Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Great Idea: Soldiers as teachers

Sitting bored in one of my teacher credentialing classes one day, I had a Great Idea: what if we helped encourage members of the armed services to become secondary and elementary school teachers? My experience in attemtping secondary education has taught me that in-depth knowledge of subject matter isn't the most important thing that makes for an educational experience. Not only do contemporary teaching materials provide so much (teacher's editions from my day just had answers, today's provide entire lessons) but lots of teaching is accomplished in getting the students to focus on the subject matter. And who would know more about learning focus than a trained soldier? The teachers who have in-depth knowledge of the subject matter can be moved away from the remedial classes (of which there are many) and back to the higher-level courses.

Offer people a free credential program and $20k/year stipend (for student teaching time) if they survive, er, complete a normal stint in the armed forces. The G.I. Bill was a huge success and made for more college-educated people (who tend to be liberal). Who knows, it might help raise recruitment rates at the same time it combats teacher turnover.

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