How Certification Affects Your Quality as a Teacher

There’s a lot of discussion right now in the world of education about teacher quality. Is it it’s flagging? If so, why? Whatever the case, how can teacher quality be improved? What determines what “teacher quality” is, anyway?

When it comes to the perspective from the voice of authority – Michael Poliakoff, President of the National Council on Teacher Quality, believes that certain unwise choices and schemes adopted by states to counter teacher shortages have had an adverse impact on overall teacher quality. He states that the solution does not necessarily lie in imposing additional requirements on prospective teachers and that the state licensure process has no bearing on teacher quality. As a case in point, Massachusetts adopted a new teacher certification exam in 1998, which almost 59% of seniors and recent graduates failed. It was surprising to note that students from some of the most well-established teacher colleges had the highest failure rates. Apart from this, several other studies have found little or no connection between a state-level licensure requirement and the quality or effectiveness of a teacher in the classroom, although a few studies have revealed a direct connection between certified teachers and overall teaching effectiveness. It’s difficult to conclude in favor of either side of the debate.

It’s heartening to note that, as a result of several research studies, some universities are revamping their teacher education classes and overall curriculum to bring them up to date. Several school districts are also employing innovative programs to recruit the best talent available and accelerate their entry into the teaching profession. TFA provides an intensive 5-week training program for new college graduates without a background in education and, as mentioned earlier, is instrumental in staffing schools located in areas facing chronic teacher shortages. Yet another popular alternative program is the Troops to Teachers program, which has the support of former First Lady Laura Bush. This program aims to recruit and train former service members to become teachers.

While the debate over what qualifications lie behind good teaching goes on, there are several programs, traditional or otherwise, available to you now. Take some time to see if any of the programs talked about in this article are available in your area. Ask other teachers what they think of the ones that are. Do your research, look at statistics and gather perspectives, and you’ll find the training that will leave you most qualified, no matter what!

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