Becoming a teacher is a wonderful way to boost your satisfaction and bank account, not to mention do something beneficial for the world. Working with kids at the primary or secondary level makes for a great career – but getting there can prove difficult.
If you’re considering a teaching training course and are feeling overwhelmed, never fear. Similarly, if you’re looking down the road and hoping to make the best possible start with smart habits, we’ve got your back. Here’s how to do teacher training course in five simple survival-focused steps today!
1. Consider When You Can Dedicate Your Time To School
Knowing in advance when you will have time to dedicate to a teacher training course can help you be more successful. No one expects you to drop everything else you have going on in life in order to take on an endeavor that doesn’t yet come with a salary. Sure, educating yourself to join the teaching profession will pay great dividends later, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have work and other responsibilities that still matter now.
Stay at home moms, for instance, frequently find that going back to school is no simple matter. Finding time around diaper changes, school drop-offs, checking math assignments and feeding wholesome food can feel like a endless task. To ensure you get the time needed to train to teach, ask yourself:
Does this program align with my existing schedule? Can I take classes at times when my kids/work/family duties are covered?
Does it offer flexibility? Will I be able to make up lost time when the inevitable happens and I have to miss a class?
Do I have the ability to make my own schedule? Can I take classes, study, do projects and form a community after work, once the kids are asleep, et cetera?
Depending on what you’re looking for in a program, you might find that online works better for you. Or, possibly, you’re a diehard face-to-face-instruction person. To that end …
2. Decide Whether Online Or In Person Is Best For You
Whether you’re training for the early years or seasonal work, you need a program that meets your specific needs. One of the first questions to ask (and answer) is whether online or in person is best suited to your needs.
The benefits of an online program include:
Ability to study day or night
Ability to “take your classes with you,” to lunch breaks and kids’ swim lessons and anywhere else you have a spare second
Ease of creating an online community
A convenient portal where all your schoolwork is located
The benefits of an in-person program include:
Face time with professors
Greater ease of figuring out tough concepts that require in-person instruction
Ability to make friends and forge networking relationships
You’ve doubtless noticed that both lists have major selling points. Wondering if you can do both? The answer is yes. In fact, the hybrid online education degree is gaining in popularity all the time for this exact reason. If possible, choose such a program.
3. Figure Out An Organization System
Staying organized is key during any type of training. Texas state regulations state that any prospective educator needs 150 hours of coursework and training before beginning an internship. Each educator preparation program (EPP) should include 300 hours of coursework and training total.
That’s a lot of time to manage. If you want to ensure it’s less a slog and more A Time of Joyful Enlightenment, organization is key. Among the best tools to implement now are:
A reliable planning device that keeps all of your important tasks and dates in one place: That can mean a paper planner or an app. Just make sure you’re not keeping different info in different places, which is how accidents happen.
A record of your ongoing tasks and requirements: It’s easy to work hard up to that online teacher training deadline, only to realize you need three letters of recommendation, you have to prep for state certification tests and you never did manage to complete that big term project early, like you’d planned. This becomes even more important if you’re getting certified in a subject area, as with stem teacher certification online, where you need extra skills tests. Keep a master list in/near your planner and you’ll avoid this.
School supplies: Supplies aren’t just for kiddos. Make yourself a kit with highlighters, annotation stickies and extra writing implements. It’s surprising how much calmer this makes life.
4. Seek Out Support
Many people wonder, Is teacher training hard? And the answer is that it will be challenging no matter what, but much less so if you have the right people in your corner. Whether you’re studying for skills tests, wrestling tough pedagogical concepts or dealing with a particularly tough certification requirement, you’re going to need support. You can get it from:
Teachers and professors
Classroom mentor teachers
Advisors (look for ones with accessible office hours!)
… and the program as a whole. Make an effort to cement that support network early on and you’ll benefit from it all the way through.
5. Build Relationships
Related to the above point, you’re going to need relationships. All online teaching degrees offer networking to a certain extent, but some are much better than others. The best alternative teaching certification program Texas make this a cornerstone of their programs, however. If you choose a hybrid program that prioritizes learning, test preparation and relationships, you can’t help but succeed.
Foster your own success by:
Intentionally creating relationships of the kind described in Step 4 at every stage of the program
Cultivating support networks of other student teachers, who can become your colleagues through life, even if you don’t work at the same school
Looking for ways to build relationships at your student teaching placement, other than your mentor teacher (such as with administration, other teachers and support staff)
As you take these opportunities to build relationships, remind yourself that not only do you need to get a job, you’ll very likely need to get more than one in life. Perhaps you’ll move. Maybe you’ll want to become an administrator. Possibly you’ll go back to school in a decade for a PhD to teach the teachers. Whatever your dreams, solid relationships can help you achieve them now and later.
No matter how you organize your teacher training schedule, chances are if you’ve matched it to your skills and needs, you’ll do just fine. Now all you have to do is buckle up and just do it. You got this.
Micah is the Director of Curriculum & Technology. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in British Literature, from the University of North Texas and a Master of Arts in Teaching, from Louisiana College. In his previous career, Micah served for 14 years as a banker and bank manager. For the majority of this period, Micah managed the Downtown Fort Worth location of Frost Bank.
In 2005, Micah finally surrendered to his true calling to be an educator. After a brief, but fulfilling term teaching high school English at Flower Mound High School in Lewisville ISD, Micah went to work for the family business, training teachers.
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