Should it be mandatory to get a teaching degree to teach?

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  1. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    Should it be mandatory have a teaching degree?

    I really hope I don't offend anyone with this post. The issue I am about to write about really bothers me. I live in NC. In NC they have something called Lateral Entry. That means someone with a bachelor's degree can take about 6 classes to become a teacher, even an EC Teacher. They can work towards their licensure while they are teaching kids. This offends me greatly. I work with a lot of people who chose to do this. They are lacking in the foundation of teaching. They may know their content knowledge, but they don't know all of the things you learn in order to be an effective teacher. I changed my major half way through college and ended up having to take 152 credits to graduate with a bachelor's degree. (I did it in 4 years too!) :rolleyes: I busted my butt in practicums, student teaching, etc. I felt invested in this career before I even started. Now I wonder, what I did all of that for when I could have just graduated with my original degree (social work) and still could have been a teacher. I have no back up plan like these people do. I can't tell you the number of times I have heard someone say, "I can still do xyz and make more money that this, so I'm not worried."

    It makes me feel like we are not professionals, like people feel like anyone can be a teacher. Think about it. If I decided to be a nurse, I would have to go back to school for nursing and do everything everyone else had to do to get that degree. I couldn't just walk into a hospital, take 6 classes, pass the license testing and be a nurse. It's a process and I hate that everyone doesn't go through it.

    This is my 7th year teaching, and it still bothers me.
    What do you think?
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    In my state, it's called alternate certification. My highly competitive district generally doesn't hire such teachers:sorry:. I'm sure there are plenty of candidates who go through this process who would be great teachers, but they are facing stiff competition from those who have gone traditional route, are based in the foundations of teaching, and who have experience teaching their content.
     
  4. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    With all of the news I've heard about North Carolina, I would have to say I would never NEVER be a teacher in NC. They treat their teachers like dirt in every way shape and form.
     
  5. Myrisophilist

    Myrisophilist Habitué

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    The main idea behind alternate routes to certification is to ease the arduous path (that all traditionally trained teachers take) for professionals in non-education fields to bring their unique expertise to the classroom. Whether or not that is how states treat it is another story.
     
  6. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I always got offended in college when people would talk about this. They would be majoring in some other subject and say something like, "Well, I actually want to be a teacher, but I don't want to waste my time in education classes so I'll just get the certification after graduation." You would think they wouldn't have much luck in the job market, but I think a lot of people thing that they have more "real life" experience or somehow have more content knowledge. In fact the only person I know who got a teaching job in my home state after graduation had an alternative license.
     
  7. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Ahem. I have a BA in history, and AA in English, and an AA in IT. I also have an Alternative Teaching certificate (now a "normal" certificate since I'm in my 5th year). It took me a solid year, including summers (2) worth of courses, PLUS one semester of student teaching (I wish I had had more, but it wasn't available) to receive my alternative certification. I also endured, umm, went through two years of mentoring and after school classes/meetings to receive my "regular" certificate.

    I am a PD junkie, and one of the best teachers at my school. That's not my opinion - our assistant P just told me that today, trying to convince me not to look elsewhere over the summer.

    I am sure that there are some programs that aren't worth the paper to print a certificate. The program that I went through, however, was quite rigorous. The teachers I know who went through it with me are excellent teachers. While it is true that a degree in education may have helped me, it is also true that many first year teachers, regardless of the road to certification, have no clue what it is like in an actual classroom (without a mentor teacher), and are basically "thrown to the wolves."
     
  8. Scribe

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    I'm of two minds with this, so forgive me if I'm rambling on here.

    On one hand, I can understand the necessity and benefit of opening up the profession to people with other qualifications. It creates a diverse workforce that will bring fresh ideas and skills to the table. Correct me if I'm wrong, but most education degrees will have the student teaching portion towards the end of the training. Makes sense because you're meant to be taking everything you've been taught and apply it in a real-world setting, right? I have known quite a few people who have gone through 3.5 years of college hell bent on becoming a teacher, done their student teaching and realize that they can't handle the classroom. Allowing this lateral placement seems to be a good way to test the waters.

