Here’s a piece of a conversation I just had with my 8-year old daughter, who is interested in becoming a teacher when she grows up.
Daughter: Dad, if you want to become a teacher, do you have to take classes?
Me: Yes. You have to take a lot of classes about how to teach and a lot of classes in the subjects you want to teach. You need to be really good at math to teach math, for example.
D: Then do you have to go out and teach in the schools, like Mr. D___ [the young man who student-taught in my daughter's elementary school this year]?
Me: That’s right. You have to take classes and you have to go into the schools and practice.
D: Do you have to practice with the little kids?
Me: That depends on who you want to teach. If you want to become an elementary school teacher you work with elementary school kids. If you want to teach in a middle school, then you work with middle school kids. If you want to teach high school, then you work with high school kids.
D: Sounds like you have to be really good to be a teacher.
Me: You bet.
D: Dad, what kind of kids do you teach?
Me: I teach college. I teach grown-ups.
D: So, did you have to go out and practice teaching grown-ups before they let you become a teacher?
Me: [pause] Um… not really. [I'm thinking: I taught some classes in grad school but those were the real deal -- not exactly "practice".]
D: Did you have to take a bunch of classes on how to teach grown-ups before you could teach?
Me: [pause] Um… not really. Actually not at all.
D: [pause; perplexed look on her face; goes back to eating her waffle.]