Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Where We Turn the Future of Education Over To The Summer School Students

There seem to be defining moments when you start to realize that no matter what you do as a college professor, your efforts are doomed to fail. I'm now convinced that the roots of the problems we see in the classroom can, ironically, be traced back to every school or college of education in this country. I may exaggerate a bit, but maybe this little story will illustrate the point.

This summer, I decided to teach a social science course that was listed as an option for students to fulfill a university wide requirement. As a result, close to 2/3 of my students are college of education majors (mostly people seeking to become high school or elementary teachers).

One of the lectures that I gave was on organized crime and how organized crime boomed during prohibition. I asked my students, in that Socratic way everybody loves, what social forces may have led to the implementation of prohibition. One of my college of education students blurted out to me: "Why would we have to know US history? We're just going to be teachers."