6 December 2002
As anyone who's used a recent Windows machine knows, certificates aren't necessarily what they're cracked up to be; the presence or, for that matter, the absence of digital signatures may turn out to be meaningless.
By no coincidence, something similar is true in one's life away from the computer as well. Alexandra at Out of Lascaux might have the potential to be a truly great teacher, but so long as she's lacking the appropriate signatures, we may never know:
Teachers need to be Certified to teach in our school systems. What does this mean? It means they attended several "education" classes, either in college or as an "alternative program" and did student teaching for a year or so. The NEA will tell you that Certified is synonymous with "qualified," but I beg to differ.
The National Education Association, which aspires to be a Great and Powerful Professional Organization, has the urge that typifies almost every G.P.P.O.: they wish to define the profession in their terms, and their terms only. Included in those terms, of course, is the desire to restrict the profession to those who have had the proper indoctrination.
Not that the indoctrination necessarily does anything to enhance actual teaching. Alexandra continues:
My problem with many public school teachers is that they are not educated, they are trained. The difference is that education teaches you to think: training teaches you how to act.
And, of course, how to complete the paperwork before and after you act.
I am neither educated nor trained, but I can certainly tell the difference between the two, despite my complete and utter lack of certification. (Those of you ready to hit the Comments link to tell me that I am indeed certifiable well, I already knew that.)