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Those Who Can Do, and Those Who Haven't (Yet) Teach ^ | October 14, 2013 | Mark Baisley

Posted on 10/14/2013 9:00:11 AM PDT by Kaslin

Several years ago, I worked with some fellow propellerheads to launch a nanotechnology initiative in my state. That is, engineering devices at the atomic and molecular level. There were several local companies already working peripheral technologies like MEMS (Micro-electro-mechanical systems) and plenty of interest in taking machines to their ultimate, small incarnations.

A natural component to our new society of industry, economic development groups and chambers of commerce was partnership with higher education. So we teamed up with local universities to encourage their offering related majors, with requirements in physics and chemistry. Industry envisioned expanding revenue, communities saw economic expansion, and educators saw funding opportunities.

But the lovefest among the dreamers came to an abrupt pause during one planning session. The state university was hosting a session of about 100 enthusiastic entrepreneurial spirits when one elbow-patched professor suggested that private industry require that all their new-hire engineers hold a new degree in nanotechnology.

Require? The response from one business operator went something like, “We like the idea of having higher-ed partners. But why would we limit ourselves to only hiring specialists with a particular degree?” The immediate and earnest response from the professor was, “How else will you know if they are qualified to perform the work?” The hushed reaction from everyone in the room was quieter than if Professor Patches had just farted in church. The small business CEO eventually broke the silence with, “This is our area of expertise. I think we will be able to assess whether an applicant knows the work.”

That awkward exchange provides a glimpse into the incestuous culture of education. And let me pause here to illuminate my support and enthusiasm for the business of education. I deeply value the quality of teaching that I personally received both in high school (at the prestigious Colegio San Antonio Abad – Go Hermits!) and my college alma mater where I am honored to serve on the Board of Trustees (Columbia College – Go Cougars!). But I will suggest in a most assertive way that teachers need to get out more.

I took a gander at 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,’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.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial

1 posted on 10/14/2013 9:00:11 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

I actually did this for one semester. Went into an “at risk” middle school and taught a real world topic. Waaaaay harder than you might think. Great kids at heart but it’s hard to teach when there’s no discipline. Not saying we shouldn’t try but if anyone has ever done this - it’s not like the movies - let me tell you.

2 posted on 10/14/2013 9:03:57 AM PDT by 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten
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To: Kaslin

....and those that can’t do either....administrate.

3 posted on 10/14/2013 9:18:35 AM PDT by spokeshave (While Zero plays silly card games like Spades - Putin plays for keeps.)
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To: Kaslin

That’s true in some fields but not in others.

Music teaching, for example, is one of the few paying occupations that permits a musician to make a living. (I’m thinking that true for all starving artists.)

Teaching Math might be one of the few occupations that actually enables getting paid to do math. (Not endless numbers like in accounting, or number crunching like in research statistics.)

4 posted on 10/14/2013 9:19:46 AM PDT by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten

Discipline is always the hardest issue, and the ones who spend the most time on it may succeed at that, but don’t have a lot of time left over for actually teaching. They will learn, but not as much as they should or, more importantly, need to.

5 posted on 10/14/2013 9:19:53 AM PDT by Tanniker Smith (Rome didn't fall in a day, either.)
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To: 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten

Hey, I saw all four of the “substitute” movies as well as Lean On Me.


6 posted on 10/14/2013 9:22:41 AM PDT by cuban leaf
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To: Kaslin

Those who can, do.
Those who can’t teach.
Those who can’t do or teach, work for the gub mint.

7 posted on 10/14/2013 9:36:49 AM PDT by Joe Boucher ((FUBO) ( Hey Rubio, eat pooh pal))
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To: Kaslin
“This is our area of expertise. I think we will be able to assess whether an applicant knows the work.”

Nice statement. I wish it were true. Most companies (perhaps not start-up nanotechnology firms) just have HR scan resumes for keywords. Lots of qualified people do not get called in for interviews. Lots of unqualified people (who have paid to get their resumes improved) come in and get hired to do work that they cannot do.

We need to fix our schools.
We need to fix the corporate attitude toward hiring.

I like apprenticeships for almost all job categories. It's not a solution for 100% of the fields out there, but it would be better than college in most cases.

8 posted on 10/14/2013 9:45:52 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy (21st century. I'm not a fan.)
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To: Kaslin

Not getting involved, because we are working or have other priorities, is the reason why libs have over-run everything. They at least understand that.
This is my biggest fault with conservativism and Christianity today. We do a great job teaching eachother, but it’s getting the word out in a way that relates to other people where we fall short.

9 posted on 10/14/2013 11:20:10 AM PDT by vpintheak (Thankful to be God blessed & chosen!)
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To: ClearCase_guy

Nice statement. I wish it were true. Most companies (perhaps not start-up nanotechnology firms) just have HR scan resumes for keywords. Lots of qualified people do not get called in for interviews.


Because the know-it-all folks who don’t get called in have failed to follow rule #1 of getting an interview.

Tailor your resume to the job you are applying for. Folks who have just one resume pretend this is a one size fits all world and they are simply hurting themselves by not paying attention to employment and hiring trends..

And yes, I recruited IT for an 18 billion dollar organization. If I specifically state I need Websphere or Citrix or whatever, and it’s not mentioned in your resume, you’re dead in the water. The hiring manager doesn’t have the time to train someone on the basics when I can hire someone with the necessary skills. Even if you only took a class on the product/skill requested, get it in your resume.

And yes, your cover letter should spit back the wording used in the job posting. Getting around the word search feature of recruiting applications is pretty easy.

I agree we need to fix the schools.

For large organizations, behavioral interviewing is the thing. And a job seeker not konwing that is at a significant disadvantage.

10 posted on 10/14/2013 11:38:32 AM PDT by dmz
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