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Centerpointe Research

High school

Good Teachers, Bad Teachers

education

education (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

I was not an education major; but my graduate education in my subject matter qualified? me to teach college in that area.  My experience as a student, eventually taught me what I didn’t know when I first started school.  Naively, when I was young, I expected that my teachers not only knew their subject matter, but they also knew how to teach it.  Initially I felt that if I failed to master the subject matter, it was my fault.  Then as I became a student in high school, I learned (what almost all students learn at that point)  that you could easily get the teacher off the subject he or she was teaching and on to their “favorite” subject whether it was the Vietnam war or something else.  This was the easy way out of having to listen to a boring lecture on some subject we didn’t like anyway.  For those of us going on to college, this was a disservice as we might be expected to have learned certain things before we took certain college classes.  This idea occurred to me when I was a high school student and I began to feel at least vaguely uneasy when some students would try to distract the teacher in this way.

Problems like this continued on into graduate school where some teachers, in what was supposed to be an overview of findings in a certain area, focused only on the research that they were interested in and/or agreed with.  Sometimes they were wrong and things that needed to be covered especially if you were going to eventually work in the general or applied field were not covered or were “proven” by them to not be scientifically based.  Even worse were the professors who during the “hippie” era decided to turn the class over to the control and direction of the students who were also usually allowed to assign their own grades as well.  Scarey?  I thought so at the time.  Fortunately I had some more responsible teachers whose insights into the subject matter they taught helped me discover things about the area studied that I would not have discovered by myself or in most classes taught in that area. Thank God for good teachers.

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Planning Your Education, Things I wish I had known

Graduate School of Education Diploma Ceremony

If you have an idea of a field that you would like to go into or are looking at graduate schools or post-graduate experiences, you should consider certain things.  Be sure as an undergraduate that the educational experiences offered in areas that you might want to major in are good ones.  Be sure that the school, if possible, is a good fit for you.  I got financial aid to go to a small private religious college that had a good academic reputation.  I was comfortable there because I had grown up in a rural area near a small town.  Of course the college was bigger than my high school; but it was not so big as to feel unfriendly.  As a christian school, it did not have a reputation as a party school and sororities while active did not isolate themselves in houses, but lived in the dorms with everybody else.  While no degrees were offered besides a bachelors, it had a very active psychology department which offered practical experiences.  Sometimes schools with graduate programs do not offer good experiences for undergraduates and the classes are often taught by graduate students.

Choosing a graduate school is very important, not only do you want one that has a good reputation in the field you will be studying, but also it should offer studies that will be meaningful to you and that you will like participating in.  In schools with a major professor system and/or offering research assistant positions to help you finance your education, you should investigate and see what kind of research is being done at that school and if you would be comfortable doing that type of research.  People often do their masters thesis in an area of research that their major professor is involved in.  It is not a good introduction to doing work in your field if you don’t like what you are doing or if you are not very talented at making new discoveries in that field of research.

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