Monday, April 10, 2006

Qualifications of Teachers

There are many good teachers that are now teaching in our schools today but there are also many others that are not given the recognition to teach. These people are those that have certain skills that they have acquired through work experience, training or learning by performing certain procedures or functions. These people do not have degrees and in some instances do not have certificates. Many employers train people in their organization to train others for a specific subject or program. This does not mean that they are not qualified to teach but our present educational system does not recognize them. Degrees are a wonderful thing and it has been a good practice in the past to require those who teach to have degrees or certification from their respective states. Degrees do not make people a good teacher. It is also true that not having a degree does not mean that people are not qualified to teach.

As stated above, many states and schools require people who teach to have degrees. This requirement is an effort to assure that certain credentials are accomplished. However, there are those who teach outside of their element as defined in statistics with the Department of Education. Teaching out of your element means teaching subjects that you are not certified to teach. Sometimes schools have a need for a teacher in a specific class but does not have anyone trained in the subject. In this respect they assign another to teach. Many times the person tries their best but not having training for the subject can and does impact the learning capabilities of the students taking the class. Information regarding the latest statistics can be found on the Department of Education web site

Having a teaching degree does not mean that you are or are not a good teacher. Many people receive training and certifications and are knowledgeable about a subject but do not have the capability to teach. It takes people with certain skills to teach others. It is also true that there are those who possess the knowledge, skills and willingness to teach but are denied this privilege. I consider teaching others a privilege and many teachers feel the same. This can be evidenced by the recognition of teachers by various organizations for those that put much effort in assuring their students receive proper instruction.

People who have experience from work in specific functions and training received can qualify to teach certain subjects. Our educational system would have increased integrity if schools and universities would allow others who can demonstrate they have the ability and expertise to teach specific subjects. This can be associated with a specific element of a standard subject. An example would be where a person could be a guest teacher. This aspect would bring a connection between society and the school. This connection is important. Students must understand the connection between the classroom and the workforce they are about to enter. This can or may cause extra effort by students in realizing how the subject will benefit them in the workforce. Allowing people to add their experiences from their work functions can greatly increase this connection.

Courses taught through our educational system must be able to relate the subjects to a real workforce environment. If this is not accomplished with a degreed teacher, and I am not saying that it cannot, then the system needs to allow this mechanism. I have a published article on integrity in education, which addresses to some extent qualifications of teachers. This article which is in two (2) parts can be accessed on my web site I also have a published book titled Integrity: Do You Have It? 2nd edition, which has a chapter on Integrity in Education. It identifies the statistics from the Department of Education relating to out-of-field teachers. The ISBN of my book is 0741429160 and can be purchased from Infinity Publishing or sites such as, and


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