Teacher Training at ISU – Allende Pacheco

In Idaho State University (ISU), there are a multitude of colleges designed to teach and train undergraduates students into a variety of fields. College of Education (CoE) for example trains students to become educators for Idaho, but the staff members did not always reside in the building called Albion Halls. The facility was constructed in 1963 as a way to teach students about education and observes public schoolers’ behaviors,[1] but the name itself carried some weight. In 1893, a school called Albion Normal School or later named as Southern Idaho College of Education (SICE) was established, and it’s main purpose is the same to CoE[2]. SICE played a major role to influence CoE including the process of training teachers, and its closure leading to the construction of the complex.

Once Idaho became a state in 1890, institutions that teach and train teachers are required for developing the public education system, so two normal schools were established. One in Lewiston for northern Idaho, and the other in Albion for southern Idaho.[3] Throughout the decades, faculty members and students prided themselves for attending this college toward the final year in 1951. In a 1904 catalogue, the writers stressed SICE does not make lawyers, physicians, nor amanuenses but teachers, thus every course is related to education.[4] In comparison, the writers of a 1951 yearbook reminisce with their fellow colleagues about how SICE once lead education in southern Idaho with a campus brimming with students wanting to be educators only to become a shell within one year.[5]

When comparing the process of training teachers between Albion Normal School in 1895, SICE in 1951, ISU in 1951, and today’s CoE, there was a pattern that spanned across the schools and decades. Before attending any higher education courses, students must attend general classes that are introductions to a specific field. For the normal school, students will take one year of preparatory courses and two years of elementary courses before attending the advance classes. The same can be said to SICE, ISU, and CoE were students must take general courses and fulfill credits or objectives prior to the advance courses. The major difference between normal school and the others is how limited the courses were in 1895. Students study grammar, speech, a few branches of science and math, and psychology which not specified to child’s development.[6] The most striking contrast was how teachers could not specialize into primary, nor secondary schools and were generalist that teach every subject because they studied every subject.

Despite having the luxury of choosing a plethora of courses that delves into specific aspects of a particular subject, better understanding of child development, and specialized into a specific teacher, education majors still have the same training. Although, students can set up flexible plans to gain a head start into their major. SICE allowed students to earn up to 15 credits toward the upper divisions while attending lower division courses,[7] and the same can be said to ISU.

The graph above represents the number of education major graduates from 1950 to 1969 which is divided into three categories: female graduates, male graduates, and the total of both sexes.[8] The original purpose is to find any changes among the male and female graduates, but the graph showed something more intriguing. Throughout the 19-year-span, the number of graduates had slowly grew from 50 to 275 students. There seemed to be some correlation between the number of students and certain events including the closure of SICE, separating CoE from Liberal Arts, and the construction of Albion Halls. Prior to 1956,  the number of graduates never went above a hundred, but once it broke the hundred mark, it continuously grew larger.[9] The reason behind it could be the result of SICE closing its doors in 1951. ISU may had been an alternative to education majors once the college closed down, thus funneling to the university.

In the 1959 commencement, it introduced CoE as its own separate category, unlike the previous commencements where education majors were part of Liberal Arts.[10] In 1963, Albion Halls was the constructed. When comparing the events with the graph, they are in dips as in there were a decrease of graduates. It should be noted that the commencements recorded only graduates and not students currently in CoE. It is even more perplexing considering the following years, both of the events showed signs of trends in rising education graduates. It seems during this period, more students are majoring into education, but the staff of Liberal Arts were overwhelmed. To solve the issue, the state board established CoE and may have ordered construction of a new facility so the college can have its own offices, classrooms, and supplies for education majors. All of this may had never happened if SICE had not been closed down.

-Allende Pacheco

[1]                College of Education and Campus School Complex, (Oboler Library, Special Collection, Idaho State University, 1963), 62.

[2]                Annual Catalogue 1950-51, (Albion, Southern Idaho College of Education, 1950), 14.

[3]                Tenth Annual Catalogue of the State Normal School, (Albion, The Board of Trustees, 1904), 6.

[4]                Ibid., 17.

[5]                The Sage 1951, (Albion, Southern Idaho Education, 1951).

[6]                Annual Catalogue of the Albion Normal School, (Albion, The Board of Trustess, 1895) 14.

[7]                Annual Catalogue 1950-1951, (Albion, Southern Idaho College of Education, 1950) 40-45.

[8]                “Commencement Records 1950-69” (Oboler Library, Special Collection, ISU).

[9]                Ibid.

[10]              Thirteenth Annual Commencement, (Oboler Library, Special Collection, ISU, 1959) 7-10.