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Teachers sometimes find themselves at the center of controversial debates. Students may complain that they grade too harshly, and parents might criticize these educators for their modern methods. Teachers have many factors to balance in their careers, and one of those elements is knowing what it takes to land the job. Whether you're applying to become a teacher or looking to hire some new teachers, you must consider whether education or experience makes for a better teacher. 

Consider the Degree's Origin
As evidenced by US News & World Report, some schools simply have a better reputation when it comes to preparing students to become teachers than others. Whether or not your candidate's experience or education should receive greater consideration at least partially depends upon the origins of the degree. For example, if you have an applicant that graduated at the top of the class from one of the best schools for education, seriously considering the application is likely a wise decision. Of course, you should take into account the elements that go into college rankings and evaluate how important they are to your school.

Examine the Currency
When you're evaluating education and experience, you also have to look into how current each element is and really evaluate the job description. Investopedia, for example, adds emphasis to this element. Perhaps your school is looking for an educator to teach a course in technology that employs the latest methods. A candidate who just graduated with a degree from a university known for implementing the most innovative technological tools is likely a reasonable fit. On the other hand, you may be in search of a trained teacher to handle a classroom filled with students who have serious disciplinary problems. Then, experience can seriously come into play. 

Review Regulations
You might have a candidate who has a tremendous amount of experience teaching in private schools or alternative schools. However, these institutions do not necessarily have the same requirements as public schools. For example, you may meet with a candidate who does not hold a degree in teaching even though this person has held a position as a teacher at a private school for decades. If your state has the requirement in place that the teachers must have degrees in education, you then do not have the option to hire this person. Simply put, education is likely going to have to play a role. 

Consider the Discipline
You also have to take into account the exact discipline for which you are hiring a teacher. For example, at the elementary-school level, you may need to hire a teacher who has a degree in mathematics or natural sciences. This teacher may need to provide a general overview of the subject matter to the students. On the other hand, you may need to hire a teacher who can prepare students for college in a rigorous course that focuses on the specifics of trigonometry or quantum physics. In the former case, opting for a teacher with more experience teaching elementary school can work out well. In the latter situation, you may certainly need a teacher who has less experience in an educational setting but who has a degree in the specific discipline that the students are required to learn.

Define Experience
As you're determining whether education or experience plays a more prominent role n whom you hire, you also have to define what you mean by experience. Scanning through Teacher Certification Degrees will introduce you to some of the possible past positions your applications could have held. Additionally, you might consider work as a tutor or as a daycare provider as experience. Before you can evaluate whether or not someone's experience will make that person a suitable candidate, you must determine what type of experience you are accepting. 

Needs of the Students
Whether you are hiring a teacher or becoming a teacher, you must address the needs of the students. The difference between experience and education can matter a tremendous amount here. If you are looking to work as a teacher for students who have serious learning disabilities, gaining some experience in the classroom can help you learn how to navigate sensitive situations with students and their parents. On the other hand, when you want to work with students who are pursuing technical degrees in art, having the education in that specific field can bolster the learning experience for the students. 

Confidence Levels
Standing in front of a room of people and talking is an experience that can rattle virtually anyone's nerves, at least from time to time. One important factor to take into consideration is that teachers with some years of experience may have higher confidence levels than brand new teachers. On the other hand, the educational environment wants to help new teachers become seasoned and confident as well, and getting those experiences in the classroom is crucial for this type of improvement. 

Candidate Pool
In the event that you are hiring teachers, you also have to consider who is a member of your candidate pool. The requirements, pay and benefits of the job are likely to play a role here. In other words, if you are offering a part-time job with a low salary, you probably should not expect that too many experienced teachers are going to apply. They have likely already built up their resumes to apply for full-time positions with higher pay. In other words, as you are setting up the criteria for the job, you can adjust your expectations to know what to expect in terms of degrees and experience.

Content Knowledge
As you're considering the benefits of both a formal education and experience, make sure to carefully evaluate the features of both. A degree in a subject area is important because it helps provide teachers with a deep knowledge of that material. Also, a degree can help teachers to know where to turn when they need more resources. Furthermore, a degree in education helps educators to know about the theories and concepts that govern the educational domain. These elements are important because this background provides teachers with the language necessary to discuss such concepts with others. 

Tackling Situations
On the other hand, having experience assists teachers in knowing how to respond to situations that happen in the classroom. All of the situations that come up in an actual classroom cannot be accounted for in any textbook. While a formal education and student-teaching and observation experiences can help new teachers to get a sense of what they might encounter in the classroom, scenarios outside of these ones happen all of the time. Teachers may learn how to handle a particular situation when they encounter it for the first time. 

Defining Better
Ultimately, the word better is certainly a subjective one. Whether you are eager to work as a teacher or you are going to hire one, you need to ask yourself what you mean by better. A better teacher could be one who has in depth knowledge of the newest technological tools, or a better teacher could be one who has worked for many decades as an instructor. By defining what you mean by better, you can more clearly set goals and plans. 

No one answer exists to the question of whether a better teacher is the one with more experience or a formal education. Reviewing these criteria and setting a defined standard of what you mean, however, can provide you with a clearer direction moving forward. 

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