1. #1
    Moderator

    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Port Royal, SC
    Posts
    131

    Default Teacher, firefighter, or both?

    Some fire departments recruit teachers to be public educators, some promote or recruit suppression/inspection people, others have hired school teachers and required them to attend the fire academy and do ride time.

    What are the trend, thoughts, experiences in this?

  2. #2
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Bossier Parrish, Louisiana
    Posts
    10,597

    Default

    I know in the progressive departments of the west, southwest, northwest and Florida, there are many departments that do hire trained educators to manage, lead and perform public education, supported by trained line personnel. The fact is that to deliver a quality public education program, the program must be, at a minimum, lead by personnel with an educational background. Does that mean that a firefighter can't fill that role? No, but it does mean that if you want to use firefighting personnel, there should be college-level educational requirements beyond Fire & Life Safety educator I/II for anyone appointed to such a position in a department of any size.

    The sad fact is that in hundreds of places around the country that is not the case. We have personnel leading the most important aspect of fire department operations without the training and qualifications to plan, manage and evalaute educational programming.

    I know that none of the educators who work full-time in prevention in this area have Fire & Life Safety educator I or II, which to me, is an absolute bare-bones minimum. And none of the prevention Chiefs have a background or likely any formal training in education. To me, that is simply irresponsible. yes, firefirefighters can be effective public educators and leaders in public education as long as they commit to formal education training. Otherwise, they are firefighters simply pretending to be educators.

    I am a strong beleiver in expanding the hours spent on public education at the academy and Firefighter I/II levels, as well as in volunteer departments at the department-training level.
    Train to fight the fires you fight.

  3. #3
    Moderator

    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Port Royal, SC
    Posts
    131

    Default

    Agree and disagree. Fire & Life Safety Educator and a background in training is a good minimum requirement. But I believe the best educators are the firefighters from the fire ground who have been there and seen how easily and quickly tragedy can happen AND be avoided.

    I feel seeing tragedy after tragedy, and the frustrations of dealing with preventable loss, adds the quality needed form your presentations/programs to encourage that change in behavior needed. Teacher or trained educator, the compassion and frustration felt is what makes the impact.

  4. #4
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Bossier Parrish, Louisiana
    Posts
    10,597

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Byrne View Post
    Agree and disagree. Fire & Life Safety Educator and a background in training is a good minimum requirement. But I believe the best educators are the firefighters from the fire ground who have been there and seen how easily and quickly tragedy can happen AND be avoided.

    I feel seeing tragedy after tragedy, and the frustrations of dealing with preventable loss, adds the quality needed form your presentations/programs to encourage that change in behavior needed. Teacher or trained educator, the compassion and frustration felt is what makes the impact.
    To some extent I agree, however, if the person delivering the message doesn't understand how that particuliar audience learns, and has the educational background to be able to adjust a lesson on the fly to meet the educational needs of the group on the day, all the compasion will be for naught. I can teach a monkey to deliver a canned program, but if that monkey can't adjust to changes in audience, outside interference and distractions, time pressures and other real world "stuff that happens" because they don't have the basic educational background to make those adjustments, the presenation, and likely the overall public education program, will likely not be successful.

    We expect our firefighters to be trained to operate on the fireground. We expect our drivers to have extensive knowledge of pump ops and friction loss. We expect our company level officers to be able to effectivly function in that role. And we expect our Chiefs to be able to administrate effectivly. And for all of that we expect training and some level (internal or external) of testing and certification. If we are to call public education valid and professional, we need to have the same expecations of those developing, planning, delivering and evaluating those programs. That is especially true of those who are assigned to design, manage and evaluate programs as they set the course and develop the expecations for a professional, well run prevention and public education program..

    The best combination are trained educators with a college background developing, planning and managaing public education, and providing training to firefighterswho will be delivering the program in the field. I have an expecattion that professional fire and life safety educator will be Fire and Life Safety Educator I's, and will be required to attend some type of colleg-level education classes. I also have the expecatation that Chief officers over pubed will be at least F&L II's, and be working towards a degree in education, especially in larger departments.IMO, if that is not the case, we are cheating the public and not delivering the type of professional public education that we should be delivering. Combine trained educators and trained firefighters in the field and you will have an excellent public education program.
    Train to fight the fires you fight.

  5. #5
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Posts
    2,026

    Default

    You can be the best "teacher" in the world --- know all the tricks on how to "reach" your students, BUT if you dont really know/how to/have done - you are teaching , for a lack of a better term "two dimensional" -unless you can "flesh out" your material with personal experences -- its just words.
    ?

  6. #6
    Moderator

    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Port Royal, SC
    Posts
    131

    Default

    Damn! Very well put!!!!

