This is my short answer to the question. It's my wife and newborn twin sons, now about twenty-seven hours old, and it has been an adventure every step of the way, which is how it goes with childbirth, a process that can unroll gently like the Miracle of Freaking Life, or like a terrifying rush of nurses and doctors and anesthesiologists into the operating room where they cut the mother's body open and yank children out of it, which is still miraculous, but in a much scarier way.
Anyway, when it's all happening to your wife or your self or your children, your first thought is not, "Boy, what I need is an ivy league graduate with a real interest in obstetrics" or "Right now I really want to disrupt the traditional model of infant delivery" or "If only there was an alternate certification program so that my children could be delivered by someone who had a previous career as a plumber" or "or even "I know my doctor is really good, but what I really want is another bunch of doctors to choose from."
No, at that moment you want a trained and experienced professional who knows what she's doing and who can be trusted to take care of my family.
But the last couple of days have reminded me of another reason that we need professionals, a reason beyond the now well-worn argument that nobody wants to hire folks from the five week Surgery for America program.
In the past several days, my wife has been every kind of naked in front of nurses and doctors. Now just physically naked, but pretty emotionally raw, and in these high-pressure times, we have performed couple dynamics in front of staff that people we know don't ordinarily get to see in our home. One of the basic professional skills of these folks is to know how to deal professionally with naked people and the things they reveal. (And there's the extra dimension here that many of these staff members are former students of mine.)
Teachers have the same need for this brand of professionalism. We know so many things about our students and their families, particularly if we've taught long enough to deal with multiple generations of one tribe. Teachers too easily see too many dark, difficult truths revealed not to deal with them professionally. Like medical folks, we are custodians of privileged information.
So when I see a story like the dope who handed out "prizes" to middle school students for things like "most likely to be a terrorist," my knee jerk reaction is that the alleged adult involved was not an actual teacher. (And in fact that "teacher" turns out to have been a former NFL cheerleader and dance instructor, which doesn't mean she couldn't possibly be a real teacher, but still, her work speaks for itself). And of course there are "teachers" who have done all the traditional training to be professionals and still ended up being terrible stewards of their students' information, secrets and lives-- and they should be moved out of the profession
But my point is that there is more to being trained to become a teacher or a nurse than simply learning a series of procedures. Becoming a professional means learning to live by a professional ethic, and yeah, I know, not everyone lives up to that ethic, but if you never acknowledge or preserve that ethic, you'll end up thinking that someone who's learned how to read the script in a canned teaching program has mastered all there is to know about being a profession al, and you will be putting a whole bunch of students who don't know how to cover up their rougher inner lives and who think they can trust their teachers-- those students will be at risk. We need people who are trained to be professionals and who live up to those professional ethics, and who can therefor be trusted around people who are at their most vulnerable.