Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Bureaucratic Bulls**t

It has been almost a year since I retired from a full time job in the Army, so I figured it was about time to see about a second career. I have been told by just about everyone I know that I would make a good teacher and, since I find the job appealing, today I finally went to the University of Alberta to see what needs to be done.

The trip was disappointing to say the least.

Since I already have a degree in History, I would be looking at an after degree program. This program is 2 years long. Other programs, such as in Ontario, are only one year. I spoke to some teachers in the Edmonton system to ask about this, and the consensus answer seems to be that the U of A wants to squeeze more money out of its students. Bah.

I was hoping to lower this time by getting some credit for past courses. It is unlikely that any of my past degree can count, since it was used towards another degree. This is not really surprising and makes sense, However, the U of A program is not about teaching you to teach. Fully half of the credits in the 2 year after degree program are electives which are similar to courses taken by any arts student, and are not related to teaching. Do I really want to take 1st year psychology again?

In addition, credit is very rarely given for past teaching experience. I have taught on numerous courses in the army, and spent about 2 weeks in April teaching on a course where I got about 40 hours of experience. Is this a lot? Not really, but it is something. I find it incredible that I am told that receiving credit for past experience is so rare that it is safe to say it does not happen. The woman at the Faculty of Education even gave me the example of a person who finished a practicum at the University of Calgary and transferred to Edmonton where they did not get credit for the work because "the programs are so different".


Teaching is teaching. There are only so many ways you can impart knowledge to others. I recently spent some time in an Edmonton high school and I did not see any lasers, Direct Knowledge Transfer Devices (DKTD's) or any other sci-fi type stuff.

Here is another good one. The U of A requires you to take 3 credits in a computer course if you have not taken one in the last 3 years. Well, I consider myself very computer literate and I cannot imagine what a course would be able to teach someone who has been using and interested in computers since he was 15 years old. Heck, I had a 300 baud modem for my Commodore 64.

The Faculty of Education at the U of A seems to be in the business of making money off of people and not graduating teachers. This wouldn't be so bad if there was some competition in the industry.

I am seriously reconsidering my desire to be a teacher. The U of A seems absolutely unwilling to even consider special cases. I am not keen to spend half of 2 years taking a bunch of courses I took 10 years ago.

There are other drawbacks as well. Part of the reason I got out of the army was I could not take the bureaucratic nature of the system. The education system seems very similar, except in the army a war comes around every once in a while, clearing out all the bureaucratic types. Education is not blessed with a similar "housecleaning".

Also, you have to join the union. I am not a fan of unions. There may have been a time, 100 years ago, when 5 year old children were working 18 hours a day in the coal mine with not even time off to watch Sesame Street, but those days are long gone. I would rather opt out and sell my teaching skill to the highest bidder.

I hear that some schools in the US are so desperate for teachers that they will take anyone with a degree, no teaching certificate required. Unfortunately the pay is not so good.

If anyone knows of a good job for an ex-army officer with 10 years experience, particularly in management, personnel administration and some budget management, let me know.

I am off to search Monster.


Anonymous said...

So, you don't like bureaucracy or unions? Ohhhh, my dear boy, teaching is SO not the job for you.

But if you are determined, have you considered private schools or Montessori?

MB said...

Tell me about it. I am not sure what I want to do.

Private schools would be an option, however, they are usually specialized in various areas such as religion, and ofter demand you be as well.

Sean McCormick said...

You could always become a technical trainer...

Anonymous said...

You can always try teaching at a college. Most of them don't require any kind of post-graduate certification. Practical experience is usually sufficient. A friend of mine with a B.Sc. in Computer Science and about 10 years of software development and instruction has been a Professor of Computer Science at a local college for 6 years now.

Anonymous said...

Options - a former service man and mature gentleman deserves options.

Come to www.degreeinfo.com for a bulletin board where more than a few people in your lot ferret out and discuss options that may solve - or at least, best resolve - your sort of problems.

Although most are from the US, there is a substantial contingent of western Canadians active on the board.

The only similarly discussion I can recall, off hand Marcel , were people trying to certify in pschology, surmounting Ontario versus other province requirements.

I post there as "Orson" from Denver, Colorado. (And you can directly email people on this board.

Remember: options are a man's best friend! You deserve to all of know yours.


Babbling Brooks said...

*knock, knock*

Uh...Marcel? Anybody home?