As my daughter so aptly puts it: WHAT THE FRENCHTOAST??
DO DOCTORS NEED MEDICAL DEGREES?
DO LAWYERS NEED LAW DEGREES?
DO COMPUTER SCIENTISTS NEED COMPUTER SCIENCE DEGREES?
These headlines are unimaginable, I would imagine, and yet the NYTs has posted an article titled:
Do Teachers Need Teaching Degrees?
Come on, aren't we past this? Are we still having to justify and beg for a little respect? Sadly, the answer is yes.
Of course, we are our own worst enemy. Teachers aren't expressly known for our work ethic... (although we should be!!), but those nasty summer months "off" tend to bias the public against us. Teachers don't reflect a particularly corporate demeanor, and for many folks, corporate equals professional. The media doesn't always show us at our best--check out HBO's new series Hung, for example. The lead character is a forlorn coach/social studies teacher whose better days are long behind him.... and now he resorts to prostitution to work his way out of the rut of a life he has built by default. The message is clear: teaching is for losers. The young and attractive female teacher is a secret sex maniac; elementary teachers are lightweights who just like to color and read stories to kids; high school teachers wish they were anything but.
A close read of the NYT article reveals that the real issue is whether masters of education degrees should be rewarded with increased pay, OR should student performance be the barometer. This, of course, is a different question altogether.
Do teachers need education degrees? Absolutely YES.
Should these degreed programs be improved? Absolutely YES.
I've blogged about this many times over the years, and I stand firm in my belief that most training programs are long on theory and WAY TOO short on practical experience, especially with regard to managing the classroom experience. In today's climate, where every teacher must be, at some level, a special ed teacher, the demands of our profession have never been as taxing.
DO JOURNALISTS NEED JOURNALISM DEGREES?