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 university 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.