What Is Teacher Training and How Effective Is It?

Teacher training for future teachers began when they were in PreK-12 school. As students themselves in all of their classes, they watched, listened to, and participated as learners throughout these thirteen years of instruction. Some teachers captured their students’ attention more than others. Some teachers taught more effectively than others. And some teachers may have wasted students’ learning time through ineffective, poorly prepared lessons. Nevertheless, these years impacted their students’ view of what a teacher should be, should do (or shouldn’t), and how teachers are supposed to conduct classes and treat students. Wanting to be a teacher started here.

The second major teacher training experience occurred in their undergraduate classes where future teachers learned more about their chosen areas of teaching. They took classes that specifically dealt with how to teach, plan lessons, and provide positive learning experiences for their students. Again, these future teachers were also learning teaching methods in all of their classes by observing, listening to, and absorbing the ways their college or university teachers and professors taught. This was also influential teacher training, as well as a beginning or continuation of wanting to be a teacher.

Probably the most impactful experience that has had the strongest effect on their teacher training was Student Teaching, a class required for teachers by just about every college or university. This class was usually a full quarter or semester experience in a public school classroom. A contracted teacher supervised the student teacher in the public school where the student teacher taught full days. Each day a regular teaching assignment included 5 or 6 classes of 30-35 students in each class in a middle school or high school, or a full day of 30 to 35 students in an elementary school class. 

Student teaching was the real test of what teacher training was all about. The student teacher prepared lessons for the classes and put those plans into action with students. Student teachers learned to direct, communicate with, and provide instruction for several classrooms full of students in middle school or high school. They taught lessons, assigned homework, which they graded, and they gave tests, which they also graded. They learned to keep students’ attention and cooperation—or not.

Student teachers were involved in parent conferences, as well as other supervision duties including playground, study hall, recess, lunch room supervision, hall supervision, bus duties, teachers’ meetings and every other duty of a regularly employed teacher. The school principal, supervising teacher and the college or university director are all contributors to the supervision and evaluation of the student teacher.

Once a teacher is hired by a school district, the supervision and training continues through an evaluation system. Principals observe teachers several times throughout the school year. During the first two years or throughout a teacher’s career, A teacher may be placed on probation if the principal finds the teacher is not doing a good enough job. Probation involves more teacher training, and this training may be done by the principal or by someone the school district appoints to carry out this job.

Every aspect of training for the new teacher is an essential step in making sure students have a quality instructor in each classroom. But teacher training does not end there. Throughout a teacher’s career, staff development is provided to keep teachers current with positive educational programs. Teacher training is an essential ingredient in keeping teachers learning and practicing their teaching knowledge and skills, and definitely training in ways for teachers to work together to continue their professional growth.

Most teachers agree that a major source of teacher training comes from their students. Students teach their teachers just by being themselves, acting naturally, and giving feedback honestly and consistently in classes and in school generally. Students teach teachers through how well they pay attention, how they demonstrate that they have learned what was taught, how they each show respect for the teacher and for other students in the classes, and many more ways.

Teacher training is a profoundly effective process. Teachers just never seem to have a break from learning about their subjects and their students. Teaching is not an easy profession, and it is often considered the most important job in our nation. Teachers are guiding the future citizens of our country, teaching every student as they gain ongoing teacher training—every day. Students are our future; teachers are their guides.

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