- The Washington Times - Friday, August 22, 2008

Your Tuesday editorial “Don’t know much about math” on the requirements that would-be and “career switching” teachers complete graduate education degrees is well-taken. In Virginia, licensed teachers must have 15 credit hours of education courses. On the other hand, short-term substitutes can he hired with as few as 60 credit hours of college.

I’m an information technology retiree. I worked as a substitute for a while in Arlington and Fairfax counties. I thought the perspective of someone with 30-plus years of “real world” work would be good for students.

Often it was, given sufficient student maturity, but I had serious problems with classroom discipline with a small but significant percentage of students on some assignments.

State legislatures and education departments should rethink their need to have “work-experienced” older people switch to teaching and offer more realistic and cost-effective training programs.

They also should think about how such persons can be significant authority figures in a school culture that does not respect substitutes or recognize the diverse “work world” from which they often come. The skills that made someone effective in information technology or any technical field are not necessarily the same skills needed to connect with disadvantaged students.



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