  7. #7
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Bossier Parrish, Louisiana
    Posts
    10,597

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by slackjawedyokel View Post
    You can be the best "teacher" in the world --- know all the tricks on how to "reach" your students, BUT if you dont really know/how to/have done - you are teaching , for a lack of a better term "two dimensional" -unless you can "flesh out" your material with personal experences -- its just words.
    I guess i agree to a limited extent. I agree that if we were teaching them to be firefighters, yes, you would want a teacher with real world experience as a trainer. Even if you are discussing fire safety with adults, I can agree to a limited extent that real world fire experience would be helpful in making some of the points with an audience of adult learners.

    However, in terms of teaching childrfen, I diagree that firefighters without formal educational training is the best choice for program delivery. At that age, techniques the knowledge assoicatted with the ability to teach differing age groups, and make adjustments for the audience and the enviroment is far more critical than a first hand knowledge of how to crawl down a smokey hallway or make a push.

    Note that I said firefighters without formal educational training. While Fire and Life Safety Educator I is a start, it is just that, a start as a basic requirement before being being assigned to public education and being able to deliver any public education programs. I would like to see personnel assigned to public education required to attend at least 1 semester of college (12-15 credit hours) of introductory educational training, at department expense, with a minimum of at least 3 credit hours each semester until they have achived a degree, which would be a requirement for promotion within the division.
    Train to fight the fires you fight.

  8. #8
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    22

    Default

    You are making the assumption that someone with formal education training will be a good educator.

  9. #9
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    22

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    firefirefighters can be effective public educators and leaders in public education as long as they commit to formal education training. Otherwise, they are firefighters simply pretending to be educators.
    Without formal education training (12-15 hrs you seem to suggest as a minimum), a firefighter can NOT be an effective public educator? I strongly disagree.

  10. #10
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Bossier Parrish, Louisiana
    Posts
    10,597

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Train View Post
    Without formal education training (12-15 hrs you seem to suggest as a minimum), a firefighter can NOT be an effective public educator? I strongly disagree.
    I will address both of your posts.

    Formal training in the area of education will enhance one's ability to educate, just like formal education in the area of training will enhance the training officer's ability to design and manage the training program or college level training in management and administration will enhance a Chief's officer ability to manage the department.

    If someone is trained on learning theory and learning styles, as well as the most effective teaching techniques for the various age groups that we present programs to, yes, they will likely be far more effective than a firefighter with a minimum of training as they more fully understand who, when, what and why of the programs they are delivering. Certainly in 12-15 hours, I can teach a firefighter to be effective in delivering a program or two to a specific age group in a controlled enviroment, but I cannot, nor do I beleive anyone can, teach educational theory in the same time frame that will allow a firefighter to deliver a variety of programs to a variety of audiences in a variety of settings in situations where they may have to make adjustments on the fly for the enviroment, distractions, adjustments in the time frame or making adjustments to the program if the props generally used are unavailable or fail to work.

    It's no different than teaching a firefighter how to select fire streams on the nozzle but not telling them when to use each stream and why each stream will or will not be effective.

    If I am going to assign somebody to public education, I want somebody who truly understands how to effectively educate, not just deliver programs. While Fire & Life safety Educator I does do a fine job of introducing firefighters to public education, and while it does teach them some very basics in terms of program delivery, it barely scratches the surface in terms of teaching them how to be educators. The short lesson contained in FFII does not even come close to being adequate in terms of training firefighters to deliver programs, much rather perform as public educators.

    It would be like saying that 10 hours of training truly prepares a company officer for the delivery of firefighter training. I think most would agree, that is not the case.

    As far as leadership, there is no doubt in my mind that anyone developing public education programs including choosing content, delivery methods and props, as well as program evaluation responsibilities, should have some formal college level education, and preferably should be in the process of working towards a degree, in early childhood and primary education. Fire and Life Safety Educator II, while again, a good very general overview and introduction to the development and management of a very small public education program, simply does not do the job.

    I would consider F/L Educator I/II somewhat adequate for very small volunteer departments, but certainly not for larger suburban volunteer departments. IMO career departments with full-time education personnel should have far more extensive training requirements with college degrees in education as the end goal.

    With all that being said, could a firefighter be a good educator without the above? Yes, though their chances of failure are certainly much higher than somebody with formal college-level teaching education.

    The fact that some members seem to think that it is perfectly acceptable to throw firefighters into public education without the same level of training that we expect them to have to be line firefighters, drivers or specialized rescue personnel tells me a great deal about how they view the importance of public education in the fire service.
    Train to fight the fires you fight.

