Tuesday, April 2, 2013

There's a sucker born...

I am genuinely curious - how many other professions are out there that do one or more (or all!) of the following:
- demand you have a specialized university degree to get a job in the profession on top of your previous university education;
- demand you pay fees to get member standing with a "professional college" of members (whatever that's supposed to be) after obtaining the said specialized university degree for the privilege of applying to jobs (protip: said college doesn't actually do anything for you aside from shiny glossy monthly newsletters and some library in some building somewhere in downtown Toronto, and of course the previously mentioned privilege);
- demand that you volunteers as much of your free time as possible to basically work in your profession without pay in return for vague assurances of an interview at some later undetermined date;
- demand that every year or two you spend 600-800 dollars of your own money on "additional qualification" courses without which you will never (or so you're assured!) get a job in the profession (note: you pretty much have to do this whether you already have a job in the profession or whether you're just trying to get one);
- demand that when you do finally get that interview, and then hopefully that job, that you work part time for a few years (until a full-time position somewhere opens up), but continue to also do all of the above as well as pay union fees.

So, my dear Ministry of Education of Ontario, Ontario College of Teachers, and various Ontario boards of education - this is why I do my best to dissuade any and all of my students, friends, relatives, and acquaintances from pursuing a career in public education in this country - it's a con game and the deck is stacked against the future graduating teacher. Teacher colleges are an incredibly lucrative source of money for universities - high return on investment, low cost (part-time profs and guest lecturers teach at Teacher Colleges), combined with steady cash flow (those additional qualifications are taken by tens of thousands of teachers every year without fail). They have zero interest in: a) matching the number of graduates to the actual jobs out there, and b) providing the future graduates with realistic expectations about their future jobs or lack thereof. So to paraphrase Ambrose Bierce:

University (n.): An ingenious device for obtaining profit by creating unrealistic expectations.

(For an actually brilliant and incisive examination of universities as the giant corporate profit machines and hedge funds that they are, check out this post by The Last Psychiatrist - the entire entry is brilliant but for the specific discussion of the system and higher places of learning in it scroll down to part V)