richard Aubrey says:

    Recall very little play and art only in art class in ES. Teacher talked, wrote on the board, asked questions, took ten minutes for us to read a section in a textbook, asked more questions, told us more stuff, wrote on the board.
    Except for the number of feedback opportunities, it was something like HS classes in structure except in the latter, nobody read Little House or other classics to us after lunch.

    • Deirdre Mundy says:

      Some of my fondest ES memories are of the books our teachers used to read to us– a chapter a day, starting in first grade.

      Do teachers do that any more? I’ve taught religious ed for years, and it seems like today’s students lack the ability to listen to, understand, and remember a story read aloud. Why is that?

  9. And to think that my grandmother (mother’s mom) taught in the one room school in the next town right after she graduated from high school. That involved driving a horse and buggy (about 1912-ish). Her high school diploma was probably worth about what my college core curriculum was worth.

    My grandfather (father’s dad) got his master’s at Columbia and in his entire career as a superintendent would never hire a teacher with a degree from there so fed up was he at the nonsense. And this was in 1918.

  10. Sonysunshine says:

    My husband began a degree in elem. ed but soon dropped out from disgust. One class had him making a giant penny and another wasted hours of his time on m&m math. One shouldn’t have to go through elementary school again in order to be an elementary teacher.

    • Deirdre Mundy says:

      On the other hand, I do know people who found elementary ed. classes challenging. However, none of them have been able to land actual teaching positions… So the worst of ed majors? Probably going to be working at McDonald’s, not in the classroom.

      • Those are probably the ones who shouldn’t have been in college in the first place.

        My roommate was a very bright secondary ed major, and was so frustrated and disgusted by the ed courses that she’s never taught at all. By the time she realized that she should have done her English/History major in the Arts college, and just taken the minimum ed courses for certification, she would have had to take 5 years, which she couldn’t afford. The ed school required exactly half of the credits for a major/minor as did the Arts college; the rest was BS and hot air.