I took a gander at teach.org to confirm my suspicions about the career path that is laid out for unworldly, aspiring educators.The instructions generally read as, “Get your bachelor’s degree, get your certification, pick a focus area, join the union and commence teaching.” The site encourages social studies teachers with, “you can expand students’ understanding of the entire world around them. You can cover more than a dozen major topics like civics, history, geography, philosophy, economics, and psychology.”
Or if the would-be teacher’s preferred subject area is science, teach.org’s promise is to, “help kids develop their problem-solving, exploratory, and critical-thinking skills. In middle school and high school you can lead students through imaginative projects to help develop a deeper understanding of specific subjects including biology, chemistry, earth science, physics, and engineering.”
The established life path for teachers is the K-12 campus, then the college campus, and back to the K-12 campus until retirement. Imagine being qualified to provide emerging adults with the tools to thrive in the harsh yet rewarding world of free enterprise without ever having worked in a competitive, non-union environment. Imagine being able to convey an appreciation for liberty when your only adult employer has been a government agency.
There is plenty that all of us can do to remedy this predicament. Get involved in your local K-12 school district. Support your neighborhood schools with an active and genuine relationship with your industry. If you are an IT professional, demonstrate how mobile devices and cloud computing are accelerating information sharing and employee effectiveness. If you are an aerospace engineer, explain how chemistry relates to propulsion and how geography relates to orbits.
Spoil your local teachers with VIP tours of your companies and show them how the knowledge that they give students is valued in very practical deployments on the job. Develop open lines of respectful communication with the Superintendent and the teachers. And if you are one of the fortunate professionals to have retired early, consider a second career in the classroom. Your wisdom will give rich meaning to the required basics.