The American way

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Gien, Dec 30, 2009.

  1. Gien

    Gien Rookie

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    After reading a few threads on the board here I was wondering about the American way of becoming a teacher.

    As I understand it now: you get a bachelor or master with an educational minor and then take like five tests or something? It sounds very time consuming. Or didn't I get it right?

    Here (in the Netherlands) you can go about it three ways: either you decide from the beginning that you want to be a teacher and study for that for four years. You have then a BA and are certificated to teach the first three years of high school (12 yrs. up to 15 yrs. I have no idea what the American equivalent is, since the system is quite different). Or you can get a master's degree in a certain subject and then go for an additional educational master. Or you can sidetrack from business life, in which case you have to pass educational courses (depending on your diploma's and such). And then of course there are also quite a few uncertified teacher, due to teachers shortage.

    So how does that work in the US?
    I'm just curious ^_^
     
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  3. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    There isn't just one way in the US, Gien. Many states have tracks more or less like the ones you describe, though it's typical to distinguish between elementary education (approximate ages 5 to 11 or 12) and secondary education (ages 12 and up); some states may also give distinct licenses for early childhood education (ages 3 or 4 to age 7 or 8) and middle school (age 11 or so to age 14 or 15) vs. high school (age 14 and up). But not every state offers an undergraduate education major; in such a state, the teaching license is obtained in a post-BA program.

    As to the tests, most states require a basic-skills test or other evidence that the teacher has basic skills in reading and writing and basic math, plus a subject-matter exam (or, for secondary licenses, a certain amount of coursework in the subject matter), and for elementary licenses there may also be a test of reading instruction methodology. Many states use the Praxis exams, which don't differ much from state to state, but many other states use exams that are customized to state educational content standards.

    Interesting that there's a shortage of teachers in the Netherlands...
     
  4. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    In the US, the path to becoming a teacher is different in every single state. Here in California, you need to get a bachelors degree, then take an extra year of classes, then student teach, and then you have a preliminary teaching credential. You also have to take several tests along the way (I had to take 4 - the CBSET, CSET, RICA, and a constitution test). You then have to take additional classes or go through an induction program within 5 years to get a permanent credential.

    Other states have other testing requirements. Some let you get a bachelors and a teaching credential at the same time. Some make you get a masters degree. There are different requirements for high school and elementary school teachers. There are also alternative certification programs for people who have other careers first.

    In summary, there's not really one American way to become a teacher!
     
  5. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    We have traditional education programs where one gets a B.S. in elementary or secondary ed. If you want to make more money and specialize you get your Masters. We have many teachers who are non-traditional, they might have a degree in business or accounting. They go through a non-tradional program which takes a year or two of going to classes on Saturdays.
     
  6. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Actually, there isn't an "American Way" per se. Each state sets its own rules. There are; however, some commonalities.

    In most states, you can major in education. You complete the requirements of whatever degree program you're enrolled in and when you're finished you're issued a professional certificate. Depending on the state, that certificate could be temporary, contingent upon completing certain additional requirements that can include classroom time and professional development courses. In addition, some states require that you earn a master's degree within a certain number of years or risk loosing your credentials.

    The "typical" ed major requires that candidates complete a certain number of courses both in teaching methods and in a chosen specialty, in addition to the general ed core required by the state. Most programs require that the canditate take and pass all the licensing tests before they'll grant a degree.

    In some states; however, there is no education major. Students are required to major in their content area, then complete additional educational requirements including methods classes, student teaching and passing credentialing exams.

    The exams required also vary by state, but most include a basic skills test, a subject area test and a professional, or methods test.

    For those people who are career changers, most states offer alternative certification programs. These programs are designed for people who have a degree in something besides teaching. They require candidates to complete education courses, student teaching and, of course, pass the licensure tests before a professional certificat can be issued. Some of these programs also allow the candidate to work in the classroom before a full license is issued.

    Did I forget anything? Forgive me if my information is not all that accurate for the traditional degree programs. My own certification is through an Alt. Cert. program, so I'm not as familiar with the traditional programs as most teachers.
     
  7. wrice

    wrice Habitué

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    In Texas, Bachelors degree in ed, or in content area plus ed classes. Pass a test for content and a test for pedagogy.

    Alternative certification available in many districts: bachelors degree, provisionally hired to teach, go to evening certification classes throughout the year, and after that year, take tests and earn certification.

    Private and charter schools are free to make their own requirements or lack of requirements.

    What happens in Netherlands if a teacher is hired uncertified? In TX the school has to notify the parents and the provisional certificate must be renewed each year, with the intention the teacher becomes certified within that year.
     
  8. futureteach21

    futureteach21 Habitué

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    My state is one where you can't major in education. My major is interdisciplinary studies. I take a variety of classes in all subject areas and teacher-education classes and will graduate within four years.
     
  9. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    I'm following the alternative licensing program in my state. I have a 4 yr degree in Finance and Marketing and decided to pursue a career in teaching a couple of years ago (after considering it for several years).

