A leading school administrator says the education of future teachers should not be rushed. 

The education department is launching a statewide program this fall that will screen college students who want to become teachers to determine which of today’s students have the best prospects for becoming tomorrow’s best teachers. 

Veteran superintendent Chris Neale of Hermann encourages the department to require the students to start getting more student teaching time.   “We almost completely across the board have twice as much preparation time in content, what we teach, rather than in how we teach,” he tells a joint legislative committee studying the screening program. 

Neale, speaking for the state school administrators association, supports efforts to do that. “The mote to get candidates into schools earlier is a good one,” he says. Neale says extended student teaching experience is necessary to prepare potential teachers for the real world.

He tells a legislative committee looking at the department’s screening program  that content knowledge, intellect, and communication skills can be measured.  But he says it’s harder to test for good personality traits such as enthusiasm, empathy, and a belief future teachers can make a difference in students’ lives.

Neale says that’s why it’s important to emphasize preparation for how to teach as much as what to teach.

AUDIO: Neale testimony 6:55