Teach basics to make good teachersPublished 12:08am Sunday, April 7, 2013
With all the news about raising ACT standards for education majors to make them better teachers, I believe the sate should focus on Praxis I and II. Both tests are required in Mississippi for anyone to become a licensed teacher. As a non-traditional student, the ACT test was not required for students older than 25, and I entered college at 40. Entrance exams were given instead.
I soon found myself seated among students who had passed the ACT but could not write and punctuate a paragraph, read past the fourth grade level, do the simplest of math problems even with a calculator, take notes, do homework without cheating, stay organized, be on time or think for themselves.
I literally left many of my classmates sitting there as I stuck with it to earn my teaching degree. Some never passed the Praxis II and either dropped out or changed majors.
Having begun at Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Natchez, I majored in Elementary Education. I have not yet taught the elementary grades other than my student-teaching to 19 fourth graders. When I graduated from Mississippi Valley State University, I had endorsements in English and social studies, later adding math and special education endorsements. It was not easy or cheap, and it did not happen overnight.
I teach seventh and eighth graders and enjoy what I do. We use our brains, paper and pencil for math, learning by doing, thinking, asking questions and working it out. I do not allow calculators. Neither does the Praxis I and II testing. I bypassed the ACT test, and I say let future teachers do the same.
Elbow grease, determination and lots of patience go hand in hand with teaching, believe me! I’m proud to be a Mississippi teacher.
former Natchez resident