How do I Become a Teacher?
I didn’t think I’d become a teacher. I took education classes at my father’s bidding. Having taught thirty-eight years, I think I did the right thing. (Don’t tell Dad though.)
In light of the recent pandemic, it seems imperative to discuss this subject.
We are going to need teachers like never before.
There are many reasons we have a shortage. I won’t go into them here, but suffice to say if you are interested in teaching, this is a good time to consider teaching as a career.
I come from a long line of teachers having several on both sides of my family. If you’d like to know more about my teaching journey, check The 12 Unofficial Fortune Teller’s Guide to Becoming a Fantastic Drama Teacher
If you are attending a college or university, here are the steps to becoming a teacher.
Step1: Earn your bachelor’s degree.
A bachelor’s degree is required to become a teacher. Enrolling in a teacher education program which is pre-approved to meet the educational requirements for teacher certification, including student teaching, is the traditional route.
My advice is to consider the subject area (for example, science, English as a second language, or special education) and the grade level (such as elementary vs. secondary) you wish to teach. Not all teacher education programs provide training in all subject areas or grade levels. This is very important to check when you enroll in the school. Otherwise, you’ll be lacking what you need and then it’s a hassle to complete it.
Step 2: State Teaching Exams
Generally, most states have a state exam you are required to take. You will be prepared ahead of time for this exam and most people pass it easily.
(source–“Fingerprints by kevin dooley)
Step 3: Fingerprinting
Any time an adult is going to work with children, they must be fingerprinted. This is imperative. You school system will inform you where you get finger printed. It’s a simple process.
Step Four: Applying for Teaching Jobs
Once you have your license, you are ready to apply for teaching positions. There are several educational websites who provide a clearinghouse of positions. You can look through the available position or perhaps ones which they think will be open. Check out http://www.teachingnomad.com. It is a clearing house for teaching jobs in the United States and abroad.
As you apply for positions, you’ll be expected to show proof of your grades from college. Also, you’ll be asked to provide several recommendations from people who have worked with you or can speak of your character.
You’ll want to write a professional resume of any previous work experience you’ve had with regard to teaching (teaching swimming lessons, working as a summer camp counselor, etc.) Check out this site for resume examples. Go to: https://resumegenius.com for help.
Sometimes you can teach a subject which you have not studied in college. When this occurs, the school system’s main office will give their go-ahead to hire you. You’ll be expected to take the state teaching exam and probably a few additional clases. In my case, I had to take three classes to become certified in English. (I graduated from college with my certification in Speech and Drama. Usually, English or Language Arts accompanies this certification.)
(source–“Teachers” by iwantt)
Step Five: Your Mentor Teacher
When I became a teacher about a hundred years ago, I was on my own. No one helped me or advised me. I’m tough old bird and I figured it out by the third year. My journey was typical of all new teachers at the time. Thankfully, it isn’t that way anymore. My advice? Give teaching at least five years before you make a decision whether you want to continue or not.
You are assigned a mentor teacher who serves as a guide and hopefully a friend. This person knows the ins and outs of teaching in your school and about teaching in general.
Alternative Teacher Certification
I was looking around the internet and found this great explanation for alternative teacher cetification at www.teachercertificationdegrees.com:
“Alternative or non-traditional teacher certification was initially introduced to fill critical teacher shortages. Today, alternative certification has been widely adopted as a way to recruit talented individuals in all subjects who have a passion for teaching but do not have backgrounds in education. According to a survey by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) covering the 2015-2016 school year, about 18% of public school teachers–676,000 individuals–had earned their teaching license through an alternative certification program.
This is up from the 2011-2012 school year when 14.6% of teachers leading classrooms in public schools reported entering teaching through an alternative pathway.”
Luckily, there are people who find they want to become teachers who did not study education when they were in college. If that’s you–you are so valuable because you have real life experiences (for instance, I know a scientist who became a science teacher.)
Teaching has its challenges, but so do most careers. My advice? Give. it. time.
Want a FREE Guide and 10 page lesson? Click here.
Advice from a 38 Year Veteran–
- Find someone in the school who you can vent to and they to you.
- Socialize with other teachers.
- Don’t each lunch alone.
- Get some exercise every day even if it feels like you can’t do it. Taking a walk, even a mile, will help you tremendously.
- Your desk is like a little home, so outfit it with things which make you smile–your favorite coffee cup or water bottle, a small poster which inspires you, photos of family or friends.
- Decorate your room in such a manner that is classic and a bit on trend. YOU DON’T NEED TO LOOK LIKE PINTEREST PIN YOU’VE SEEN. This is not a competition.
- Keep your sense of humor–I can’t express this enough to you.
- Keep your perspective. These are young people and children. Parents? Well, they mean well but are generally biased toward their child.
- Make friends with the office and custodial staff. They can make or break you and besides, they are always kinda fun.
- Email me if you are having a rough day–I have a listening ear.
As I mentioned above, I never thought I’d become a teacher. But you know, it suits me well and I’m grateful I had the opportunity to do so.
Got any questions? Please feel free to contact me at DhcBaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net