I’m sure some people will dislike this post, although I am not sure why. Have you ever been in a doctor’s office? Well, if you haven’t then knock on wood and let me tell you why I ask. Whenever I go into a doctor’s office, or sit in a waiting room for what seems like an obscene amount of time I frequently gaze around the room and see degrees in ornate frames perched lovingly on the soft colored walls. Not only do I see degrees, but also awards or memberships to organizations. I have also (cough cough) heard that you can see the same thing in a lawyer’s office, I know that I have seen them displayed in the offices of my university professors. But walk around your school, go into the classrooms, how many of your colleagues are displaying these things? Are you? Why?
I asked myself this same question, and I asked it of the teachers in my building. Some of the teachers honestly hadn’t given it much consideration. Some (first year teachers) were frankly too busy to worry about it. But many felt that the reason these things are not displayed in classrooms has something to do with self-aggrandizement or promotion. This last sentiment is one that is emblematic of a larger problem that exists in public education, and that is the union mentality of not wanting to stand out or apart from the collective, but that is a post for another day.
I say hang up your degrees, hang up your awards, heck hang up your high school diploma for crying out loud. You worked hard to get those pieces of paper and what they represent. They will also engender questions from your students like: “Oh, you went to *fill in university*, what was that like?” or “What did you study?” Hanging up your degrees and awards does not make you arrogant, any more than any other highly trained professional who displays theirs is arrogant.