Friday, January 16, 2009

Why Experience Trumps Pieces of Paper - Reader Comments

Reader Comments Based on the Article Post "Are Some Certifications Overrated?"

Blogger Ms. Lucy said...

Great post. One of my duties as a language consultant and ESL/EAL specialist is hiring new teachers. You wouldn't believe the number of PhD applicants that come my way. That being said, thank goodness that's not all I base qualifications on- because frankly, I've hired fewer than I can even remember (and I've been doing this a long time). To teach, you either have it - or you don't. Personally, talent, skills and personality is what I look for in a good teacher. It doesn't matter how many degrees you have; if you can't interest and motivate...forget about it. Thanks for this very interesting post.

Posted by Ms. Lucy

Blogger Eric H. Roth said...

"Excellent primer on why experience trumps pieces of paper, but in the classroom!

Let me explain. Many educational institutions, especially in some places, remain paper-driven. Let me give a sad example. I currently teach English at an elite private university, but I couldn't get a teaching job in a California public school teaching English because I lack the right MA.

Expertise and experience, for many educational institutions, remain of limited use. Former President Clinton could not teach government, history, or social studies in California public schools. Academy Award winning actors can not teach theater in the schools. World class musicians can't teach music. It's utterly absurd.

"We learn to walk by stumbling", goes the Bulgarian proverb. Teachers, and students, learn by doing and making good mistakes. You nailed the problem with reading 500 books to become a recognized expert instead of just throwing yourself in and gaining experience.

The best teachers are often autotelic (self-directed), and share their passion for learning and model love of knowledge. Adding a PhD after your name doesn't magically translate into you a dynamic, quality English teacher.

As Ms.Lucy notes, "you either have it - or you don't."

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