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Credentials, Anyone?

Thanks to Sunniemom for linking this post in her blog. "Elsie Deluxe" claims to have been a teacher in school and a homeschool mom as well. She states that she feels the two jobs are only just barely similar and that the two groups (teachers and h-s parents) misunderstand one another because they perceive their jobs as being alike when they really aren't. That's actually an excellent point. She goes on to say that teachers should respect that homeschoolers don't need certification because they know their children and don't need to manage a class of differing learners, etc. etc. But on the other side, "it seems that some homeschooling parents believe that because they deeply understand that they don't need a credential to teach their kids, the credential must be worthless.

It's not.

Teachers really do know some things about teaching that parents who teach their kids at home don't know. Because they have to. It's completely different work."

Ok, I'm tempted to get completely snarky and say, yeah, they need to know the proper way to do things like showing the kids how to navigate from one class to the next in four minutes when literally 568 others are trying to do the same thing, or how to discuss oral sex with a class of 30 children "professionally." Or demonstrate to them what to do when their best friends start smoking pot. I'm tempted. But she *does* have a point that managing children whose behaviour probably leaves much to be desired is something for which a little extra training may be helpful. She glosses over this in the comment section, implying she didn't want to fully address it so that homeschoolers don't have a bashing point.

Teachers have a hard job in this respect, and I can't say I'd bash them for failure to "control" students when their disciplinary measures are extremely limited. I think homeschoolers and public school educators do have a common interest in some sort of law and order in the classroom, because we all know public education isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Like it or not, the children who sit in public school classrooms today will make up the majority of voting adults tomorrow. We have an interest in lobbying for good classroom discipline...

And I can't say that "dealing with pompous administrators" would be something I'd be prepared to do as well as a teacher, either. Maybe some training needed for that, too. I'm sure a lot of parents can be extremely "challenging." And maybe a little off-topic, but I feel I need to insert here that I respect the fact that public school teachers work.

And they work HARD, folks.

I know some in "real life," too. You'd be surprised at how many have taken me aside and told me that they would really prefer to be at home with their own children, educating them.

I've also seen others make snide little comments about how they're "certified" and so they are able to handle the "whatever" we're talking about just then. And you know very well that that person's comment is meant to say in a backhanded way, "And you CAN'T handle these things, homeschool mom, because you're not certified and special and intelligent like meeeee..."

Give it a rest.

I suppose more telling than the blog post itself were some of the comments. "In general I see anti-credentialism (is that a word?) as a more socially acceptable form of anti-intellectualism." This intelligentsia-type person needs to be thwacked on the head with my little Communist Red Book. (Just kidding! But I had to say it! Does this guy really think I'm part of some new Cultural Revolution?)

Another writes that, "posts like this one make me think that politically homeschoolers need to be able to work with teachers' unions rather than assume they are the enemy. If we understood each other better, we could work together to fight some of the political decisions that are really causing problems." And while we're at it, Christians should make nice with those lions in the coliseum. They might not want Christianity to be an option, but it's nothing personal. The unions are just hungry for ALL the power and ALL the children. They want the arena to themselves, but if we just understood each other better, everything would be all right-y.

Wow. Maybe I'm not understanding the full tone and context of the commenters. I surely hope that I am not, because if folks in public education really think this way for the most part we're in big trouble.


  1. Oooh rats! I'm reading on the fly and this sounds very very good....I'll try and make it back tonight, but if not, I'll be back tomorrow (taking my dear friend Velma to the airport)....thanks for a great post. Even IF it's irritating I don't have time to digest the whole thing, lol. xo

  2. Hi Mrs C,
    The commenters you refer to in your post are also homeschooling their children, and probably not in the least bit representative of what people in public schooling think. Follow the links to their blogs and you'll see. Also for what it's worth, while I am certified to teach public school in my state, I have never taught in a public school. My teaching experience was in a private school.

    I think I glossed over the classroom behavior issue in the comments in part because it's not central to me. I think the expertise I gained in the process of being certified was more germane to the intellectual aspects of teaching. It is challenging to engage children with a wide range of interests and abilities in the work of a classroom, and I believe that the coursework and internships that were required for my degree were helpful to that end.

    Anyway, I was really just describing my own experience of the two projects: classroom teaching as compared to teaching my own kids at home. I'm not attempting to represent anything, or convince anyone.

  3. Ahhh... Thanks for explaining! Teaching kids of differing abilities is difficult and no doubt you did learn some tricks as to how to do this with several children in your classes. I'm sure some of them were probably helpful, and I can say that even while I state that the all-important "certification" wouldn't necessarily be.

    And in private school you *probably* didn't have to deal with the behaviour to the extent the ps. teachers have.

    I will have to follow some of those links in the comments. The commenters sure didn't sound like most folks I know that homeschool.

    Thanks SO MUCH for commenting on my blog, and taking the time to expound on your post a bit for me.

  4. While I am interested and involved in improving public education, I am NOT interested in playing footsie with the NEA. Their agenda does not involve improving public education, IMHO.

    I opted OUT of the system for a reason, and when someone suggests that I as a home educator should "work with" the system, I know exactly what would happen- an educrat's idea of a homeschooler working 'with' the system is for them to tell me what to do and how to do it, and me to shut up and comply.

    The system has flaws that teachers can't address until they are given the tools with which to do so. And we still need to deal with the fact that many who enter the teaching profession are not capable of teaching, but manage to acquire certification anyway.

    I liked the way elsie pointed out the fundamental differences in home education and traditional education. I can understand and support certification for a teacher who is performing a public service with taxpayer money. What is seriously flawed in the certification process itself. It does not ensure that quality teachers are going to be educating kids. Heck, it doesn't even ensure that child molesters won't be teaching kids.

  5. I went to school to be a special education teacher and I do not know how they do it. My mom is also a teacher and has to call me once a day to vent over a few students who are ruining class for everyone. She used to be against my homeschooling Monkey but now she is glad that he gets such one on one attention without the bad seeds spoiling it. I have great respect for ps teachers because of the things they have to deal with along with trying to teach kids at the same time.


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