    On the other hand, when it comes to teaching, nothing is performed in a sterile laboratory (except for chemistry, harhar). These are actual children who are depending on us for their education and if mess it up...what damage could that cause? Content knowledge does not a teacher make and going through all the child psych coursework, practicums, etc is such a vital part of learning how to convey knowledge.

    I don't really believe in my first point but I do like playing devil's advocate!
     
  9. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Oh, and no offense taken!
     
  10. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Since the economy tanked and the teacher shortage turned into a surplus, my county pretty much stopped hiring later entry teachers. It is not an official rule, but you would definitely have to have personal connections to be considered.
    10 years ago they didn't have enough bodies to fill positions, and it was easy to get a job as lateral entry.
     
  11. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    You are pretty much correct :(
     
  12. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    I think having the alternative certification route is great! Some teachers with experience outside of teaching, make great teachers.

    However, I think that all candidates should have the certification before teaching students. Taking 6 classes and teaching without a certification is not enough.

    Usually our alternative certifications involve getting a Master's or taking 30-60 credit hours, about the number of hours that a person getting a Bachelor's needs to take. They also need to student teach before getting a certificate.
     
  13. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    I grew up in NC with some lateral entry teachers, got my education degree in NC and taught in NC.

    In my opinion, I was not taught very much in school which lead me to become a better educator. I think that people cannot be taught to be good teachers. You either are or you aren't. The way you become a better teacher is by experience. I had awesome, AWESOME co-teachers during student teaching who helped me a million times more than any education professor I ever had. In fact most of my education classes I felt were a waste of time. The best stuff I learned in college was my content knowledge.

    So no, I don't think teachers should need to have education degrees. You can be a really bad teacher with a degree, or a really great teacher without one. An education degree is a moot point.
     
  14. 2ndTimeAround

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    I earned certification before I was hired. I was offered a job before student teaching and during student teaching. I chose to continue with my assignment because I thought it would make me a better teacher. I loved my mentor teacher and I did learn a lot from her. But I am honestly not sure that I made the right choice. Because of all the reforms that one decision has cost me thousands of dollars and might end up ruining lifelong opportunities. Solely due to timing - if I had started my career four months earlier I would be much better off now.

    But other than student teaching, my certification did not help me any. I did not learn anything worthwhile in my education classes. They did not prepare me for the classroom in any shape or form.
     
  15. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    My :2cents:. I think teachers could do a better job of teaching people to teach than universities. Don't get me wrong. I have a BS and MSed from the Univ. of Fla. and believe in their value. But I learned more during my internship about teaching and children than I did in four years of college. I think we would all be better served to identify (we all know them) the best teachers and have them mentor and teach future teachers.
     
  16. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    I find this as shocking as a doctor without a medical degree. the teaching profession is weakened when an easy path to credentials exist. I'd like to see the whole process strengthened.

    In Finland, anyone who wants to be a teacher gets a free masters degree-completely paid for by the government. As a result, so many people apply for the openings that they take only the top 10% of applicants.





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  17. Scribe

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    Perhaps what might work better is an internship/mentor type system where experience teachers take new ones under their wing? Less formalized, university training and more practical experience?
     
  18. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    I'm just curious for those who are adamantly opposed to alternative certification programs, what do you see is the difference between ed classes taken as part of a teaching degree and ed classes taken after a content area degree is earned? Other than TFA, I don't know of a single ACP that doesn't require extensive coursework and classroom experience in order to earn certification. I'm not saying they don't exist, but I personally don't know of any. Also, are those of you opposed to ACP's also opposed to California's certification system?
     
  19. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    I was beginning to wonder this as I read these responses. I actually wasn't aware that some have problems with California's method of certification until I read it on the internet a few months back.

