Teaching and PRESTIGE

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Last month, in a cover story on urban education as a run-up to Waiting for Superman, TIME Magazine tackled the idea of “what makes a school great”. As is becoming the norm, TIME concluded that great teachers are the backbone of great schools. TIME believes that money is not the primary issue for difficulties in attracting top candidates: “But as a whole, the profession lacks something almost as precious as money: PRESTIGE.” Lack of prestige… a disregard for the “profession” of teaching… a stigma of a low-performing profession… a culture that is building teaching around a “public service / volunteerism” mindset… all of this creates a void of prestige, says TIME. In America, for example, only 23% of teachers come from the top third of their college class while 47% come from the bottom third. So, they asked, how do you recruit great teachers?

So if it’s more prestige than money… what’s the answer to the “prestige” issue?

My answer is quite simple. In fact, it’s not my answer at all. It’s God’s. You want prestige in teaching, He’ll give you prestige: “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?” “The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” “And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” “Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.”

There’s no lack of prestige in teaching. The “lack” is in the definition of prestige, not in the location of it.