LOTS118 - Teacher Training

05.03.2021 - By Life of the School Podcast: The Podcast for Biology Teachers

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We Introduced ourselves with the Question: What was the worst job you've ever had?
Lee: probably telemarketer was my least favorite. It was my first job, and I was in high school. I had to try and sell these cheesy plaques to parents that congratulated their kid for graduating high school. I did at least learn to handle rejection so maybe it wasn’t the absolute worst. I’ve been pretty lucky to work in the places I’ve worked but I’m also pretty choosy about where I work too.
Tanea: I wouldn’t like to say worst, because any job can be honorable and pay the bills, but the people you work with can definitely influence how you feel about a company. When I worked at Autozone and junkies were running out the store with batteries, and co-workers were robbing the store and be arrested in front of customers, and I was handling tons of cash and worrying about robberies, that was a low for me. That’s when I decided to go back to school to get my Masters degree.
Aaron: Grocery Store Cashier/Bagger while in College.
Before you started teaching, how much time did you spend in the classroom or working with students?
Lee: I did volunteer work in a high school biology classroom when I was in college before I started taking my teacher certification courses, and I was also a lab TA for 4 years in undergrad. I also taught pre-K for two summers, with one of those summers being in charge of a room of 3 year olds which was really fun, so I had a lot of experience before I began teaching.
Tanea: I spent a bit as a substitute teacher.
Aaron: I took 1 class where I got experience tutoring HS students. I also was a TA for first year biology.
What is one thing that took you years to learn as a teacher that you could have possibly learned in your teacher training?
Tanea: It took me a bit to understand that relaying information does not equate learning, and that students really need to be given space to wrestle with any content, and they need to have opportunities to find meaning in what they learn. It also took me a long time to understand that equity involves the community really deeply reflecting and committing to change at every level and that equity doesn’t happen in isolation. We need parents, teachers, administrators and the entire community committed to the work.
Lee: Great question...but I think that I’ll go with this: whoever is doing the talking is doing the learning. Get kids to talk more so they can learn not just from YOU--they often learn better from each other!
Aaron: Watch other teachers teach, particularly teachers who teach differently and invite them into your classroom. We are too siloed!
What is one support you think training or early career teachers should have as a support, that they may not currently get at the start of their teaching career?
Lee: Training in culturally relevant teaching strategies and strategies for achieving equity in the classroom--ALL of us can benefit from learning more about those.
Tanea: I honestly think that I would have greatly benefited from some modeling instruction courses (or workshops similar to those that are conducted in student mode) during my teacher training.
Aaron: Let them teach fewer classes and have them spend built in PD time.

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