Insurance for Student Teachers???

An email from NCTE crossed my desk a couple of weeks ago, offering– no, urging, student teachers to consider taking out insurance. I’m torn about this. On the one hand, teachers are the latest public punching bags and maybe it makes sense to put some cotton batting around yourself at a time when you feel vulnerable anyway. On the other hand, it’s unsettling, and I’m not sure why. So, let me write about it & find out.

The vast majority of people don’t enter this profession to make the big bucks. That’s simply not an option. And now, in many NYC schools, teachers face requirements to supply their own paper. No one wants excessive spending, but making cuts to essential supplies and then asking teachers to pull from their own not-so-well-lined pockets is just plain wrong.  The idea that a student teacher, facing fees for graduate degrees that are mandated by state certification laws, should consider shelling out more money seems ridiculous.

That the offer comes through our professional organization is worrisome. It’s great that NCTE is providing this service to members; these kinds of benefits add even more value to belonging. But how of our English pre-professionals belong to the organization? (When I urge students to consider joining NCTE, many of them think of spending one more dollar and I can see their eyes spin.)

Mostly this feels like the opening of a big can of worms.

If a big professional organization like ours is an umbrella for companies to insure student teachers, what’s the message about the state of the field to prospective teachers? To inservice teachers? Teacher unions?

What impact might it have on principals and teachers who have traditionally worked with student teachers? (If you knew your student teacher had insurance, would that shift anything about the way you would work with him/her?)

Mostly I wonder which comes first, the insurance or the need for it?


Image © AdamSelwood used via Creative Commons

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