    There is not really an Education major in California. I majored in Liberal Studies, which is the traditional elementary teacher major. It did include education classes, but was heavier on content classes. In my credential program, people had majored in biology, business, sociology, and others, in addition to the usual Child Development or Liberal Studies routes. Those who majored in other things did have to complete a certain amount of hours of classroom observation (can't remember, but I think it was at least 30) and a few prerequisite education classes prior to entering the program. The standard multiple subject credential program in California is 30 units, including two student teaching placements, a content knowledge test (3 subtests, technically), and a reading instruction test. We then have a 2 year induction program to go from having a preliminary to a clear credential.

    I actually had a 60 unit certification program because I completed my masters as well.

    What I don't like about California's system is that it is much more expensive than being qualified with a 4 year degree like many (most?) other states.

    What I do like is that it enables people who do not know they want to teach at 18 to become teachers. I was admittedly one of those that did know, but many of the members of my cohort did not, and they will be/already are excellent teachers. My mom is a second career teacher. She majored in something totally unrelated to education, but was able to go back and get a credential years later. She is now an excellent teacher, highly respected by her administration and colleagues. I really like that California has a system that allows those who decide they want to be a teacher any time after they graduate from college to do so in about a year. They still complete a program with education classes and student teaching.

    My education classes were definitely useful, but they were only part of what prepared me to be a teacher. Experience (work experience, student teaching) taught me a LOT. My masters courses were invaluable, as well.

    I don't agree with the fast TFA method of training teachers, but I don't think it's fair to state or imply that anyone who wasn't an education major isn't a good teacher. I know many fantastic teachers in my state, and not one of them was an education major, since that major basically does not exist!
     
  20. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    I also live in California. I had no clue until I started reading teaching forums that other states did not have the required post-baccalaureate degree that California requires in order to be credentialed. I also got a credential and a masters degree. I can understand the frustration with the 6 units thing going on in NC.
     
  21. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    I know the programs are different and they may have different amounts of units (TeacherGroupie would know better than I do!) But the basic formula of a credential program (usually a year or so) after a BA/BS still applies, I think.

    From what I've read on these boards, I don't really think California has "alternative certification" in the sense that other states have it. Everyone has to pretty much do the same amount of classes/training around here. :)
     
  22. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    I think the only difference is that people who got the undergraduate education degree do a few less courses in their credential.
     
  23. bros

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    There's nothing wrong with Alternate Route certs in my opinion.

    When I was in HS, the AP Physics teacher held a doctorate in Physics and apparently did a lot of research, earned a good bit of money off of what he did, then decided to "retire" to an easier life of teaching (I suppose controlling a classroom is easier than a bunch of molecules :p)
     
  24. MathTeacher29

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    I am a lateral entry teacher in NC. I had to take the same classes as a certified teacher, however I didn't do student teaching and was teaching already when I took those classes. As someone said in an earlier post I believe you are born with knowing how to teach.
    My school hires many lateral entry teachers and also traditionally certified teachers. Our lateral entry teachers are awesome. They come in with real world experience that they apply to their curriculum. They are team players and real care for their students. We have some new teachers right now who are traditionally certified who probably won't be hired back. They don't want to follow school rules and have no problem with giving anyone in a leadership role an attitude if they don't like something. I believe you either have a work ethic or you don't.
     
  25. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

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    I teach math. My degree and experience is in engineering. So I am taking an alternative path to my licensing. I have watched two traditonally trained teachers, both fresh out of college, really struggle in my school. One taught last year and was not invited back.

    IMO, there are three vital areas to success in this field - content knowledge, organization/planning and leadership. I think colleges and universities do well in educating young people in the first two and maybe not so much in the other (leadership). Unless one is naturally gifted, leadership is learned through experience and maturity and by hands on practice. It can be explained in the classroom but cannot be taught or replicated.

    I have been warmly received by my peers. I do understand the frustrations of more traditionally trained teachers. One thing - in our state, this "nontraditional" approach is available only in the fields of math, science and foreign languages as this is where the need exists. History, English, etc. teachers cannot take this career path.
     
