Teaching the youngest of learners is both a rewarding and challenging experience. As they begin their educational journey, it’s important that you feel as prepared as possible to begin yours as well.
Finding the best early childhood teacher training programs in Texas can be a challenge in itself. With so many possibilities - online and in-person - it can be difficult to navigate your choices and land on one that is right for you that helps you fulfill your dream of working with children.
Here are a few tips to help you find the best teacher training program so that you can begin your journey of becoming an educator.
Don’t Get Pressured
Any major decision calls for research and reflection to determine if it is the right decision for you. The same goes when finding the best early elementary education training program.
Never rush into a decision before weighing your options. If the teacher preparation program tries to push you into applying right away, it might not be a good fit. Most importantly, the best preparation programs want to ensure you are entering a mutually beneficial relationship.
The last thing you want to hear is a “hard sell” that tries to grab you right on the spot. Instead, it’s important to find a program that wants to learn about your interests and goals, that will walk you through the process and will help you figure out which steps to take in order to reach that goal.
Look For An Individualized Approach
In addition to a “hard sell,” the other last thing you want is to feel like you are just a number. You’re about to embark on coursework, testing and in-person training in the classroom.
Your timeline may look different than another intern’s, and your path to certification may require a different set of exams than another intern.
The best teacher training programs assist with helping you in determining when you should take the exams and which exams to take, as well as what other qualifications you may need to meet in order to earn your teaching license.
The best programs also provide continuous support. The program you choose should be your partner in this journey…not a means to an end.
Seek Online And In-Person Training
There are many benefits to online training, primarily flexibility. Online programs allow people from all types of backgrounds to enroll and successfully complete the program, whether it’s those working full-time jobs and wanting to change careers, or stay-at-home moms, retirees or members of the military. That’s because online programs allow you to take courses around your schedule.
This flexibility is often why many choose an online program versus an in-person option. But keep in mind that fully online programs can have their disadvantages as well. For example, you’re more likely to miss out on personal and professional connections that are developed during training.
You also may not have instructors readily available to answer your questions and correspond with you, and you may miss out on opportunities to collaborate.
So what’s the best option? Often, it’s a combination of both online and in-person training … allowing you to take advantage of the best of both worlds. You still have the flexibility you need for your coursework, but you also have more opportunities to collaborate, network and experience hands-on learning.
Embrace A Program With A Full Circle Approach
Once you choose a program, you’ll have to undergo a series of training, testing and teaching. All three components are essential for success, but is it best to do one at a time or simultaneously?
A full circle approach, in which interns work on these components simultaneously, takes a comprehensive approach to learning and allows interns to complete a program more quickly.
The best way to think about it is by visualizing three teaching rings: training, testing and teaching. In one school year, a teaching intern will need to complete training hours, all appropriate exams and teaching experience. As the intern moves closer to completing each area, the ring begins to close.
But when all three are addressed simultaneously, all three rings can move closer to closing faster. This method also allows interns to take what they are learning in the classroom into the field, and vice versa.
Look For Reviews And Clues
Finally, like any major investment, it’s important to do your research and find out what experiences others have had with the program you are considering.
You can do this simply by reading online reviews of a program. However, keep in mind that you have more options available to you that can provide a more accurate assessment of what experience you may have with the program.
Even if you have a great first impression of the program, as yourself these questions:
Are training advisers promoted? A program that is proud of its training advisers actively promotes them and their credentials on the program’s website. Researching who you will be working with while in the program can also provide you with another area to consider when navigating your program choices.
Does the program respond to reviews? While reading reviews is a good way to see whether the information you receive before enrolling matches up with other intern’s experiences, another clue into the character of the program can come from the program itself in how it responds to those reviews.
Does the program have a well-known reputation? If the only information you are able to find about a program is on its website, that may be a clue that the quality of the program isn’t so great. The top teacher training programs in Texas have built relationships with school districts and are known for putting students ahead of the curve.
Look For Confidence Builders
Finding the right program can feel a bit overwhelming. However, the best programs won’t pressure you to make a decision and instead will offer a supportive atmosphere that provides individualized assistance. They’ll also offer flexible training with in-person collaborative opportunities, while ensuring a full circle approach allows you to complete a program in a reasonable timeframe.
Finally, they will respond to your questions and personalized needs, and give you the confidence to move forward with pursuing your dreams so that you can inspire dreams in the youngest learners.
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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7166 Baker Blvd., Suite B · Richland Hills, Texas 76118 Phone 817-284-7731 | Fax 817-284-3396