The National Center for Education Statistics reported that in the 2017-18 school year, there were 3.3 million full and part-time traditional public school teachers. That is the most recent count available. That’s a lot of college tuition and credentialing fees. So does all the investment in a piece of paper that supposedly certifies a person is a competent teacher really mean anything? What does a teaching credential prove?
Teacher credentialing programs are not enough
Every state requires public school teachers to jump through hoops to earn credentials. This usually means earning a bachelor’s degree, performing a few months of practice teaching, and passing a test or two. In my humble 36 years of experience, opinion, the way colleges prepare teachers for life in a real classroom lacks enough real experience. Coursework and student teaching hardly mimic what it is actually like to be in charge of one’s group of pre-formed student minds.
The struggle is real
I remember my first year of teaching. I cried a lot. Like every day. My then-husband would pat me on the back and say, “You’ll be Ok. We need the money,” as he guided me out the door. I was the first one on campus and the last one to leave. I brought home a box of work and papers to grade every night. More than the sheer weight of the responsibility of imbuing knowledge into middle school minds was the struggle with classroom discipline. That, more than anything else, was the biggest headache of my early career. I don’t remember anything in my credential courses that prepared me for that!
What we have to say about it
Earning a teaching credential does not a good teacher make! Jen, Sharyn, and I talk about what it takes to get a credential. We discuss what it means and, more importantly, what it doesn’t mean. Of course, as always, we give our suggestions as to how to fix the credential process.
If you’re considering a teaching career, this is a definite “must-listen.” And if you’ve already gone through the gauntlet, I’m sure you’ll be doing a lot of head nodding in agreement. If we can only pass on these brilliant suggestions to those credential gatekeepers, we might lower the number of new teachers who turn in their classroom keys when they figure out what it really means to be a teacher.
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