Earning credentials pretty much sucks
1) Earn the professional "clear" that kills this particular monkey busy making a home on my back.
2) Add to it a single-subject addendum that proactively eliminates future monkeys (more on this later)
One way people in this state fulfill Modest Goal #1 (outlined above) is through a crap program called "BTSA" which stands for Boring Tedious Stupid Accredidation, I think. Through BTSA, old women who don't want to teach but don't want to retire come into your classroom, make unhelpful exclammatory remarks about what a good job you're doing and then explain they're here to support you by volunteering to model lessons in front of your class that has already begun to eye the respective old woman the way young hyenas eye a recently abandoned gazelle corpse. When you politely refuse the offer of support, they also explain that BTSA can help you fulfill Modest Goal #1, although they don't call it Modest Goal #1. When you ask how, they say they don't know, but come to meeting on a day you need to coach basketball and if you can't come to that meeting don't worry even though you have to go. Later, they send you notices asking you to come to pointless "Professional Development" sessions where these same old women "model best practices" by ringing bells and using the "quiet coyote" to get your attention. Much later, you get pulled out of one such session by a withered hag whose name reminds you of Three's Company and whose face looks like a cracked handbag that has been sandblasted with make-up, told you are not in BTSA because you didn't go to the meeting back in September, you will not receive credit for the professional development you've already attended but as a consolation, at least you benefitted professionally, right? When you scoff and look away you will be accused of having a "middle school attitude," and the blacklisting will begin.
Now it's summer, and I am enrolled in an independent study course through a university I never applied for, located roughly 8 hours driving to the South, entitled "Computers for the Educator." I am required to complete a variety of discrete tasks, such as "Make a spreadsheet," and "Make a multimedia presentation." The making is okay, the post-production "reflective statements" are soul-sucking. The only way I can justify using my remaining summer in this fashion is to remind myself that 1) this helps me in reaching MG #1, 2) I'm outflanking those BTSA hags, 3) I'm using Teach For America stipend money, and not real money, to pay for this furtherance of my education.
I think it goes without saying that credentialing education, never on tremendously solid footing, has taken a decided turn for the worst since the edicts of NCLB (pronounced "nickel-B" if you're cool) have swept the land. Because of the oppressice timeframes to get everyone credentialed both the standards of instruction and the extent of content have fallen faster than -- I was going to make reference to a dotcom stock, but that seemed cheesy, so they've just fallen fast. Most of these programs seem to have been thrown together with all the forthought and attention to detail your average soriety girl puts into her "Principles of Western Thought" midterm. Material is watered-down, irrelevant, insipid, vague, and worse, poorly presented. Without question, the bottom rung of academia is the teacher credentialing instructor, a position less desirable that the Defense Agains the Dark Arts position at Hogwarts (what a dork). A thousand monkeys typing at a thousand computer for a thousand years may never produce Hamlet, but from what I've seen they are each qualified to teach in a credentialing program. I have had ed psych instructors unable to explain the different prespectives, the difference between valid and reliable, nor pronounce Piaget's name. I have had a literacy intstructors who felt their job was complete if we could demonstrate a read aloud and turn in a list of quality children's literature I downloaded from the Internet. I have had multicultural education instructors who knew every big name in their field, but so grossly misrepresented what those big brains wrote and thought it literally hurt to listen.
So it's a hoop. Jump through it and shut-up. Really, shut-up (as my principal says with a smirk, "Nobody cares what you think. Stop talking and we can all go home.") But still it's troubling and a little sad that some will view that hoop-jumping as meaning anthing more than your willingness to traverse the banal and mundane, and a possession of baseline intellectual dexterity.