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Future Jobs: Teachers and Veterinarians

Both teachers and veterinarians are facing potential changes to their educational paths -- the way student teachers are graded could change significantly, and veterinarians might find that specializing in a large-animal practice is the best way to get into school, and possibly even help pay for student loans.

Assessment Tests for Student Teachers Could Change

If you're hoping to become a teacher, you better be comfortable in front of a video camera. Hoping to increase teacher performance levels, 19 states are now considering using video as a way to measure how well student teachers do in front of their classes. The student teachers are taped giving a lesson, and then the tapes are watched by third-party evaluators. Student teachers also have to create lesson plans and meet a number of other criteria, but the performance evaluation is taking things to a whole new level. A number of states plan to implement the new testing procedures, called the Teacher Performance Assessment program; Minnesota intends to adopt it next year, and Massachusetts, Ohio, Tennessee, and Washington hope to begin using it in the next five years, according to USA TODAY.

While critics are quick to point out the new testing methods, particularly the video taping of teachers, won't revolutionize teaching, some teachers who have gone through the assessments have found the tapes helpful for them to watch, according to a story from the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. One former student revealed watching the tapes of himself made him understand where he was losing his students' attention. An educator said his staff realized there was a big disconnect between what his teachers thought they were teaching and what students were able to translate into their class lessons. As they saw their student-teachers failing to transmit what they'd learned to their students, Charles Peck, professor of education and special education at the University of Washington, noted that watching the tapes, was for his staff, "a syllabus-shredding moment."

Large-Animal Vets in High Demand

Veterinarian students are facing a challenge of a different kind. A recent study by the American Veterinary Medical Association has revealed that just 2 percent of students graduating this year plan to work with large, non-pet animals. The majority of students from 1998 to 2009 have gone into small animal practices, working mostly with pets like dogs and cats.

Small animal vets often make slightly more than large animal vets, and many students aren't willing to deal with the rigors of working with larger animals. The American Veterinary Medical Association, according to a story in USA TODAY, has been watching the decline of large animal vets, and a number of states and schools have taken steps to try to increase the number of graduating students:

·      Some schools are giving students who apply to become farm-animal vets a bit of an edge in the admissions process over pet vet majors.

·      Certain states, totaling more than a dozen at this point, are giving students the option of using loan repayment programs and other incentives if they will work in an area that has large-animal vet shortages.

·      And Iowa is going even a step further by offering students who focus their studies on farm animals a year off, essentially. Iowa State is reducing the amount of time it takes to get a veterinary degree for these students.

The government is trying to lend a hand as well. One bill, which has been passed in the House but awaits approval in the Senate, is hoping to assist recruitment of large-animal vets and plans to assist them in expanding their practices and providing financial assistance for these students.

As veterinary students are sought to fill a graying field, and teachers are facing new testing challenges, prospective students of either of these careers should consider all their options and check with the associations in their state to find out what are the requirements and incentives might be available.


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