You’re making a significant investment in your future with the time you will spend training to become a teacher.
So, you want to make sure that you are getting the most effective teacher training possible. After all, the curriculum you learn, the method by which you learn it and the support you receive over the next year will impact the rest of your teaching career.
Although teacher training curriculum is similar across several educator preparation programs (EPPs) in Texas, how that curriculum is delivered can vary. In other words, not all programs are created equal.
It’s important to do your homework to ensure that the program you are considering is the best fit for you. Here’s what you should be looking for.
All State Requirements Are Met By The Program
Though educator preparation programs differ in a lot of ways, the state of Texas requires that the programs include at their core:
An application process
A training program
Field support to help you on your path to certification
You must complete 300 hours of training no matter which alternative teacher certification program you choose. These 300 hours are designed to prepare you for working in the classroom, as well as to fine tune your skills once you are in the classroom.
While all programs must meet the above requirements, that’s where similarities end and where your true homework begins.
Some alternative teacher certification programs offer only online classes. And while this is a convenient feature for many, there are a few important thoughts to keep in mind.
Online-only environments offer a flexible schedule, a comfortable learning environment, a wider range of available courses and opportunities to improve your technical skills.
However, when you are in an online-only learning program, you miss out on important opportunities to network and develop professional connections. It also may be more difficult to get your questions answered quickly in real time, and you’ll likely miss out on valuable training opportunities that simulate what it is like in the classroom.
If it is important to you to still have the benefits that online programs offer, the best way to get effective teacher training is to look for a program that provides both online and in-person coursework.
In-Field Advisor Training Is Prioritized
In-field advisor is mandated by the state of Texas. However, how that training is delivered varies based on the provider.
It is critical to have an experienced educator watching your back and guiding you through your first year as a teacher. This is an important component central to getting the most effective teacher training.
Look for a program with in-field advisors that are accessible to you throughout the school year, make periodic classroom visits to observe your teaching and offer constructive feedback.
Make sure you also choose a program that is proud of its in-field advisor training program. A sure-fire way to detect this is if the certification program features its advisors on its website.
Why is this important? Having a support system in place throughout your entire journey is essential to ensuring you don’t get deterred from your ultimate goal.
Not all programs have delivered sufficient support, so it is important to speak to others who have been through the process to find out what their experience has been.
Test Preparation Is Part Of The Program
You already have enough on your plate. Finding additional resources to help you with test preparation shouldn’t be one of them.
The most effective teacher training programs will offer preparation for content exams and the PPR(Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities) as part of their curriculum…and not as costly add-ons.
This training component should include everything you need to pass these important exams, such as practice tests resources, best practices advice and test-taking techniques.
Continuous Support Is Offered
Your training journey may feel long and frustrating at times. You’re not alone, and you won’t be alone. The best teacher certification programs will make sure you have the support you need to be successful.
Whether it’s having an advisor by your side, ensuring your questions answered right away or receiving support from the beginning all the way to the end when you take your PPR, the best programs offer continuous support.
Effective teacher training is often more than just about the program components…it’s about how those elements are delivered and the support you receive along the way.
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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