Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Is my ED not as meaningful as an MD or JD?

A colleague has diplomas up in his classroom. It looks great. And not just diplomas, but awards, accolades, and certificates as well. A former administrator of his said, "if doctors and lawyers do it, why shouldn't teachers?"

Great point, got me thinking...

... all of my stuff is in boxes in the basement. I think. Honestly, I'm not sure. Maybe I don't care. Maybe that's the point...

The difference, to me, between doctors and lawyers displaying degrees, and why I have no idea where mine ever are, is doctors and lawyers display degrees they are proud of and worked hard to earn. Many teachers, myself included, take "by credit" classes just to meet the next pay scale step or teaching license requirement. Many teachers do take additional credits and work hard for additional degrees; once again, I did and continue to do too, but since they are generally not required the idea of celebrating or showing off seems lost.

If lawyers and doctors could take one-off classes for a credit here and a credit there to satisfy a state license requirement, would they be showing off all those pieces of paper? If nothing beyond a Masters was required, and they could take that Masters solely online, would they display that degree? Side question, would you go for legal or medical advice from someone whose complete education was done virtually, in the cheapest and quickest way possible?

Maybe it's not that we as teachers don't display our credentials like lawyers and doctors because as a (broad generalization) profession our credential paths and requirements are far more "do it to get credit/license/salary bump" and less "do it to be the best."

If teachers had to pass a certification and licensure exam as tough as a Bar or medical board exam, would that change some things? Would that make teaching more "impressive"?

I honestly don't know, but the idea of displaying my diplomas got me thinking; am I proud am them and do I want to show them off or would they undermine what I do since I "did them for the credits" and not because they were the best programs?

Full disclosure: I have an undergrad B.S. and three masters degrees: an MST in K-6 general education, an MSED K-12 in Instructional Technology, and an MSED School Based Administrator.
Additional full disclosure: I've never taken the GREs nor applied to any of those graduate programs via a traditional method.

But I like to think I'm qualified and have demonstrated an ability to teach, educate, facilitate, and have been a positive contribution to my craft and the communities I've served.

A lawyer or doctor is so often defined by where they went to school. I don't know if anyone has ever asked me where I got my teaching credentials, because, frankly, it almost doesn't matter.

Should education as a profession be treated like doctors and lawyers, and should the training and certification be as rigorous? I don't know. But I do know most lawyers and doctors are proud of their education and professional accomplishments whereas I feel as a profession we teachers are told to be proud of our longevity, salary step, and paths of least resistance to certification.

Maybe I'll hang my papers on the wall of my lab. If I can find them...

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