  26. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Not at all (should it be mandatory), and the reason is that teaching credential (or advanced ed. degree) don't equate to being worthy of a teaching job. There are TOO MANY roadblocks in the way as it is. Seniority rules, credential requirements, certifications that one must have to teach (ELL, IEP, CELDT, ABC, XYZ). It doesn't take a piece of paper to tell whether a person is capable of doing a job or not.
     
  27. isabunny

    isabunny Comrade

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    I received my credential in California through a fifth year of study. My BA is in History, and my credential was earned through U of Redlands. I moved out of state, to the South, over five years ago and after hundreds of job applications, have only gotten two interviews for teaching. After reading this post I am wondering if not having my BS in Education is the reason. I am thinking about going back to get my second bachelors, but after all work receiving my CA Cred with all those TPAs and testing, it is hard to commit to doing it all again. However, it might be my only way of getting hired as a teacher. The market is so competitive and nobody will give me a chance. I am confident that if I get my foot in the door, I will be hired at some point. Any advice or thoughts?
     
  28. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    I guess what bothers me the most is that they are allowed to teach while getting the certification. You should have to get the certification FIRST. But, that's just my opinion.
     
  29. cheer

    cheer Comrade

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    Yup!
     
  30. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I agree. I just wasn't taught much as an undergrad (although my grad programs were much better). Strategies? Methods? Classroom management? No, no, and no. I think observation hours were pretty valuable, but otherwise I don't feel like I greatly benefited from my teaching program.

    I will still admit that it irked me when a friend graduated with a business degree and then earned his master's in education in a year. No student teaching required, of course. Guess I'm jealous.... :whistle:
     
  31. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    California's credential system is a ridiculous mess.

    No matter what your major, if you want to be a teacher in California, you must spend an additional 1 to 1 1/2 years in a very intense and expensive post-graduate program that does not lead to any sort of advanced degree other than a teaching credential. A master's degree is another two years after that.

    I mentioned intense and expensive. When I graduated with my BA, my student load debt was a mere $2700. Two years later, when I got my credential and started teaching, my student loan debt was over $12000. I was also two years older.

    The biggest problem is that they make it next to impossible to begin one's teaching credential while an undergraduate. There is no reason that a person majoring in history, math, or English should not be able to decide at the beginning of their junior year that they want to be a teacher and be qualified to enter a classroom the day they get their BA. They could take all their ed. classes as a junior, and do their student teaching in their senior year. Universities could easily accommodate this by allowing students in core academic majors to substitute credential coursework and student teaching for general education classes and electives.
     
  32. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    I vigorously disagree with the proposition that good teachers are born, not made. I'm not even sure that *great* teachers are born, not made; in fact, the notion that one becomes a better teacher by experience flatly contradicts the "you are or you aren't" notion.

    Whether education majors or credential programs are the best or only way to learn to teach is, of course, another matter.
     
  33. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Sarge, I discovered just yesterday that UC San Diego allows an undergraduate Education Studies major that seems to be intended to offer most of the credential coursework alongside whatever one is actually majoring in.

    I'm in favor of California's requirement that one major in something other than education before commencing a credential program, but then I'm hopelessly biased in favor of teachers having both a broad and deep knowledge of subject matter in some area (and, frankly, education programs are generally not about imparting breadth and depth of knowledge).
     
  34. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Not having your BS-Ed has nothing to do with it. Don't believe the hype. People on this forum will post about how they got hired, and others will give you the rah-rah about "There is a job for you!" stuff (and it is true), but the bottom line is that it is a numbers game... And in the state of CA, those #'s that you are competing against (i.e. other prospective teachers) grow every year. And the jobs that you compete for, are slowly diminishing. My (honest) advice to you would be, if you have another passion, go for THAT. My problem is that I haven't come up with that other passion yet, so I foolishly stick around. Because it's only going to get worse.
     
