Teachers are often blamed for low student performance in public education. But as WBFO's Focus on Education Reporter Eileen Buckley tells us SUNY Buffalo State continues to provide support to current and future teachers.
"It's a difficult time to be a teacher right now," said Pixita Del Prado, Associate Professor of Elementary Education & Reading at Buffalo State. She is also the Co-Director of the Professional Development School Consortium.
Each year the college hosts about 200 K-through-12 teachers, administrators, teacher candidate and college faculty from seven colleges. "To move ourselves in the direction of improvement, so that we improve our own practices where ever we teach. Whether we're in the P-12 classroom, whether we're in the college classroom or whether we direct those programs as administrators," stated Del Prado.
Del Prado noted there are many challenges for teachers with much criticism and demands.
"Certainly in New York State we are seeing a drop in our numbers of teacher candidates and that's happening all over the country," said Del Prado. "Teachers are desperately needed, particularly in some areas such as working with English learners, working in special education and some of the more content specific areas."
The professional development event allows a sharing of how to improve student learning and student well-being.
"My big mantra is 'you can't scare me, I'm a teacher'," said Dr. Wendy Paterson, Dean of Education at Buffalo State.
Paterson admits there has been a drop in students at Buffalo State seeking elementary education as a profession.
"Now the truth of it is Eileen, I've gone from 1,000 undergraduates in elementary education in 2009 -- a thousand -- just in elementary ed, to 500 in four years, so it is having a depressing effect, but the people who still come to us in teaching are the people who know teaching is what they want to do," noted Paterson.
"I would just say, maybe not to give up hope," stated Brianna Ware, Buffalo State senior, studying to be a teacher.
Ware is very confident in a future teaching career possibly as a Buffalo school teacher. "It has been a serious decline, but that's even more so why I want to do it," said Ware.
The college provides 67- teacher education programs.
"I guess one of my bigger concerns might be managing a classroom, but as far as the rest, like the state standards -- testing that's out there and our evaluations, I think that there is a lot of support," responded Ware.