Venn Librarian

Reflections about the intersection of schools, libraries and technology.

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It’s just a piece of paper

Posted by lpearle on 17 October 2008

On Facebook, a friend noted that she thought McCain had said something about not requiring teacher certification. This is one of those Hot Button edbiz issues: to certify or not to certify.

Me? I’m all for appropriate training and credentials, but state certification is not one of those. I’m not a state certified librarian, and neither are the majority of my independent school library friends… or my independent school teacher friends. According to the narrow-minded thinking of the “certification or leave” people, that somehow means that we do not run good programs, that we’re incapable of giving the same quality education and having good pedagogy as our certified peers.

Nonsense. It’s just a piece of paper. In my many years of learning/working in schools, I’ve seen as many great non-certified teachers as I’ve seen bad. It’s just a piece of paper. State certification does not mean that you’re going to continue to learn and grow, to bring new ideas and methods to your work, to engage your brain as well as those of your students. It doesn’t hold magical powers… except in a public school environment, where it can lead to employment (and then difficulties, thanks to union regulations and contracts, getting rid of those that passed but simply cannot teach).

At MPOW I work with some of the smartest people I’ve ever met. I’ve listened to their students talk about their classes and I know that these students are lucky to have the opportunity to learn from these people. I felt the same way about several of my teachers “back when”. Yes, they could get state certification. But why? It’s just a piece of paper.

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2 Responses to “It’s just a piece of paper”

  1. Ellysa said

    It would have taken me an additional 40 credit hours in order to be ‘qualified’ to be a public school librarian in PA. Even though I had six years of experience, three of those as a Middle School librarian. I like being an academic librarian, but I’ll admit that it still rankles me that I couldn’t even consider applying for school positions here.

  2. Lazygal said

    Ellysa, exactly! You’d be a great librarian anywhere, but without that piece of paper…And for all those that think that licensing, etc. are a measure of good ability, my recent experience with an endocrinologist with more pieces of paper than God proved once again that just ain’t necessarily so!

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