Alternative Certification Programs

Discussion in 'General Education' started by CosmicMoe, Jul 7, 2014.

  1. CosmicMoe

    CosmicMoe Rookie

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    I have entered an Alternative Certification Program. While there is a 3 week training period to prepare us for the classroom, I just don't feel that is enough time to actually have the knowledge to teach. Am I wrong in thinking that these type of program really don't train you to be a real teacher in the classroom?
     
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  3. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    You are not wrong. You won't be prepared at all. I hope you at least know the content that you'll be teaching.
     
  4. Myrisophilist

    Myrisophilist Habitué

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    I went through a traditional 4-year teaching program and I still found that most of my education happened in the classroom. Are you student teaching? It's a great intro to the field while still being "protected" and under the guidance of your mentor teacher. These forums are quite supportive and we'll help you along the way. :)
     
  5. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    If you haven't already, read "The First Days of School" by Harry Wong. While it's certainly not an end all book on teaching, it should provide enough practical information on teaching and classroom management that you feel more prepared.

    Good luck. Like another poster said, I feel that my most useful information has come from experience in schools and books that weren't included in my college courses.
     
  6. PinkCupcake

    PinkCupcake Cohort

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    You're not wrong. 3 weeks is not nearly enough time to prepare anyone to teach in a classroom. As your students are learning and growing each year, so will you as a teacher. As a previous poster mentioned, if you can student teach don't pass up the opportunity.
     
  7. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

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    The only way you will be prepared to teach is do it.
     
  8. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    You have a rough year ahead. Hopefully, you won't be in a testing grade. Low test scores could affect your probationary contract.

    No. You won't be prepared, but with a great mentor, you can keep your head above water most of the time.
     
  9. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

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    I went through an alternative path similar to what you describe. Although short, it was rather rigorous. The first year really stretched me at times. I put in untold hours in lesson planning. it is a very steep earning curve as you have to learn how to adapt, adjust, think on your feet, figuring out your classroom management style, etc. As others have said, these skills cannot be learned other than by doing.

    In comparison, I have witnessed two young teachers in my department who were both hired fresh out of a pretty well thought of college. One was not brought back for her second year. Her replacement has struggled as well. For whatever reason, the students really seem to test the younger teachers a lot more than they did me. I think age, maturity and other skills learned along the way (leadership for example) trump formal classroom education by far.

    (Disclaimer: I am not discounting the value of an education degree here, just reiterating that you cannot be adequately prepared to teach by being a student. Just as a doctor cannot truly become a physician until he gets experience with actual patients).
     
  10. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    What will you be teaching?
     
  11. CosmicMoe

    CosmicMoe Rookie

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    Haven't determined exactly what grade but I would prefer it to be elementary, and pre-k through kindergarten.
     
  12. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    No teacher is fully prepared for their first year. I had a MS and a HS student teaching assignment and nothing could have prepared me for teaching in Baltimore City.

    Good luck, OP. You got this. :thumb:
     
  13. CosmicMoe

    CosmicMoe Rookie

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    I have an additional question. I've studying for Generalist EC-6 Texas exam and I'm struggling with the math section. Is there any advice you can give me regarding elementary level math books that I can study? Should I take some math classes?
     
  14. CosmicMoe

    CosmicMoe Rookie

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    I have an additional question. I've studying for Generalist EC-6 Texas exam and I'm struggling with the math section. Is there any advice you can give me regarding elementary level math books that I can study? Should I take some math classes?
     
  15. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Hm. How far did you get in math in school, CosmicMoe?
     
  16. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    http://www.powells.com/biblio/9780822020332

    I used Cliffs Math Review for Standardized Tests for my general content test. I love this book. It takes you through a review of how to do all types of math problems in a systematic process. The book re-teaches how to do the problems in easy to understand steps. I went through the book from cover to cover. (And, 30 years after taking my last math class in high school, I passed the math section on my first try.)
     
  17. CosmicMoe

    CosmicMoe Rookie

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    It's been so long that I can't remember. I think it was either algebra or geometry.
     
  18. FaithDriven

    FaithDriven Rookie

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    Hey Cosmic,

    I'm not sure which ACP you are going through but it sounds similar to what a friend of mine is doing. I did a different one online and they had some study aids on their website to help prepare for the tests. I took the EC-6 exam and did not think the math was too bad. Good luck! :)
     
  19. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Algebra or geometry should be plenty for a generalist elementary exam. Special-t has suggested a good resource, though it's by no means the only one of its type. You could also check out the videos on Khan Academy or the explanations on Math is Fun, http://www.mathsisfun.com/.
     
  20. mazzystar

    mazzystar Rookie

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    I just finished my first year teaching after going through an ACP. I feel the best training happens while you are in the classroom. I learned so much this past year that will help me in the upcoming school year.

    That being said, some advice. 1. Have a good mentor. If the mentor that was given to you doesn't work out, for any reason, try to get another. What would have been helpful during my first year was a mentor who remembers what it's like to be new and can then offer advice that wouldn't come in a book. After realizing that my current mentor, while nice, wasn't what I needed, our department chair, became my mentor.
     
  21. CosmicMoe

    CosmicMoe Rookie

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    My ACP is TexasTeachers.org.
     
  22. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Check your district's mentor program. Hopefully, there is a strong one in place.
     
  23. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Cosmic, I've seen teachers who have graduated from "prestigious" teacher programs fall flat on their faces year one, and I've seen teachers from alt. cert programs take to teaching like a fish to water. There's no one path, and there's no guarantee. If you have a strong team and a good administration, AND you are willing to ask for help and take advice, you'll be fine.
     
  24. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I don't think this is fair. Why should another teacher take on the responsibility of teaching a staff member how to teach, while he/she is working in his/her own classroom? Mentors aren't there to provide mentees with step-by-step instructions simply because the mentee chose not to pay for and attend traditional training. A mentor should be a safety net, more for explaining how a particular school does things (who to ask for additional supplies, who to call when a kid vomits in the room) than the nuts and bolts of education.

    If you want to bypass the time and expense it takes to get regular certification, learn it on your own.

    I am extremely helpful to those that are new to teaching/my school. But I draw the line at TFA and like programs. These program demean what it takes to become an effective teacher and are a detriment to the profession. There is no way I am going to make things easier for a TFA teacher just so the powers that be can come back and say "See, our program DOES work!" when in essence it doesn't. It is just relying on the generosity of those teachers that did it the "right" way.
     
  25. CosmicMoe

    CosmicMoe Rookie

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    2ndTimeAround:

    I completely understand your perspective, however, I don't have financial resources to take the traditional route. An ACP is the only alternative that I have right now because I have a family support.
     
  26. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Agreed with 2ndTimeAround. I'll help a new teacher as much as I can, but I don't have the time or willingness to take another professional by the hand.
     
  27. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    My suggestion to you then is to seek employment elsewhere, save money and try the traditional route later.

    Adding... you might want to consider how likely it is that you get hired with such a credential. You would not get hired in my district or any of the neighboring districts. Too much competition from teachers that have the education and experience you will not. You might only get opportunities to work in charters and/or less desirable locations.
     

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