Letters to the Editor...
Teaching: What's theory got to do with it?
I have been reading one of the many debates
going on over at the main chatboard. There
are so many theories and names being batted
back and forth, and I find it all very
I came into education through a side-door.
You see, I already had two undergraduate
degrees, a year of law school and a few
sporadic semesters of graduate credits
under my belt when I decided I wanted to
teach children. I enrolled in a university
program that allowed me to take only those
courses required for certification in
middle grades social studies and language
arts (fourth -- eighth). I was spared much
of the educational theory.
The most valuable course I took was "The
Teaching of Reading." The most valuable
time I spent was an eighty hour field
experience in a fifth grade class. The
school at which I worked was in an
impoverished area where approximately 93
percent of the student population was
enrolled in the free-lunch and Title I
programs. That population was
predominantly Hispanic, African-American,
Southeast Asian and White, in that order.
The school also contained that county's
special education program for the severely
handicapped. I personally chose that
school because of its uniqueness, and
because I knew there was much to learn
The next most valuable time I spent was my
four month student teaching experience.
Again, I chose a school that I thought
unique, and hand-picked my cooperating
What is significant about my foray into
teaching? I was twenty years older than my
classmates. I had worked in the "real
world." I was a mother. I had made a
deliberate and conscious decision to leave
a career inorder to teach children. And I
had escaped much of the educational
theorists and their theories. I remember
many of the names...but I would be hard-
pressed to tell you which one espoused what
theory. And yet, I am a teacher, a good
one, and an award-winner at that.
What does that mean? Could it mean that
theory and theorists are not important?
Maybe yes, maybe no. Could it mean that
some individuals are "born to teach?"
Maybe yes, maybe no. Does it mean that one
can bypass all the theory classes and
become a teacher? Maybe yes, maybe no.
All I know, is that I try very hard to
teach each and every child in my
classroom. My motto is, "Allow for
This month's letters:
Gifted/Talented Lesson--End of GT Chatboard, 8/16/00, by Lynn/ms/pa.
Teaching and theory, 8/05/00, by Sharyl.
Let's review the system - teachers too., 8/03/00, by L. Canale.
Teaching: What's theory got to do with it?, 8/02/00, by EMA.