Question: How do alternative routes to teaching, like Teach For America, compare to elementary teacher licensing requirements in terms of preparation?
Relevance: Teacher preparation and requirements have changed over time to address students with different needs, such as special education and language barriers. As the pool of applicants to teach has decreased, alternative routes to teaching increased in popularity. Looking through the alternative routes on the Trinity Educational Studies website, private school teaching and Teach for America stand out to me. I decided to look into Teach for America and their process of training or certifying teachers. Over the summer, I did research on teacher preparation programs and the specific college courses offered and required. With this project, I hope to look at licensing requirements in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York in comparison with the Teach for America programs in those areas. I chose those states by region in the country and as places where Teach for America has placements.
Research Strategy: I started at the Teach for America website, looking for their training and requirements pages. In terms of state licensing requirements, I used google to find state Departments of Education websites. I think it would be useful to try to contact Teach for America graduates and participants if possible. This may require a change in which states I look at. I used the library databases on Education (Education Text) to find some articles on Teach for America training.
“Training and Support” (2013). Teach For America. Americorps. Retrieved from http://www.teachforamerica.org/.
“Pre-corps training begins with a regional induction that takes place the week before the summer training institute. Institute is an intensive five-week training program that prepares corps members for their teaching experience. Summer training concludes with a regional orientation.”
“Licensure Academic (PreK – 12).” (2011). Massachusetts Government. Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Retrieved from http://www.doe.mass.edu/Educators/e_license.html?section=k12.
“Obtaining Connecticut Educator Certification.” (2013). Connecticut Government. State Department of Education Connecticut. Retrieved from http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/lib/sde/pdf/cert/obtaining1109aw.pdf
This pdf is helpful and clear in the requirements for licensing.
“Certification from Start to Finish” (2013). New York State Education Department. Office of Teaching Initiatives. http://www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert/certificate/certprocess.html
Harding, H. (2012). Teach for America: Leading for Change. Educational Leadership,69(8), 58-61.
This article has history of TFA and “How Training Works.”
Veltri, B. (2012). Teach for America: It’s More About Leading Than Teaching. Educational Leadership, 69(8), 62-65.
This article discusses the effective of TFA training. This article reports TFA teachers desire to have more training about child development and more experienced trainers.
Hopkins, M. (2008). Training The Next Teachers For America: A Proposal for Reconceptualizing Teach for America. Phi Delta Kappan, 89(10), 721-725.
A TFA alum discusses how she felt unprepared for teaching. The five-week program did not feel sufficient to her, so she proposes a change.