Anyone Can Be A Teacher

Becky Weber, Artist

The Utah Board of Education approved in June a new rule that schools will be able to hire new teachers whose only requirements are to have a Bachelor’s degree, take a test, and pay a fee.

Getting a teaching degree previously was a requirement to obtain before teaching a subject. Cara Baldree, a science teacher at Lincoln Elementary school, described the new requirements as ‘…demoralizing and insulting’ as she perceives them as implying that knowledge of something gives one the ability to teach it. She later elaborates by saying ‘Just because you comprehend third grade math doesn’t mean you can teach third grade math.’

Utah schools have been facing a shortage of teachers in the passing years, a hole that has only gotten progressively bigger as time has gone on. By enabling more people to become teachers means that it is easier to fill these positions and get more diversity in the kind of people filling them, but is this really a good thing?

There is also the fact that there are some people who simply shouldn’t teach, I’m sure we’ve all had one of those before. Teaching requires more than just knowing about the ability to communicate well with others. If we let people into the teaching force without giving them the skills they need to communicate well with students then those attempting to learn will get nothing out of it.

On the other hand the new policy is an excellent way to combat the shortage of teachers. If the policy hadn’t occurred then some schools would have to make substitute teachers more or less the permanent teacher for their core classes. Because of the new ruling several schools have been saved from such a fate by being able to hire on new teachers with more knowledge to fill the gaps in their number’s of teachers.

The new policy doesn’t change fact that progressively fewer people are choosing teaching as their profession. If the number of teachers continues to decrease even the new ruling will fail to help, so the real question is how to incentivise new people to come into the teaching field. So the new ruling will help to fill gaps in schools, but it is just a temporary fix on the bigger problem. Some solutions might be to pay teachers more as teaching is a full time job and on average $49,393 according to the Washington Post, or we could provide better teaching conditions for the teachers.

The new policy has many good attributes in the fact that it has the ability to help with increasing loss of teachers, but it also brings teacher’s in that do not actually know how to teach their subject. For now it is a temporary fix, but unless the board of education comes out with another idea relatively soon we may be facing a more permanent shortage of educators.