September always gives me the urge to be a student again. Even after all these years, I miss the sense of energy and promise that a new school year brings.
And what about the education graduates who are heading into their first year of teaching – how are they feeling? Excited, surely. But research tells us that in the early years of teaching, many teachers also feel overwhelmed, underprepared, and very stressed. It’s a tough learning curve that drives too many new teachers out of the profession.
New teachers today are more highly educated than ever before – but is that enough? Has teacher education kept pace with our changing times, changing demands, and changing student needs? Most importantly, how can we do it better?
This issue of Education Canada explores the present – and possible future – of teacher preparation and induction. From a recent graduate’s reflection on his preservice experience (p. 25), to the big-picture perspective of one of Canada’s most influential educators (p. 14), we look for insights into how education faculties can better prepare the next generation of teachers for the challenging work that awaits them. Inside you’ll learn about an innovative teacher training program designed for rural and remote students who, it is hoped, will graduate to meet the need for rural teachers who are truly part of their communities (p. 18). You’ll consider the importance of including collaborative learning and teaching in both teacher preparation programs and as a professional practice that is especially invaluable for early-career teachers (p. 22). Our web-exclusive feature reveals early-career teachers’ discomfort with formative assessment, and proposes ways to better support the development of a full range of assessment competencies.
Something that Sharon Friesen wrote in her article jumped out for me. She reminds us that the need to reconceptualize teacher education is not a crisis – it’s normal:
… because of education’s relationship with the young and the newness of the demands they bring with them and that shape their lives, such responsiveness is itself part of the nature of education as a living, intergenerational project.
Education is a living, intergenerational project. Of course it changes. So how can faculties of education create coherent, inspiring and practical teacher preparation programs that meet the new needs of a new generation? What do you think needs to happen? Share your ideas and examples with us on Twitter or Facebook (#EdCan). Let’s keep the conversation going!
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Photo: Dave Donald
First published in Education Canada, September 2018