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I wrote the following post on Edubloggers – a group for those people blogging about the K12 classroom including teachers, administrators, curriculum directors, professional developers, pre-service teachers, and college level educators who focus on k12 education.:

Please share with me websites or resources that would be helpful to future and preservice teachers. I am the site author of roadtoteaching.com – a free site that supports pre-service teachers.

Here are the responses:

  1. http://www.abcte.org – non-profit that helps people get certified to teach through an online program – we have $150 off in January as a promotion for people who want to get certified
    http://www.charterteacher.com – help for future charter teachers
    http://www.newteacherhotline.com – podcast for new and aspiring teachers
  2. New Teacher Center: http://www.newteachercenter.org – Since 1998, the New Teacher Center has served over 49,000 teachers and 5,000 mentors, touching millions of students across the country through comprehensive mentoring and professional development programs.
  3. http://www.cashforcreations.com – Educational Visual Aids, where teachers get paid for their original ideas of educational visual aids. Teachers can find other visual aids that teachers have used that have worked for them in their classrooms.
  4. I have a message board for pre-service and new teachers and answer questions about curriculum, organization, classroom management, working with parents, colleagues, administrators, etc. on scholastic.com. Advice is free. ūüôā
    http://community.scholastic.com/scholastic/board?board.id=emergency
  5. A few more ideas: for parental involvement, especially with the growing Latino student population, try Colorin Colorado at www.colorincolorado.org. On my LinkedIn profile page there is a list of sites specifically for improving parental involvement. Another idea is Teachers Pay Teachers at www.teacherspayteachers.com. It contains a lot of inexpensive resources that will benefit new teachers. I also suggest connecting with professional learning communities like edWeb at www.edweb.net. Good luck!

RESOURCES

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    I am currently in San Antonio, attending the Phi Delta Kappa International Summit.  I have been involved in various discussion groups and listened to a panel of distinguished education leaders.  A topic that has been reoccurring is changing how we teach teachers.  This is of special interest to me, evident in my writings and in creation of this website Рall in an effort to support aspiring teachers.

    Many of the higher education professors explained that the teacher preparation programs are moving in the right direction, touting that many teacher preparation programs have students engaged in year-long clinical studies (student teaching) before entering the classroom.  Others spoke of the improvement of mentorship from the school district of beginning teachers.  These are all great steps in the right direction.  Yet, there is a disconnect in the assumption that universities always prepare qualified teachers ready for the classroom and, second, that once teachers are in the classroom, school districts will have a comprehensive mentoring program in place.  Many times one or both of the these assumptions prove false.

    I reflected back to my business background and how it might apply to education. ¬†When I hired a new employee, they were first introduced to the business and its culture. ¬†After this, the new employee were trained for their position. ¬†As part of this training, new employees learned in a classroom-type setting and would work with more experienced employees, creating a type of mentorship and hands-on learning. ¬†Then, new hires had to pass a test, which then led to “graduation.”

    So far does this seem very similar to the teacher preparation programs you and I went through? ¬†First came the teacher training classes and then the student teaching component. ¬†Lastly, we graduated and we’re hired as first year teachers (hopefully with some type of mentor program to give support).

    However, there is a huge difference.  In the business setting, I would NEVER allow a new employee begin working without continual monitoring, goal setting, and targeted professional development.  The training department of the company was responsible for the outcome / performance of their trainee three months after they graduated their training program.

    I propose we do the same with higher education. ¬†Upon completion of the teacher preparation coursework and student teaching, teachers are given a “provisional” degree and certification. ¬†The teacher training program then acts as a bridge to the local schools for which the teachers teach. ¬†For their first year, teachers are given continual feedback, support, goals, and targeted professional development from a collaborative partnership between the higher education program and school district.

    The school district would provide mentor teachers at the same school, allowing for a long-lasting, supportive relationship to be established. ¬†Higher education program would provide additional monitoring and feedback, but also provide (free) professional development workshops / ed. courses to meet the needs of the beginning teacher. ¬†Upon completion of this first year, then teachers receive their final degree and certification. ¬†Let’s not stop there. ¬†Imagine after the first year, beginning teachers continued to receive feedback and support by taking a university-sponsored support program for completing NBPTS.

    A teacher preparation model like this would provide any pre-service teacher a smooth transition from their training to the classroom, preparing them better to meet student needs. This high level partnership would lead to increased student achievement, reduce teacher turnover, and have a financial payoff (ROI) for school districts by not having to find and replace teachers that left the profession.

    Now, aspiring and student teachers can order Road to Teaching as an e-book, SAVING close to 40%!

