So what does it take to attract the best of the best into the teaching profession?
Going as far back as World War I, the U.S. Army has conducted some really powerful recruitment campaigns. Granted, persuading people to put themselves at the wrong end of a rifle requires a lot of careful messaging, but you got to admit, it's impressive.
Military slogans through the years:
It's not just waging war that requires a savvy campaign. Look at the converse of the military, the Peace Corps.
Closer to home, walk into any airport and it's clear how much money colleges and universities are spending to recruit prospective students.
Many college football programs are given $1 million recruitment budgets. As everyone recognizes, getting the right raw talent to begin with is more important than anything that follows.
It doesn't matter who is doing the recruiting, they all involve passion and inspiration. They all promise to make us better human beings. Institutions implementing such strategies send the message that they mean business and value what they have to offer.
And then there's teaching. Someone sent us this teacher recruitment gimmick from a major, highly respected institution in Texas. The university had gotten some grant money a few years ago to persuade more of its student body to consider teaching and this is what they did with their money:
Not only is the notion absurd that anyone might get one of these things and suddenly decide to sign up for the teacher prep program but it also looks like something a teacher might have needed in 1970.
There's more. Look at this Groupon offer. For $950 you can get a Groupon for an introduction to teaching course.
Nothing in this ad says that teaching is a significant, valued career. For a career that in itself makes possible all others, it really should inspire more.
Later this month, the US Department of Education has joined up with companies such as Microsoft and State Farm to launch the new Teach Campaign. They promise to deliver a far more impassioned message to prospective teachers. We wish them much success.