    In NC, elementary teachers are required to take additional content courses and high school teachers must have a degree in their content area as well as education. Middle school was the easiest approach for me, since it only required education and method classes along with a very few content courses. Given my background in finance, I only needed 7 academic classes to complete my licensure requirements. I also normally would have to do two internships - one part-time and one full-time, but I worked as a substitute teacher last year and my advisor accepted that classroom experience for my part-time internship requirement. I just finished my full-time internship.

    I thought I would also be required to take a certification test, the Praxis II in this case, but I was told by my advisor that is not necessary for my chosen content area (math). The alternative licensure program is designed to meet the state standards. Once I finish all my required classes, I will meet the requirements for licensure in middle school math. After becoming licensed in one subject, I can THEN take the Praxis II in other subject areas to become certified in those as well.

    Out of the 7 academic classes, I only took 1 in a classroom setting. All others have been done online, so I've been able to work and still meet my education requirements from home. :thumb:
     
  10. Samothrace

    Samothrace Cohort

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    and some people are able to teach age PK (age 4) to grade 12 (age 18)....like me! :D
     
  11. Gien

    Gien Rookie

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    Wow, haha, that's a lot of information. To be honest, it all sounds pretty complicated to me. But then again, I suppose European methods sound complicated (or just wrong ;)) to you. I wonder that if I ever get to teach for a while in the US I have to do those tests as well. That should be fun, lol, I suck at math ;)

    For elementary school, teachers do have to take a test that covers several fields, since they have to teach more subjects. I'm glad I didn't have to take any math or other (science related) test, since I'm really not very good at it.
    As for the uncertified teachers here, as of yet no mentioning to parents is necessary, nor do teachers have to get licenses withing a certain period, but I believe there are plans to change this. What I've heard is that schools will be judged by the number of (un)certified teachers, so that their scores will be affected. I guess the governments hopes to fix the number of uncertified teachers this way, but I doubt it will help, since the shortage of teachers will increase (baby-boomers will retire soon and the job is not the most attractive one around here).

    Thanks for all your thorough replies. That's really great!
     
  12. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    You could pass a basic skills test here, I promise. I am HORRID at math, like I-Went-To-Art-School-To-Avoid-Real-College-Math horrid, and I still managed to get by in Illinois. The questions were heavy on basic algebra and geometry.
     
  13. Missy99

    Missy99 Connoisseur

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    I majored in something totally different in college, and became a teacher later in life, through alternative certification. That took less than a year.
     
  14. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    Here in Canada, you get a BA or BSc (any other bachelors degree would do, although those are the most common), then you get your BEd (Bachelor of Education) after that. Some schools offer both degrees at the same time, while others require you to finish your Bachelor degree before starting your BEd.

    The actual certification is done by provinces, so it differs, but here, since I took my degrees in New Brunswick, I only had to submit my transcript and some money to process my certification. No big tests or anything, beyond those that I took in University.
     
  15. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    I think all of the ways you mentioned are paths to becoming a teacher. I got my undergraduate degree in English and then went on and got a Masters in education. There was one teacher test back then and a huge observation and unit to turn in independent of the degree. It was to be turned in within the first three years of teaching--called "performance-based" certification. That certification requirement lasted about three years before the state government decided to not use it. It was very rigorous. But I've enjoyed the status of having passed it!
     
  16. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Just to clarify, many times Pre-K degrees start at birth. My degree is PK-6th grade, so I can teach birth-6th. :)
     
  17. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    The Uk has many possible routes into teaching. If you wish to teach Primary (ages 4 to 11) then most teachers go to a Teacher training establishment (usually attached to a University) and do a BEd in education. This normally takes 4 years, once qualified they get a job in a school. Teachers who wish to teach Secondary (ages 11 to 18) would normally gain a degree in a chosen subject (mine is in Chemistry) and then afterwards take a 1 year Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) and then get a job in a school. PGCE is open to all graduates and may , like myself, go into teaching from a job in the 'real world'! Another route is through the Graduate Training programme (GTP). A Graduate applies directly to a school who take them on as a trainee. Then they undergo a school based training course over 2 years including some University time to become a qualified teacher. Because of teacher shortages some authorities run programmes such as 'Teach First' where new graduates are given a 6 week crash course then let loose in the classroom in schools that find it hard to recruit staff. In the hope that they will decide to become teachers full time!
    However a survey published this week shows that there are just over 1 million qualified school teachers in the UK of working age but only 520,000 are actually working in schools. The drop out rate of new teachers is about 60% in the first 3 years after qualifying due to the stress of the Job. The Government Health and safety dept has just released data that says Teaching is the most stressful job in the UK! Mostly due to Government interference and pupil indiscipline.

    Of course you could choose to work in a private fee paying school where there ae no requirments to have any qualifications whatsoever either in education or in a specific subject. Most teachers in private schools do have qualifications but quite a lot would not be able to get employment in State (public) schools in the UK.
     