  11. #11
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Posts
    2,026

    Default

    You can polish a turd untill you are blue in the face ----- its still a turd.
    A diamond in the rough , is still a diamond -no doubt , polishing improves it, but even rough as hel1 - its still better than a turd.
    ?

  12. #12
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    22

    Default

    With all due respect LaFE, you are working off the assumption that training = effectiveness. Some of the MOST HIGHLY TRAINED FF's in the world, simply put, suck at their job. And some the most highly educated educators, with years upon years of 'theory' under their belt, fail miserably when it comes to actually teaching kids anything. That is certainly not to say that a motivated, intelligent, driven, skilled person with a passion and aptitude for the job of education will not improve after receiving college level courses meant to 'teach them how to teach', but I will, 100 times out of 100, pick the person I just described over someone with all the education in the world that lacks the actual skills needed to do the job. The proof is all around us, the education system has failed to educate educators how to properly educate.

  13. #13
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Bossier Parrish, Louisiana
    Posts
    10,597

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Train View Post
    With all due respect LaFE, you are working off the assumption that training = effectiveness. Some of the MOST HIGHLY TRAINED FF's in the world, simply put, suck at their job. And some the most highly educated educators, with years upon years of 'theory' under their belt, fail miserably when it comes to actually teaching kids anything. That is certainly not to say that a motivated, intelligent, driven, skilled person with a passion and aptitude for the job of education will not improve after receiving college level courses meant to 'teach them how to teach', but I will, 100 times out of 100, pick the person I just described over someone with all the education in the world that lacks the actual skills needed to do the job. The proof is all around us, the education system has failed to educate educators how to properly educate.
    I do agree that there are a fair number of teachers who do not do a good job of teaching, or are very unmotivated and it shows in the effort they put forth.

    That being said if a firefighter wants to take on the role of an educator, they need to be trained to perform that role. That means, at a absolute bare minimum Fire & Life Safety Educator I for those delivering programs and Fire and Life Safety Educator II for those supervising programs. IMO, that'sd not enough as I feel they also need college-level courses as well so that they begin to develop a fuller understanding of teaching methods, theory, and for supervisors, course development, management and evaluation especially in larger career departments with full-time educators and supervisors/Chiefs.

    That being said, we need personnel in fire and life safety education that want to be there. it needs to stop being a dumping ground for those "problem children" and those at the end of their careers looking for a place to hide or ride out heir time until retirement. And yes, IMO, there is a place for trained educators without a fire service background in fire and life safety education, especially in the areas of management and program delivery and evaluation. While I do agree that firefighters can be effectively trained to deliver programs, and some, if motivated enough to seek out additional college-level education can be trained to supervise programs, I would have no problem with the Chief of Public Education being a trained teacher, and not a firefighter.

    The fact is until we start viewing F&L Safety, along with suppression experience, as a valid career path to promotion, our programs and the importance of those programs in the department will always take a back seat to suppression, communications and training. That will not happen until we start requiring, at a minimum, the most basic level of Fire and life safety Training education for the personnel working in that division and advanced, college level education for those in supervisory and administrative positions.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 03-26-2012 at 10:24 AM.
    Train to fight the fires you fight.

  14. #14
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Posts
    2,026

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Train View Post
    With all due respect LaFE, you are working off the assumption that training = effectiveness. Some of the MOST HIGHLY TRAINED FF's in the world, simply put, suck at their job. And some the most highly educated educators, with years upon years of 'theory' under their belt, fail miserably when it comes to actually teaching kids anything. That is certainly not to say that a motivated, intelligent, driven, skilled person with a passion and aptitude for the job of education will not improve after receiving college level courses meant to 'teach them how to teach', but I will, 100 times out of 100, pick the person I just described over someone with all the education in the world that lacks the actual skills needed to do the job. The proof is all around us, the education system has failed to educate educators how to properly educate.
    I agree 100% - Classes can help me with the tools to do a better job ( powerpoint etc) but they cant "teach me how to teach" -- "the want to" - the ability to adapt and fine tune your teaching to "reach" your audience all cant be taught. It is either there or it isnt.
    ?

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. 11 students plotted to kill third grade teacher
    By resQengine in forum The Off Duty Forums
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 04-13-2008, 08:00 AM
  2. Two Thug Kids Punch a Teacher in the Hallway
    By Allyzz in forum The Off Duty Forums
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 06-04-2007, 05:27 PM
  3. Teacher allows son to bring gun to school (TWICE!?!)
    By britfan1 in forum The Off Duty Forums
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 12-19-2005, 02:55 AM
  4. It used to take bring the teacher an apple...
    By GeorgeWendtCFI in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 06-29-2005, 10:19 PM
  5. Firefighter/Teacher
    By StanCap in forum Meet and Greet
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 01-15-2000, 11:18 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register