Is Teaching For Me?

As a college student near entering the world of pursuing a teaching career I hear a lot of talk around campus of students questioning if everything they are doing is worth it all in the end. They ask themselves if teaching is really for them. Personally I never thought twice about pursuing a teaching career. The passion and personal motivation of the things I believe I can accomplish in the classroom and the world of difference you can make is more then enough to keep me moving forward. I cant help but to hear what others in my classes are discussing. From having to pass the PRE (professional readiness exam) , meeting all the requirements to enter the teaching program, and even after all of this still having to take MTTC tests covering your major and minors.

The biggest headache of all is this PRE. Many students stopped pursuing education as their major because of this test alone. Does this mean we could be losing great teachers to this exam and if so, cant we all agree that this should be fixed sooner than later? I hear things from students focusing on the elementary level saying how they cant pass the math portion full of calculus and other maths they may have never been taught or have not seen since high school. What if test taking is a challenge to these students? I struggled with this exam but stayed motivated enough and finally passed it. I also had these thoughts I hear from other students currently finding themselves where I once found myself. Thinking that this test does not score you upon character, dedication, classroom management, lesson planning and many other things that create a teacher.

Referencing back to the question if teaching is for me, are individuals saying this because of a personal feeling that they feel stronger pursuing another career or do they ask this in fear they cant pass the state tests and/or meet the high requirements it takes to get into their universities teaching program. Will this cause a teacher shortage in the future? I have already read articles talking about teacher shortages happening in certain areas of the country.

As coming up with a solution, I believe there should be more then just testing to get through or into a teaching program. Mock interviews, live lessons in classrooms and collaboration with peers should be on the list of finding tomorrows teachers. These are just a few ideas but the point I am getting at is we could be losing amazing teachers that are very strong in areas other than testing. If there are other ideas out there or opinions about pursuing teaching today please comment below and share!

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4 thoughts on “Is Teaching For Me?

  1. goodm1bd October 5, 2016 / 6:37 pm

    I agree 100% with what you’re saying about the PRE. In the music building, I’ve seen peers that are actively teaching marching bands every single year fabulously with extensive other experiences that cannot enter the education program because of the PRE. I truly feel we are losing some amazing potential teachers to this test. The people I’m thinking of have years and years of experience in music education, but they cannot legally use it before passing a test in English and Math.

    Still, I understand that they want it there because they want intelligent teachers. But, like you said, what is the definition of intelligence here? Passing some calculus on a test? I don’t think that’s a good measurement. I think if we want better teachers, we need to utilize a different form of assessment. (Because there are some great test takers that would make horrible teachers). I think that your ideas for live lessons and interviews as a requirement is much better. (It is of course important to remember that the PRE is a state of michigan requirement, not a CMU one, because I see many students upset with CMU when they are just following state law). Regardless, I think we need to do away with this high stakes PRE and replace it with some form of basic lesson evaluation/presentation “test” and an interview. That would give a much better picture of how effective someone will be as a teacher.

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  2. dezvillalobos October 5, 2016 / 7:02 pm

    I am totally with you with you on this post for the most part. I myself have never really doubted that I wanted to be a teacher once I decided on it, but hearing all of the negative things about it from people outside the profession has made me at least wonder why they hold that opinion. I do think that the standard that we hold perspective teachers to can be daunting, I also think that it can be a good thing. For one, it makes sure that people who are entering the field actually want to do it and are qualified. On the other hand I do agree that we could be losing some quality teachers with this extensive process. Someone who has maybe an unconventional but teaching style may be forced to give that up, or give up teaching all together to become or stay a teacher. This is a topic that I think merits more discussion for sure.

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  3. LoriBruner October 5, 2016 / 7:10 pm

    This is always such an interesting discussion for me to hear among my students because the PRE wasn’t around while I was going through my teacher education program (the PRE replaced the much-easier “Basic Skills Test” that we had to take before we were admitted to the College of Education. As a student, I rarely heard of anyone struggling to pass this exam.). It’s also interesting from a faculty perspective. In the interest of full disclosure, my office is directly across from the person who heads the admissions committee so I hear discussions on a very regular basis about the struggles our students are having with the PRE and the impact that it’s having on admitting students to the Department.

    But what can we learn from this as students? What can we do with our struggles to help inform our teaching? Regardless of how we might feel about the PRE, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. It’s one of two major “standardized tests” that we need to pass as educators (the other being the MTTC here in Michigan). These exams serve as gatekeepers to our futures – much in the same way that standardized testing in K-12 schools can be gatekeepers for our students; if you don’t score well on the SAT, your choices for higher education become much more limited.

    I would agree with Brett that we need a much more holistic picture of the students that we’re sending out into the world as our future teachers, but would you want to visit a doctor who couldn’t pass their medical board exams, for example? I would also argue that I wouldn’t want to visit a doctor who DID pass the medical board exams but never had any hands-on experience or guidance in the medical world. Just a thought to mull over as you wrestle with this very-real issue! 🙂

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  4. leighahall October 8, 2016 / 2:42 pm

    As someone unfamiliar with the PRE I would find it helpful (and I’m sure others outside your state would too) for more details regarding what it is. I’d be interested in a few sentences that discussed the content of the test and what it is people find to be challenging.

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