If the classroom is a place that is meant to be a dynamic, fluid, creative environment where everyone is supposed to be able to learn and engage in their own way, then our teachers should be trained in that as well. To their credit, Teach for America does a pretty good job at this having seen some of their teachers in action. Teachers need to be instructed the same way schools want our students instructed. The problem that most of our programs run into (Professional Development included) is that we teach adults “the traditional way” and our students are educated in a way that is very different.
It is possible to equip teachers with ideas, techniques, and approaches that make them more effective. It is possible to produce a teacher that is ready to swim that first week. What’s the problem? Reality.
Our kids are not their books. Our students aren't the ones they make a movie about because nobody pays to watch a train wreck. The reason Jaime Escalante and John Keating are famous educational figures because they did something truly remarkable and rare. Real life classrooms are much different. At least day one with a new teacher. How do we create more teachers that are ready? Honesty.
Few of our training programs do a good job of telling them the real about education. Short of making reading this blog or having them follow @turnandtalks on twitter, the only way to make them ready and expose them to the real is by creating a collection of writings from career veterans in the classroom or setting up informational interviews with people that weren't afraid to tell the truth. Education is messy, ugly, dangerous, beautiful, inspiring, and limitless. Knowing the crazy possibilities, good and bad, and acknowledging them all as possible rather than having them painted as anomalies, is important. Be honest and teachers will stay longer. If they choose the mess that is DISD rather than getting tricked into it by one of these programs, then we will see some results because the teachers in the classroom will be there teachers that want to be there.