Many, many years ago when I was in undergrad school, my classmates and I would often talk about how the real learning would begin once we graduated and obtained our pieces of paper. We knew that in university we were being taught ideals more than anything else. These ideals did not match up with reality as people are different when used as study groups versus real life situations.
The same idea applies to those with education degrees or teacher’s diplomas. Most are taught ideals and their brief foray into the real world of education as student teachers doesn’t always impact them like it should.
The question of who is or isn’t qualified has gone on since the ancient world gave way to the Middle Ages and that to modern civilization. It will probably continue till the world ends. The idea of qualifications is very subjective. Much like how an educational system should run, the issue of who is qualified is diverse and it depends upon whom is doing the speaking.
Many people advocate that all teachers should have a certain piece of paper before entering the classroom. Some think you need two or three. The problem is that all these pieces of paper do is show that the holder completed the required amount of courses to receive it. They are no guarantee that the person holding them can teach or if they can, that they will teach well.
These pieces of paper are not exclusive. By that I mean that they do not determine the teaching ability of all people. Those who do not hold such a piece of paper can be gifted teachers without ever setting foot in an educational classroom. Learning to teach is not limited to the approved course in a university or certificate program. There are people with the gift to teach and they should not be ostracized or excluded from the classroom.
Does this mean that those who went to university and obtained those pieces of paper wasted their time? Of course not, it means that those who hold them are not greater than those who do not and vice versa thus they should not demand that all people follow the path that they took. Not everyone is gifted to be a teacher and not everyone can learn to be one either. Teaching is not for everyone and it is not a fallback profession.
The real test for being qualified for the classroom is experience. The only way you know if you are qualified to teach is to get in there and teach. You also have to be honest with yourself and give it an honest chance. A few classes isn’t enough to make a determination of one’s abilities. Nor are a few unruly students a determination of one’s classroom management.
Like everything else, good classroom management comes with experience and learning from one’s mistakes. Making mistakes is not fun but they will happen. How a person handles those situations helps them decide if they are a teacher or not.
There are many people who come to Korea or other Asian countries thinking their pieces of paper qualify them to teach Asian students. Many find out the hard way that that idea is not so. Along with experience, adaptability plays a role in being qualified for the classroom. If you cannot adapt from the ideals or western ways you have been taught, then you will never make it.
The East is not like the West and the first year here will tell you that and if you can’t make changes then teaching in the East is not for you. Although that does not mean that teaching in the West is out as well. You may find that you are to be a teacher in a Western country but experience taught you that not a piece of paper.
Teaching is not easy and those who think it is need to reassess their motivations for wanting to be in the classroom. The classroom is not part of a game. It is a profession and should be treated as such. The right mentality will help those trying to decide if they are qualified or not.