    Preview my book at Lulu.com for free.  Learn how to differentiate yourself in your teacher preparation classes, create a positive relationship with your cooperating (master) teacher, establish effective classroom management, perform well in your interview, and much more.

    Purchase your copy as an e-book version (Lulu.com $8.99) or as a print version (Amazon.com $13.99).

    In one of my Master’s classes, the professor gave us some advice that she received when she was in college.  She believed it was one of the most important pieces of advice that she received in her academic career.  Her advice is to organize your studies, whenever possible, around a central theme.

    What did the professor mean by building on a central theme?  In your preservice training there are numerous scholarly opportunities to do research on topics that are of high interest to you.  The professor explained that when you are given an opportunity to research something of your choosing then stick to one educational topic of interest.  Some possible topics of interests may include: interdisciplinary teaming, cooperating learning, multiple intelligences, or special education.  The benefits of building on a central theme throughout your academic career are:

    1) You become an expert on the topic.  With each class you can build on your knowledge of the topic

    2) You can reduce your workload.  You can take research you have already completed and use it for another research project.

    3) You build great references and research that may be used for a higher degree, whether it is a Masters or a Doctorate.

    I thought about my professor’s advice and decided my central theme would be interdisciplinary teaming.  I was passionate about this concept because the school I was intending to student teach practiced interdisciplinary teaming. Therefore, I used interdisciplinary teaming as the driver for my research and studies.  By simply completing a few courses I began to build a wealth of resources on the topic as well as incorporating different prospective into the topic.  Here is a breakdown of the classes that I took that built on my central theme of interdisciplinary teaming:

    Adolescent Development РResearched how interdisciplinary teaming contributed to a sense of community and helped meet the adolescent’s need for belonging.

    Exceptional Children – Researched the benefits of interdisciplinary teaming in the perspective of special education

    Quantitative Research – Added quantitative research and a literature review of the benefits of interdisciplinary teaming

    Qualitative Research – Added qualitative research and a literature review of the benefits of interdisciplinary teaming

    When you find a topic that interests you and you begin to do research, remember to organize it in a manner that makes the most sense to you.  It might be best to just create a single folder to keep all your work and research together.

    Resource Links

    Road to Teaching: A Guide to Teacher Training, Student Teaching, and Finding a Job

    Student Teacher Topics

    I have been thinking about how to design Road to Teaching, so that it makes the most sense for student teachers.¬† One change you will see over the next week is I am going to add a contributor page.¬† These are education professions with a diverse background (education professors, teachers, administrators, etc.).¬† As a person in an education program you will be able to blog or email these contributors directly any question you may have?¬† For example, a student teacher may email the elementary teacher asking what numeric games works well with younger children.¬† Or a preservice teacher may email an administrator asking how long should he/she wait to follow-up after an interview.¬† These contributors have expressed a sincere desire to support individuals in teacher education programs, so please don’t hold back.

    To be honest, this is my first blog. Previously I maintained a static website for student teachers, but I was unsatisfied with how little it connected and interacted with aspiring teachers. It is my hope with this format teachers will better support each other, ask questions, seek advice, reflect on successes and failures, give encouragement, share funny stories, and, overall, create an unique community to help student teachers transition into effective teachers in their own classrooms.

    Before launching this website I had some distinct changes that I wanted to implement.¬† First, I wanted to create a place where preservice teachers could go to seek advice.¬† I remember from my own experience how difficult it can be to get advice.¬† In particular I remember one of my friends was having trouble with his cooperating teacher (CT).¬† My friend tried to resolve the issues with his CT, but it didn’t work.¬† He was afraid to approach his university supervisor because he felt that would reflect in his student teacher evaluation.¬† His issues went unresolved and he received a poor recommendation from his CT.¬† This is a situation that could have been addressed here.¬†

    Within the next few weeks I will be bringing on a panel of contributors with varied perspectives:

    • Master teachers
    • Beginning teachers
    • Administrators
    • University education professors

    These individuals will be able to address the concerns or questions (big and small) student and beginning teachers may have.  For example, a teacher may ask an adminstrator what types of questions could one expect in an interview. Or, a teacher may ask what is a great vocabulary strategy for 5th graders. 

    Another change I wanted to make was having the content driven, not by me, but by preservice, student, and beginning teachers.  This website is about supporting you, and it should be centered around meeting your needs, your questions, and your concerns.  To make this happen, I created a Join Us page.  This outlines how to be an author on the website, so you can freely blog.

    Also, feel free to email me at eric@road2teaching.com.  I love to hear suggestions, education resource recommendations (e.g. books, links), and constructive feedback on how to improve this website.

    Thank you for visiting.

    Eric