  18. futureiowateach

    futureiowateach Rookie

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    Time for Iowa: lol
    For the Elementary level you earn a BA or BS in Elementary Education, you can add endorsements by taking extra classes or at some colleges they are built in. What you are actually allowed to teach can vary greatly depending on the college you attend for your BA... The one that I attend you earn a K-6 Elementary Education degree(general classroom), and a K-8 Reading Endorsement, and only need 2-3 more classes to get your K-12 Special Education endorsement and just a few more for your ELL. To get into the teacher ed program you take the Praxis I (basic skills) and to graduate and get your teaching license you take the Praxis II (either in pedagogy or content area). You also have fields (internships) throughout the 4 years and then student teach for a semester.
    For the Secondary level (like myself) you take all of the classes for the major, I am a History and Gov't major so I take around 30hours in each area, in addition to the education content, I also have to do multiple fields and I will be endorsed in 7-12 History and Gov't (and short only 6 credits for a Pysch endorsement), I will also by taking extra courses have a K-12 endorsement in Special Education. The Praxis I was required to get into the program, but I am not required to take a test to graduate and get a license.

    I think at least in Iowa, that the requirements that each person meets will vary depending on the College or University that they attend while still meeting the requirements of the State.
    I'm not sure about alternate routes, I think on a large part they are frowned upon in the state, although you can sub as long as you have a BA in any subject and take a class.

    Confusing, I agree.
     
  19. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Aren't you glad you asked, Gien??

    :)
     
  20. Gien

    Gien Rookie

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    Haha, I'm very glad I asked. I think it's very interesting to learn these things, since I'm a USA geek ;) I would love to know all about it.
    Is there a good website that explains all the grades and stuff? Because that's rather difficult for me as well. There are grade such through such and K-somethings and elementary, middle, and high school, right? How does that work? Or is this a Wikipedia question? ;)
    Also, - futureiowateach - how many hours do you put into your studies then? Because it sounds like you're quite busy with lots of courses, additional courses, tests and interning. Or am I reading it wrong? Anyone else who wants to share this? (I get the feeling I'm getting off easy, though I find it lots of work even so (I'm also in my last semester and graduating this year).)

    And a very Happy New Year to you all! May 2010 teach us all new and wonderful things :thumb:
     
  21. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    The grade levels sort of correspond to ages, Gien.

    Kindergarteners are, by and large, five years old: in general, the child's fifth birthday has to come before Sept. 1, though in some areas the cutoff is later in the year... and parents can choose to hold their child out one year, so some kindergartners will be six years old. It follows that preschoolers will be generally younger than five, of course.

    Then first graders (first grade used to be the first year of school) are theoretically six years old, second graders seven years old, and so on up through twelfth grade, which is typically the last year of high school, and most students will be 18 years old when they graduate.

    Nearly all state-supported schools that I know of, and most private schools as well, use the same grade designations. How the grades are divided up among schools is quite another matter. Where I grew up, it was like this:

    Elementary school: grades K through 6
    Junior high school: grades 7 through 9
    High school: grades 10 through 12

    Much more common now, I think, is this model with middle school:

    Elementary school: grades K-5
    Middle school: grades 6 through 8, and often sixth graders have a "school within a school" to themselves
    High school: grades 9 through 12

    Variations are possible: I think I've heard of middle schools starting with fifth grade, though that doesn't seem to be common.

    One also sees the "grammar school" model, more often either in smaller communities or with church-run private school systems:

    Elementary: grades K through 8
    High school: grades 9 through 12
     
  22. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    I also just looked at a school district that has separate schools for K-2, 3-5, 6-8, AND 9-12. I thought that was interesting!
     
  23. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    I think the most common is k-5, 6-8 and 9-12, but there's all sorts of other, almost as common set ups.
     
  24. futureiowateach

    futureiowateach Rookie

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    My college requires around 30 credit hours in each content area that you want to teach in, so I have 30 credit hours in American History and 30 credit hours in Government, and in addition I take around 30 hours in methods and actual teacher prep in addition to fields (I have a 50 hour field this Spring). But, like I said each College is a little different, my friend goes to another College and she takes around 60-90 credit hours in "Social Sciences" and gets a all social studies endorsement, making it possible for her to teach just about everything in the social studies department, but she also can't get the special ed endorsement very easily (I'm thinking I should have gone the all social studies method...) lol
     
  25. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    I think you'll find the responses to this question as varried as the responses to your other questions. Different schools have different requirements. Some schools just meet the minimum state requirements and others go beyond that. Of course, each state has different requirements. I can't be of much help, since I completed an Alt. Cert. Program in which I had to take a few classes while working in a classroom. I'd already had several years experience teaching at the community college level, so a lot of the requirements were met by that.
     
  26. Gien

    Gien Rookie

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    I see, every state is, in matters of educational rules and regulations, kind of its own country. Like Europe, I suppose. But I do understand lots of things better now, so that's good :)

    Thank you so much everyone :D
     

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