To the Editor:
I read with interest your article on the case of Scott McConnell, who was expelled from a graduate education program because his beliefs about teaching ran counter to those of his college (“Teacher-Hopeful Runs Afoul of ‘Dispositions’,” Feb. 1, 2006).
There is a bigger issue involved than professional dispositions, though: What should a school of education expect of teacher-candidates when it comes to their personalities, presentation, and the way they conduct themselves in the world?
As a classroom teacher, I have had the opportunity to work with several student-teachers personally, and to observe scores more who have come through my school. One of the saddest experiences I and countless other teachers can ever have is meeting a teacher-candidate we know is missing that indefinable “it.” Whether the problem is poor hygiene, poor presence, or poor self-esteem, there are people out there who should be told flat out that teaching isn’t for them. The schools of education won’t say it, fearing lawsuits, but shouldn’t they be able to?
Medical Lake, Wash.
A version of this article appeared in the March 22, 2006 edition of Education Week as Should We Tell Some That Teaching Isn’t for Them?