for the Early
Current teacher-training and licensure
requirements leave many new teachers
of early elementary students unprepared.
Imagine a new teacher—Emily. She just graduated from a four-year uni- versity with an elementary education degree and a K– 5 teaching license. Most of her field experiences were in
3rd through 5th grade classrooms, and
her student teaching was in 4th grade.
But Emily is offered a position in a 1st
grade classroom. She is a little nervous
about teaching children so young, but
she accepts the job. “How different can
it be?” she thinks to herself.
A month later, she realizes that she
is woefully unprepared to teach 5- and
6-year-olds. The school district only
offers half-day kindergarten, so many of
her students come to her unready for a
full day of learning. Her students have
difficulty sitting at their desks during
math lessons, and Emily spends what
feels like half the day helping students
transition from one activity to the next.
The majority of her students are still
emergent readers, but Emily doesn’t
know how to teach them to read.
© STEFANIE FELIX
In short, despite two years of
coursework, field experiences, student
teaching, and a license that says she
is qualified to teach any grade from
kindergarten through 5th, she is not.