I'm in a bit of a dilemma. I love teaching and coaching speech and debate. While I am only a half-time teacher (working on Dahle Communication Group the other half) I do really enjoy my time at school working with those kids.
Here is the dilemma: my daughter says she wants to be a teacher. I say dilemma because I am not sure that I even want her to be a teacher. I know she would be an amazing elementary teacher (which is what I think she wants to do). She has a huge heart, is very caring, helps other students now while in school and is nothing short of brilliant. I know she's only ten and will might change her mind, but she's been saying she wants to be a teacher for about 3 years now (I wanted to be a fireman when I was 7, but that's because we got to go to the fire-station in second grade).
Now why don't I want her to be a teacher? I know it sounds terrible, but I think she is too smart and too talented to be a teacher - and that is the problem! As a society we have a belief that if you are a talented smart person, you should do something besides teaching. While I don't claim to be a brilliant person, I've had several people ask me why I'm not in politics or a lawyer or something else. It is a stigma that I have heard several times: 'If you can't do, teach.' That is the problem.
Educators and education as a whole needs some new branding. We need to change the mindset of people that if you are the most talented and smartest kid in class, that you absolutely should go into teaching! Teach for America has started to do this to some degree of success. They focus on getting graduates from schools like Duke or Harvard and get graduates who usually would never think about going into education and sending them to impoverished schools or reservations and working with kids who are not exposed to highly intelligent successful kids to try and inspire them.
Mostly though, as educators, we need to show that education is so important that it should be pursued by the best and brightest. It is an issue that I am struggling with. We all want our kids to do better than we did, and I'm not sure if education is going to provide that for my daughter - especially if she teaches in South Dakota (we are 51st in the nation in teacher-pay).
How do we do this? Do educators need to have a more rigid educational background? Do we just need to start talking about it? I obviously have a clouded perspective being in education so I am curious as to your thoughts: what do you think?