All about Teacher Education Programs
MANY STEPS are involved in becoming a teacher. The first one is to get the proper training. You must select a school that will meet the future demands of your profession. This chapter explains the requirements common to most teacher education programs in the United States.
Before you can begin your career as a teacher, you must acquire the necessary education. The good news is that many routes exist for you to get the teaching education you need. Depending on your current educational background, this could mean: obtaining a four-year college degree from an accredited teacher education program; or, if you already hold a college degree but it isn't in the education field, you can enroll in a teacher education graduate program; or you may only need to take a few specific education courses at an institution approved by your state department of education. Another option available to you is distance learning, which enables you to learn in your own home at your own pace.
While you have to complete a certain amount of teacher education in order to become certified as a teacher, you don't always need to obtain your full certification in order to land your first full-time teaching job. This is especially true in urban or rural areas where there is often a high demand for teachers.
No matter what your situation is—a high school student just starting out, a two- or four-year college student who has decided to go into teaching, or a college graduate deciding to change careers—you have to complete a teacher education program in order to be certified as a teacher. If you want to begin teaching immediately after college, without obtaining a graduate degree, you must attend a school that offers a program in your interest area that ensures you have the necessary educational credentials to obtain certification. If you want to study something more esoteric in your undergraduate years and still be able to teach, you can get a graduate degree with a concentration in education. Either way, you must have specialized training in education to obtain certification, get hired, and become a successful teacher.
Changes in Teacher Education
Several major changes in both theory and practice have turned the traditional classroom into a more exciting learning environment. These changes include new instructional materials, technology, and understandings of how children learn. These elements have changed the way teachers instruct students, and the training program you select should provide you with information and opportunities to experience these changes.
Just a few years ago, every student had a textbook, and every teacher had a teacher's edition of that book and maybe a workbook for reinforcement. Using a formal lesson plan, teachers would assign a chapter to read on Monday, provide several worksheets to complete and grade in class during the week, and then give a chapter test on Friday.
Today, teachers still use textbooks, but the books come with kits containing multiple resources such as videos, laser discs, and software to use in their classrooms. There is a broad range of instructional material available, which can be classified in seven general groups:
- Printed and display material
- Nonprojected display material
- Still-projected display material
- Audio material
- Cine and video materials
- Computer-mediated materials
When assessing the instructional materials, you should ask yourself what educational objective you want to achieve and what type of sensory experience is required. Teachers are expected to incorporate these materials into their lessons, selecting the most appropriate ones for each specific group of students. Planning lessons to meet the needs of every student is more complicated and time-consuming than ever before.
It is essential that you begin your career with an understanding of the kinds of materials that are available and how they should be used. Your methods courses must expose you to these resources. In fact, your practical classroom experience (known as student teaching, directed teaching, or practicum) should provide opportunities to use a variety of modern resources and materials.
Washington Virtual Academies
Tuition-free online school for Washington students.
- Coats and Car Seats: A Lethal Combination?
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- Signs Your Child Might Have Asperger's Syndrome
- Child Development Theories
- GED Math Practice Test 1
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- Social Cognitive Theory
- Why is Play Important? Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Creative Development
- The Homework Debate
- Problems With Standardized Testing