Sunday, January 15, 2012

Teacher Certification: Let's try this again

I posted this article a few days ago and something really weird happened to the page. Whenever I click on a link to this page, it shows up for about a second, and then goes blank. I'm going to try reposting it here to see if it happens again.

For those of you who don’t know me, I recently went back to university after many years to certify as a physics teacher. For years I had considered doing this, but was reluctant for two reasons: first, I always thought that I should be involved in things at the university level, because it was so important what was going on there. I just didn’t think high shool mattered that much. Second, the idea of going back and doing two years of university to “learn how to teach” seemed like something of an idignity to me.
Actually, I said there were two reasons, but there’s probably a third: the idea of choosing one single career seems to close the door on all kinds of other possibilities of where life might lead. Maybe I got to a point in life where it seemed like there weren’t all that many doors left regardless, so I bit the bullet and put in my application. I was accepted last year at the University of Winnipeg.

It was the best decision I ever made! The great thing about the U of W post-degree program is that they put you into the schools right away, one day a week in practicum. I loved working with the kids, and my co-op teachers were great about letting me go up to the board and do random topics. But the biggest impression I got from being in the practicum was that I had something different to offer that the kids were desperately hungry for but just weren’t getting from the system. They needed me, and I wanted to be there. All of a sudden, it was important.

The university courses were a bit annoying, but I still enjoyed them. The profs were not very smart, and they really had nothing to tell me about teaching that I didn’t already know. But it was actually fun doing assignments, and even educational sometime. At the U of W they give you a lot of assignments to write up lesson plans, so you have to go through the Provincial Curriculum and see what’s required. I really got to learn the science curriculum inside and out. At the other university across town, they say they had a lot of essays to write about the so-called great philosophers of education: what did Dewey say about this, and what did Piaget say about that? That would have been unbearable for me.

But the profs couldn’t stand me. I was older than all the other students, and I obviously knew a lot more about my subject areas (math and physics) than anyone on the faculty. It seems they all took it into their heads to cut me down to size, to prove to me that I wasn’t as smart as I thought I was. One thing led to another, and the end result was, as of yesterday, I am kicked out of the program.

How did it happen? It’s funny how a negative vibe gets picked up on and amplified. One by one people started complaining about little things that happened in class, until one day the dean called me up and told me I had to report for a meeting. “What is the subject of the meeting?” I was told that there had been numerous complaints about my conduct in class. I replied with what was to become my mantra over the next eight weeks:

“Please put the allegations in writing and I will respond to them”.

Just what were those allegations? That’s a long story, and I’m going to save it for another day. For my former fellow classmates who might be wondering why I didn’t show up for the test this morning, if you happen to be reading this, now you know.

I think I might want to stick to physics on this blog, so I've set up another blogsite to talk about my situation with the university. Check it out at Due Process, Natural Justice, and the University of Winnipeg

1 comment:

Perele said...

At least this wasn't over my head-yet