Most people, especially teachers, know teaching is an incredibly difficult role to fill.  On average, teachers only do about three to five months of student teaching.  Once on the job, nearly half seek a new career within five years.

That is exactly why some new approaches are being tested.  Amanda Ripley reports on an innovative program being used in Boston (“Boot Camp for Teachers” The Atlantic July/August 2012, p. 61):

“Before student teachers enter classes, Boston’s Match Teacher Residency program puts them through 100 hours of drills with students and adults acting like slouching, fiddling, back-talking kids.  The brain learns to respond to routine misbehavior, so it can focus on the harder work of teaching.”

Interestingly, this simulation approach is exactly what is used to train doctors and military pilots.  They use it because it works.  I wonder how many burned-out teachers could have been salvaged if they had experienced this sort of training.

I applaud this model.  I hope it will catch on throughout our institutions of higher education and our school districts.  As Ripley concludes:

“It is time, finally, to start training teachers the way we train doctors and pilots, with intense, realistic practice, using humans, simulations, and master instructors—time to stop saying teaching is hard work and start acting like it.”

Let’s send more aspiring teachers to boot camp!

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About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Johnson Controls at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

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