Traders to teachers?

New Jersey is trying to turn laid off Wall Street traders into math teachers. So far, the three-month training program at Montclair State is flooded with applicants, many of whom majored in finance or accounting in college. They’re promised close mentoring when they’re placed in classrooms.

But will they be content with salaries that are a small fraction of what they used to earn? I’m not sure it’s a good personality fit either, though traders do know how to work under pressure.

About Joanne

Comments

  1. Ragnarok says:

    Traders are con men (and women).

    Would they do better in the classroom than the current denizens, many of whom are terminally incompetent?

    Probably not – but they’ll spin the results better. You know, the need for bonuses, ‘top talent’ etc.

  2. How many of these traders, who worked in very solitary existence, can now step into a chaotic classroom with 30+ teenage bodies (I’m thinking high school as I do not see how these people would be qualified to teach elementary kids) and make them love accounting.

  3. Physics Teacher says:

    The way that the teaching profession recruits is akin to fishing with explosives. They try to get as many people to become teachers and then they want to remove the ones who aren’t entertainers.

  4. It’s important to remember that those traders are divided into two groups: salesmen and quants. The salesmen have the ability to convince students of the value of learning math, but they’ll have to spend a lot of time on lesson preparation because math is not their natural field of study. The quants are naturally math people, but they’re not necessarily people-oriented.

    What both groups have in common, though, is the ability to teach math as a real-world skill. Most of the math teachers that I know are interested in math for its own sake — assuming they’re interested in math at all. Finding traders to teach math may result in kids getting interested in math as a way of learning how to make money and be successful. The failed traders are also capable of building and teaching curriculum designed to build financial literacy in our students, and successful saving and poverty-mitigation.

    This could be a really good move, as long as the traders take their financial fall as a sign that it’s time to help others and not scam them.

  5. Physics Teacher says:

    Well, someone with my background (engineering, computer science) should be able to teach kids about those fields. Yet, I was explicitly told that my previous experience means nothing and that it’s my “ability to engage” that counts.

    I have no doubt that many of these former traders will be told the same. Those that even get jobs.

    Don’t let anyone fool you. There is no shortage of teachers. Math or otherwise.

  6. Ragnarok says:

    Andrew Watt said:

    The failed traders are also capable of building and teaching curriculum designed to build financial literacy in our students, and successful saving and poverty-mitigation.

    The same traders whose firms went belly-up in the last year? Because of their inspired advice?

    I rather doubt it.

    Traders are con men (and women). The con women were probably better at it, but they were swindlers all. And now you’d like them to teach kids what – how ignorance is no barrier to making money?

    Try reading Derman’s “My life as a quant”. It’s a surprisingly readable book, but Derman never quite answers the question, why should probability theory be expected to model the “madness of crowds”.