Opinion

Teaching profession deserves a review

We’ve all heard it before: Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach. The idiom summarizes many’s feelings about a profession that is highly undervalued.

At the University of Miami, the School of Education and Human Development is one of the smallest schools – with 539 students enrolled, according to the Office of Admission. That’s only about five percent of undergraduates. It may not be a popular path of study, but for many college students teaching is a back-up plan.

With 18 credits, a noneducation major can earn a professional training option minor and be certified to teach in Florida. Another popular post-grad option is joining Teach for America (TFA), which is currently recruiting for 2014.

The organization takes in recent graduates who have shown leadership qualities in college and places them in public schools around the country to teach for two years. TFA makes the assumption that, as long as you have a degree, you can receive a few short weeks of training and be ready to teach.

But that’s not done in any other career. There’s no crash course in becoming a doctor or lawyer, and being able to teach – and teach well – can be just as challenging.

TFA’s approach to education is part of a more widespread problem: the marginalization of the teaching profession, as Josh Diem, a professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning, calls it.

It has become increasingly easier to become a teacher through these alternative routes and certification programs. As a result, society seems to view teaching as something that anyone can do.

In reality, this de-professionalization of teaching as a career is only doing more harm to the underprivileged schools where TFA – which sends in unqualified “teachers” – aims to make improvements. While reform of the TFA program, such as limiting it to students with a background in education, is a step in the right direction, wider structural change is essential in the long-run.

In Finland, for example, teaching is the country’s most respected profession, and the career has competitive requirements. We need to follow Finland’s example and reverse the current trend of de-professionalization. By bringing more qualified teachers into schools,  we will be able to improve our educational system.

But this isn’t an obvious solution – because those who can, teach; those who can’t, make policies about teaching.

 

Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.

December 5, 2013

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

The University of Miami got off to a dream start, but could not hold on against No. 1 and defending ...

March is just around the corner; and University of Miami basketball coach Jim Larrañaga wants his pl ...

Erykah Davenport always hated being The Tall Girl. Every class picture, she was in the back row, tow ...

A little more than two years ago, Larry Scott was serving as the Miami Hurricanes’ interim head coac ...

The college basketball world woke up Friday morning to a bombshell report by Yahoo Sports detailing ...

Student a cappella group BisCaydence wins quarterfinals and advances to the next round in the intern ...

A closer look at the University of Miami's executive vice president for business and finance an ...

The popular Christian minister preached to more people than any other evangelist in history. ...

A vigil on the University of Miami campus, organized by UM students who graduated from Marjory Stone ...

The latest speaker in the popular lecture series at the Rosenstiel School, Jeff Goodell, shared insi ...

Kevin Arreaga's bronze medal in the men's weight throw led the Canes on Friday in Clemson. ...

No. 24 Miami got off to a dream start but could not hold on against No. 1 Florida Friday night, fall ...

The Hurricanes were momentarily slowed down by the first rain delay of the season, but held the Coug ...

The Miami women's basketball team plays its last game of the 2017-18 regular season Sunday at 4 ...

Canes and Eagles play at 2 p.m. Saturday in key ACC matchup. ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.