To the Editor:
In Marc Tucker’s blog post about teacher colleges (“Teachers Colleges as the Weakest Link: Part 2,” November 9, 2018), he argues that colleges of education may be weak because they stay inside their shell and are prisoners of their environments. As a recent graduate of a college of education, I believe my experiences demonstrate otherwise.
My school’s teacher-preparation program collaborates with public schools in rural and urban settings, and requires that students experience teaching in both environments.
Of these clinical experiences, my junior year stands out to me. This unique year included two full days a week dedicated to a classroom in the community where I was right in the trenches, working alongside experienced teachers, learning from and sharing ideas with them, and building critical relationships with students. I learned skills that could not be taught in the college classroom: Empathy, differentiation for students with diverse needs, building connections with families, work ethic for the long hours it takes to be a teacher, and many more. Before entering “student teaching,” my professional internship as a senior, I had already spent hundreds of hours with students.
Although there will always be ways to improve and change teacher-preparation programs, my experiences lead me to feel proud of our work. The profession and our education are not weak.
A version of this article appeared in the December 12, 2018 edition of Education Week as My Teacher Prep Was Not ‘Weak’