Why Do Teachers Learn To Teach From People Who Can’t?

8 September 2011

rp_Picture-002.jpgI want you to imagine you are about to go for an operation.  You walk into the surgeon’s office and on the wall are his credentials.  As you look at his certificates you notice that he has a trade in butchery but nothing at all suggesting that he has been to medical school.  The doctor arrives, sits down and asks “Before I get stated do you have any questions?”

You feel a bit stupid but you pluck up the courage and you ask “Well I’ve noticed that you were a butcher at one stage, where did you study medicine?”

The doctor replies without a moment’s hesitation, “Oh I didn’t go to medical school.  After being awarded as the nation’s best butcher five years in a row I decided it was time to branch out and put my skills with a knife to better use.”

You sit there wondering if he is having you on, maybe you look around for the hidden camera but the ‘doctor’ continues right on, “I was sitting out by the pool one day and thought to myself, this butchery job is no longer a challenge, I’m great with a knife and I like to help people so I decided right then and there to open up a day clinic performing operations on people.”

Now if that was you, would you let him perform the operation?

Hopefully the answer is obvious!

So my question is; if we wouldn’t trust a butcher to train a surgeon on how to operate why do we trust non teaching professionals to train teachers on how to teach?

As a teacher I would much rather listen to someone who has the runs on the board in a classroom than a professor who has written a book based on the latest theories.

As a provider of professional development to teachers my greatest asset is not my understanding of the theory of motivation and engagement nor is it my ability to quote the latest research. What teachers comment on most is my ability to provide real life examples of what has taken place in my classroom during the week.

The best professional development I have ever attended was by a teacher who brought his students along and together they provided training on how to use technology to engage students.  It was so good to see the students demonstrating what actually works and answering the teacher’s questions.

So for a bit of fun…tell me in the comment section below what has been your best and worst professional development experience.

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