Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Teachers - Do they need a degree to teach?

After 12 years of teaching, today will be my last day. I've decided to take a "leave of absence" from the teaching world. Closing this chapter of my life for a little while seems better then saying that I am leaving for good - but I will most probably not come back. Today I will say goodbye to my boys, to the desks and chairs scraping against the floor, to the clattering of children running through the halls and down the stairwells. Today will be the last time that I answer to anyone else but me.

I started teaching right after Seminary. For a hand full of good Jewish girls this is what we do. My year in Israel, I elected to take the teaching course and received a certificate in Judaic Studies Education. When I came home that summer I got engaged to my High School sweetheart. I had originally wanted to go to art school in NY, but chose to move to LA instead. You can read all about that in a previous post here. For the first two years of my marriage I went to design school at night and worked as a teachers' assistant by day.

After Baby #1 working by day and learning at night became too hard so I stopped going to school (giving up my dream of art) and began teaching full time. Being a Judaic Studies teacher, it wasn't necessary for me to hold a degree, my certification was all I needed - Unless, I wanted more money.  So back to school I went to earn a degree in education. This time I studied online, learning around my kids and teaching schedule. The only catch was that NO ONE - NOT ONE SCHOOL would accept my credits from UCLA. Apparently because they were night classes AKA Extension classes - they had no credit value and therefor no school would take them. So I lost 2 years of schooling credits.

Over the past 10 years I have been going to school online. Taking one step back with every baby, and taking one step forward as they grow up. I am now 1 credit shy of getting my degree; so i guess you can say that my entire teaching career was done without holding a Bachelor's Degree.

The funny thing is that I have taught almost every grade and subject out there. From Preschool to 8th grade English and Math, I have taught it AND I always get the Special Ed kids. They are my specialty. Perhaps it's my "out of the box" way of thinking or the fact that I hate working within the perimeters of what's "normal", I pride myself on giving each of my students a unique experience tailored made for them. I have learned EVERYTHING on the job, researching on my own what I needed to know.

I have always been embarrassed that I don't hold a degree. I can't believe I'm even admitting it now, but why should I be embarrassed? I'm a REALLY good teacher! Do you know how many teachers I have seen that hold fancy college diplomas be fired within the first couple of weeks because they couldn't hack it? I honestly can say after going into debt for a degree that I still don't have that the only class that perhaps helped me at all was my Children's Lit class? Everything else was a serious waste of time.

I am writing this post, because I wonder does it really matter that a teacher hold a degree? As a mom my first impulse is to say "YES! Of course!" But as a teacher knowing the behind the scenes of the daily grind, I would say "NO. I don't think so."

I really want to hear what you all have to say about this topic. Please comment.


1 comment:

  1. I taught for over 5 years, I had a bachelors but it was a bachelors of fine arts, and I was teaching special ed math and graphic and web design classes...I don't think a teaching degree is necessary for everyone, some people just have the gift of teaching!