  35. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I think it's much like someone skilled in art. I'm not an "artist", but I have some talent that I've displayed since a very young age. Practice and experience allowed me to grow and become a better artist.

    I think some people are naturally better at communicating ideas, developing creative ways to allow people to learn, displaying patience, interacting with young people, and so forth...and with experience they simply become better.

    I think people who aren't "naturally" good teachers face additional issues and stress.
     
  36. Geologygirl

    Geologygirl Comrade

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    California does have alternative credential programs in addition to the normal ones. I think students must take 6 units before going into the classroom and then they take a bunch of classes while teaching. I considered this when I first graduated from college but found out that you had to find your own job and most districts did not want to hire alternative ed student teachers.

    I has no idea that other parts of the country would look down on a Cali teaching credential because we do our education course work after our degree. Does this also apply to secondary education? My fi and I are looking to jump ship and leave cali once my cred. program ends, and it be good to know if this will cause problems. I would think having a subject matter degree would help when teaching specific content classes in secondary ed, but I may be wrong.

    My credential program is 30 units I think and includes over 81 hours of observation. We do one semester of student teaching for 4 or 5 periods a day with two different content areas. The classes are all considered graduate classes and I have found them helpful and engageing. We have been told that in Cali you can not teach if you have only a undergraduate education degree because some politician noted that education majors got the lowest scores on some test (GRE maybe?) and they did not want the lowest scoring students teaching the students of California. The reasoning seemed kind of odd and vauge.

    My question is are Cali teaching credentials really less rigorous then other state's credential programs? I have been told on campus that Cali is one of the hardest states to get a credential in because of all the hoops we have to jump through and so I had assumed it was rigorus.
     
  37. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    NO, I don't believe CA is less rigorous at all!! It's often more difficult for those coming into California because many don't have EL authorization, for one thing. I know many years ago my mom taught with someone from the east coast (Virginia, maybe? But don't quote me on that) who had to complete a lot of requirements to teach in CA. CA has a pretty stringent set of requirements.
     
  38. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    They have a lot of dual master/credential programs now. I went through one of those. It was a 60 unit program and took 16 months. It was a FANTASTIC program.

    But the expense....yes. I'll be paying for that program for many years to come. :unsure:
     
  39. Geologygirl

    Geologygirl Comrade

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    Sorry I just realized it was over 100 hours because one class I think wanted 45 hours of observation.
     
  40. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    I think some people are born to be teachers. Teaching is part actor, part leader, part Solomon, part counselor and part having a lot of knowledge (well read or life experience). I think teaching can be an art but the hardest part is inspiring youngsters when they have other things on their mind. Now throw in the nonsense of mountains of paper and non teachers making asinine policy and you have a clstr****
     
  41. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    In general I think it's best if teachers have completed a teaching program at a university. I don't necessarily think that teachers need an Ed degree per se; in fact I think that secondary teachers should have a degree in the content they wish to teach.

    Having said that, I'm not opposed to alt programs. I think that it's better when new teachers have already gone through a teacher prep program before they enter the classroom. Some alt programs do it this way, and others do not. Some alt programs have people in the classrooms on Day 1, before any real preparation aside from a two-week crash course in the basics. I think that's a mistake.

    I absolutely believe that good/great teachers can be made. A lot goes into teaching. It's more than just a solid knowledge of content and an ability to connect with kids. It requires a lot of flexibility, an ability to maneuver politics and bureaucracy, and the drive to keep going even when you feel like you can't keep going. Some of those are personality traits and intuition, but others are learned skills.

    I think that there are some serious benefits to going through a traditional teacher prep program, like not having to reinvent the proverbial wheel as a first-year teacher. A good teacher prep program will prepare new teachers, at least theoretically, for using differentiated instruction, making material comprehensible for all learners, building background, accessing prior knowledge, and incorporating higher level thinking. A new teacher who hasn't gone through any sort of teacher prep might not know that those practices even exist, much less how to use them in the classroom, and it might result in a few years where students don't get the best possible instruction.
     
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