What qualities does one find in a highly effective teacher? Fort Wayne Community Schools teachers have pursued extensive additional knowledge in the subjects we teach, but also the science and the art of how to best impart that knowledge to our students. How can you read the face of a child or teenager and “just know” that something is heavy on his/her mind that will get in the way of any meaningful learning that day? We know through our training and years of experience that we need to have multiple ways to approach students.
That said, the editorial entitled “Why shouldn't we have a new path to the classroom?” in the Dec. 10 News-Sentinel seems to question the validity of what professional teachers overwhelmingly know to be true. It would appear the editorial writer believes he or she knows the profession better. It is more than a little disheartening that the writer of this piece sweeps aside the teachers of this state so casually.
Hasn't this writer read stories in his or her own paper? Scores have climbed. We are known as a strong education state, ranking third in the nation in graduation rates. Where did the idea for this test, which would allow someone to stroll into a classroom as a teacher without anything else to aid their work with children and their intricate needs, originate?
In one paragraph the editorial states, “The ultimate success of the new path to the classroom will depend on followthrough — whether officials monitor the progress rather than just throwing them in front of the kids and forgetting about it.”
Perhaps we missed something here, but isn't that teacher preparation? Aren't you saying that it isn't necessary? The claims against the current system of preparing a professional teacher have no data to support them. There is strong evidence of our progress. We have data — where's yours?
Currently, there are other pathways (like “Transition to Teaching”) for those who feel called to become teachers after serving in other professions. These other paths recognize that a person still needs training in the science and art of education to prepare for the classroom. If we truly care for the needs of children, why would we not want to place the most prepared and skilled person in front of them? Who benefits by deriding their hard-working and effective teachers?
The piece ends with this view of the proposed new pathway into the classroom: “Can the results really be any worse?” What an injurious, dreadful thing to say, especially without any validating evidence to support it. The people of Fort Wayne who entrust 30,647 children to FWCS teachers must know something the editorial writer does not.
Teachers in FWCS are having a great deal of success in the classroom teaching students with a variety of unique needs, and they are successful because they are well-versed in content and pedagogy. Our kids deserve it.