I spend today participating in the process of interviewing applicants for the education program at a local university. We are a PDS (professional development school) working with them. A couple of things struck me.
The professor I was partnered with taught in second and third grades for three years before joining the academic world. She mentioned today that she is thinking about taking a year sabbatical in order to go back to the classroom and do some action research. One thing holding her back so far (other than her own children) is her fear. I was so impressed to hear her say that she was terrified of going back into the classroom. However, I also had to wonder how she prepares new teachers for something that is so scary to her. I think she is wise to be scared and I think she is a wonderful professor. I guess it seems strange to me that professors preparing new teachers have no classroom experience or very little that may have been years ago.
The other thing that struck me may show my own bias. As I introduced my self to each new potential student, I explained that I am a first grade teacher and the site facilitator for my school. After saying it a few times I was struck by the fact that I almost feel ashamed saying I teach first grade. Somehow it seems less respectable than when I taught fourth and fifth grade. Do we, as a society, have less respect for primary teachers? And possibly even less for preschool teachers? Or am I misreading my response and I have an issue?