Sunday, June 7, 2020

From then to now

More than 50 years ago, I landed in Stevens Point, ready to teach ed. psych and run a seminar in writing a master's thesis.  Teaching during the summer is not the usual way to begin undergrad or grad teaching.  Many college teachers want the summer off.  I could only afford to get myself and my family to Point if I could teach during the summer.  

I had visited the small city in the center of Wisconsin for a job interview and for some idea of how good a place to live it would be.  It has turned out to be a very good place.  Sometimes, people advise moving from job to job with an eye toward having a better job and moving up the ladder.  I looked around at other possibilities after about 8 years at UW-Stevens Point and again after 20 years.  I taught in the UW-SP School of Education, which has twice been selected as the 2nd best school of education in the US.  School of education and teachers's colleges and teacher training departments in universities are sometimes looked down upon.  

"Real" professors teach science or philosophy or foreign language or history - the humanities or the sciences.  Many American curricula for teachers take a full year of the 4 traditional undergraduate years for teaching experience.  It is not always clear what sort of training is most needed to get a typical young person ready to run a class of students.  When students come to college, they have traditionally just graduated from 12 years of schooling.  They may be just entering the period of life when they are most ready to find a mate and marry.  After four years of college, a teacher is expected to be able to handle instruction, assessment and all the strings and side issues of being responsible for young children or adolescents and their minds.

My degree is in research methods, experimental design, testing and statistical analysis.  Typically, education graduate students are fully employed teachers who must take additional courses after finishing college or obtain a master's degree.  Teaching both the undergraduates aiming for a teaching job and the graduates seeking further credits and/or a master's degree has been an on-going pleasure.  The people who are interested in teaching are intelligent, morally sensitive, good learners and all-round high-quality people.  It has been fun to teach in Wisconsin, a state with a long history of producing good teachers and giving them support and respect for the important jobs they do.

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