Monday, April 19, 2010

Is Teaching a Profession or a Craft?

This morning, I received an invitation to the college graduation of the daughter of a friend. Melanie is a brilliant and bubbly girl with great enthusiasm for life. Her dream, for as long as I've known her, has been to study the relics of early civilizations, with an eye toward better appreciating modern culture. Melanie will graduate in May with a degree in anthropology.

In the last year or so, however, Melanie has fallen in love with a young man. And while her love for archaeological exploration has not diminished, the practicality of fieldwork now seems incompatible with the plans she's making for her future. So Melanie -- reluctantly and very regretfully -- has decided to put away her trowel and her brushes, and get a master's degree in elementary education instead. It is, she believes, the sensible choice.

I cannot tell you the number of young people I've known who've given up a vocational dream or -- lacking a dream -- given up the search for one, and "settled" for teaching. Teaching (like writing : ) apparently is one of those occupations that everyone thinks anyone can do -- or, at the very least, that everyone thinks anyone can learn to do. Most people -- although not, I think, most teachers -- probably would agree with Melanie that any reasonably intelligent person can learn to teach.

But are they right, I wonder? Is teaching a profession -- or is it a craft?

A profession, according to Merriam-Webster Online, is a vocation requiring specialized knowledge and academic preparation; a craft is a vocation requiring specific knowledge and specialized skills. What does it take to be a good teacher? And does Melanie -- does everyone -- have what it takes?

If you're going to be a teacher, shouldn't teaching be your vocational dream?


  1. 若對自己誠實,日積月累,就無法對別人不忠了。........................................

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