Monday, September 26, 2011

Chapter 1-The Teaching Profession and You

1.What are the advantages and disadvantages of being a teacher?
There are many advantages and disadvantages of being a teacher, all of which can vary depending on individual opinion. Some advantages are fulfilling the desire to work with young people, the love of a specific subject, and value of education (p.3). Other advantages include building relationships with colleagues, job security/benefits, lifetime growth, and summers off. Some disadvantages of being a teacher include inadequate salary, poor working conditions, heavy workloads, discipline issues, negative attitude of students, and lack of parental support (p. 4). Each of these advantages and disadvantages vary from school to school due to factors such as school funding, levels of poverty, location of the school and administration. 

2. What are the satisfactions—and complaints—of today's teachers?
Most teachers reported in the National Education Association Survey that they are satisfied with their job,  collegial relationships, challenge of work, job security (tenure), and their autonomy in the classroom (p. 3). Within this survey most teachers agreed that they had adequate resources and a solid supervising staff.  Some complaints, as stated in question 1, included teachers salary, heavy workloads, poor conditions, lack of teacher involvement, disciplinary issues, negative attitudes towards education by students, and lack of influence over school polices.

3. Can we consider teaching to be a profession?
When looking at the tables on page 11 and 12 and comparing the criteria for a profession and critera for a semi-profession, I found that teachers may not meet every criteria to be considered a profession, but checking of certain criteria for a semi-profession would be selling teacher short. To prepare to be a teacher one must provide essential services to the individual and society (education is essential), teaching is concerned with an identified area or need for function- education,  teachers possess a specific body of knowledge and skills (subject matter), teaching requires a preparation program at a college or university, and teachers are usually characterized by a  strong service motivation and a lifetime commitment to competence. These are just five examples of professional criteria teachers meet, yet the professionalism is still questioned.

4. How has teacher preparation changed over the years?
In colonial America teachers rarely had formal preparation, and rarely attended a secondary school. College completion was more common in Europe than in America. Teachers were expected to have some knowledge of their subject, but not required to complete any form of education. Teaching was not considered a career but as temporary employment (p 14). In 1823 there was a Normal School developed to provide elementary school graduates with some formal training in teaching skills. This school, opened by Reverend Samuel Hall, marked the beginning of teacher Education in America (p. 14). Years later Horace Mann opened another normal school in Lexington. During the 1900s normal school was the expectation to become a teacher. Teaching also use to be female oriented and held in a low regard. As time went on Normal schools became three or four year schools to learn how to teach. Into the 1980s a demand for professionalism increased for teachers. This called for a masters level degree in teaching. In '87 the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards was developed to recognize outstanding teachers. This Board aimed to award board certification to extraordinary teachers (p. 15). The board had 5 specific criteria- mastery of subject area, commitment to students, ability to effectively manage a classroom, continuous analysis of teaching performance, and a commitment to learning and self improvement. Today teachers must go through specific requirements depending on state standards. Teachers must earn a B.A. or an M.A. or have a 5th year of study to obtain a teachers license. 

5. What are the differences between the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers? 
 The National Education Association was created in 1857 and is the largest professional and employee organization in the nation with 3 million members (p. 21). NEA provides free legal services, training opportunities, and is also a political force and works to make sure pro education candidates get elected and promotes laws to be passed that are beneficial to teachers and students.  
The American Federation of Teachers was created in 1916 and has over a million members and has a leadership role in education reform. The AFT supports national standards for teachers, charter schools, and induction programs, that enable new teachers to work with master teachers and recruits people of color into the teaching profession.

6. What traits and characteristics are needed for successful teaching?
Teachers must be compassionate, knowledgeable of their subject matter, punctual, professional, and personable. Teachers must be committed to educating their students and caring about them. Teaching is a profession that you need to put in extra hours, extra research and be compassionate about your students and professional with your colleagues to be successful.

7. Is teaching a "good fit" for you? 
I believe that teaching is a good fit for me, especially physical education. I love being around kids, and helping people. I also think that physical education is one of the most important things for people to learn and understand. Regardless of what your interests are and what you want to do in your life, you will always need to take care of your body to be successful. Teaching students lifetime fitness and aspects of nutrition will ensure a greater quality of life. 

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