Every teacher takes on professional responsibility for the education of others. Teachers are trained and equipped with skills to foster education and development in students of all ages. To become a classroom teacher in America, you need a bachelor degree and relevant certifications. Here’s an outline of the traditional path future educators can follow.
The academic entry level into the teaching profession is a bachelor degree. This makes you eligible to be employed as a teacher from the kindergarten level to 12th grade. Those who teach preschool kids require a lower level of education; a 2-year degree in Early Childhood Education is adequate. The specific education requirements depend on state regulations, the school subject, student grade, and years of experience (for example, a faith-related bachelor degree from a Christian college may help you teach religious studies in private schools). Online study options are available, allowing you to choose from the best online education programs from across the country.
Teacher Education Programs
Once you have completed a bachelor degree with classes geared towards education, the next step is to complete a teacher education program (if it wasn’t incorporated into the bachelor course). A teaching program provides the opportunity for you to gain necessary skills and fine-tune what you’ve already learned. Programs usually last between 8 and 12 weeks, often divided into 2 sessions in different schools. You practice preparing lesson plans, network, observe classroom mentors, and instruct students.
Before getting a position at a public school, a new teacher must satisfy state requirements and get teaching credentials. Even though requirements vary from state to state, the basics are a bachelor degree suitable for being an educator and completing a teacher education program. Some states require teachers to pass tests like the Praxis Exam before acquiring a teaching license.
The specific licenses include early childhood education, elementary education, middle school, secondary school, and specialized teaching. Many states require hands-on experience under a supervisor before giving the specific license.
Gaining Employment as a Teacher
Teachers can apply for openings in the state of their certification based on their training, subject background, level of expertise, experience, and specialty training. Most teachers gain employment in a traditional classroom environment in a private or public school. You can build networks within the profession to make it easier to gain new employment and find professional development opportunities. Every teaching environment is unique and, as a new teacher, all kinds of interesting experiences await you. Teachers have skills that can be applied beyond the classroom, such as in corporate training, and good communicators can always consider making a career transition into teaching.
How to Succeed in College Studies (Compared to High School)
As you transition from high school to college, there will be many changes in your life that can impact your academic performance. Moreover, the college experience is far less structured than what you are accustomed to in high school. Therefore, you will need to make some changes to succeed at the highest level in college.
Get Organized From the First Day
Many students who find high school relatively easy are surprised to discover that college level coursework is much more demanding. Unfortunately, they sometimes learn too late that if you fall behind in a college course, it is much harder to catch up and do well than in a high school course. Here are a few tips on how to stay organized.
On the first day of each college course, be sure to carefully read over the class syllabus. This will give you a good idea of the material you’ll be covering, when the exams will be given, and when the assignments will be due. After each class, find your favorite “go to spot” where you can read over your notes and make clarifications where needed. You’ll want to do this when the material is still very fresh in your mind. If you wait, you may not understand what you wrote or what you meant to say, an all too common dilemma. Reviewing your notes (and any materials the professor handed out) immediately will help you retain the information better for test time too.
Go the Extra Mile
All college classes will provide a list of REQUIRED books and materials you’ll need for the course. However, you should view this as the MINIMUM resources needed to pass the class. Most professors will give you “suggested” reading material and or recommend other resources. Actually reading or reviewing these extra resources will give you the opportunity to excel in the course, not simply pass it.
For example, a professor may suggest you take a look at a particular website or a specific book at the library for additional information. She may suggest you visit one of the museums on campus or in town and go by a particular exhibit. While these suggestions are indeed optional, you should take advantage of these extra opportunities as much as possible to enhance your learning. If you do so, you will have far more success in college.
Join or Form a Study Group
Study groups are a good way to compare notes so you become more clear on the material. Also, explaining something to another student is a great way to reinforce the material in your own mind!
You may want to delay joining or forming a study group until you get a better sense of the other students in the class. For a study group to be effective, you want to associate yourself with students who are motivated to do well. For online education, study groups are seen as essential to make the learning experience interactive.
Take Advantage of Office Hours
Unlike high school teachers, college professors are required to hold “office hours.” This is a specified time that professors make themselves available to their students. Office hours are a great time for you to have one on one time with your professor. In addition to asking for help with the course, this can come in handy when it’s time to ask for recommendations. Keep in mind too that most college courses have teaching assistants (T.A.s) that also hold office hours so take advantage of this opportunity as well.
During office hours, you can ask questions on portions of the lectures you didn’t quite understand (never be afraid to ask questions!). You can also go over certain topics in greater depth so you understand the material better. This can be as simple as asking your professor, “I found what you said about XYZ really interesting… can you tell more more about that?” If appropriate, you could ask your professor to draw a diagram to help visualize a complicated topic or take one you’ve drawn to her and ask if you got it right.
Manage Your New Found Freedom
Your freshman year of college can be an exciting time. Usually, you’re off on your own for the first time in your life. You don’t have a curfew. You don’t have parents, teachers, principals, and guidance counsellors hovering over you every day, even every hour, making sure you do your assignments and don’t goof off too much. There are also temptations to stray away from your studies everywhere you turn. Your friends will encourage you to go with them to parties and activities off campus. Nearby bars will be all too happy to take your money. In fact, they’ll be competing for your attention will all sorts of fun activities.
First, you’ll want to be a well rounded individual in college so get involved in social activities and make new friends. However, make sure this does not interfere with your ability to succeed in college. The best way around this is to set some rules for yourself. For example, you could set a rule to never drink except on certain nights of the week. You could also take a pledge to yourself that you will study a certain number of hours per day (or week) before you allow yourself to go out and have fun. This works best if you can find at least one friend, preferably more, who will take such a pledge with you.