Directory of Teaching Degree Programs


Welcome to the most complete directory on the web of teacher education degree and certificate programs. It includes over 20,000 teacher education degree and certificate programs, offered by over 1,700 colleges and school districts across the US, reviewed and compiled by hand from the college and district websites.

Please feel free to use this site to learn about the degree programs available to you, and if you want to contact the schools, please click on the school names. Thanks for visiting!

New Teacher Survival Guide

Education Job Hunt On the Job

Choosing a teaching degree

Please select the option that describes your situation. Then click on the degrees that appear below it to learn more.

Options for your next degree
Options after that

I am a:

Bachelors

Alt. Cert.

Grad. Cert.

M.A.T

M.Ed.

Ed.S.

Ed.D.

Ph.D.

Bachelor's Degree in Education

Why you should get this degree

A four year degree in education is the surest way to become a certified teacher - students obtain a liberal arts education while completing teaching license requirements.

Why a different degree might be better

Those interested in teaching a specific subject area may opt to study that subject in depth and pursue teacher credentials through an alternative certification program.

Job options

Depending on your specialty area, job options may include: teaching positions in a preschool, elementary, middle or high school environment.

Salary range

Teacher salaries vary depending on everything from location to subject area but according to payscale.com, on average, a K-12 teacher can expect to earn between $34,000 and $46,000 annually.

Find degree programs

http://www.educationdegree.com/programs/bachelors-in-education/

Alternative Certification: Teaching Certificate

Why you should get this degree

For the aspiring teacher, especially a career-changer, who has a bachelor's degree in an area other than education, an alternative certification program will give you the credentials to begin teaching. License requirements vary by state, but many programs allow you to complete certification while gaining experience in the classroom.

Why a different degree might be better

While these programs offer a quicker path into the classroom than pursuing a traditional education major, many of them are also tailored to specific education needs like the need for more math and science teachers or for more teachers in rural or urban districts. If you aren't flexible about location or subject area, a traditional program might be better suited to your goals.

Job options

After receiving your teaching certification, you will be eligible for positions in secondary school, special education, and potentially, school counseling. You will find options in rural and urban districts in particular.

Salary range

According to PayScale.com, a K-12 teacher's yearly salary is between $34,000 and $43,000, but this can vary depending on the type of school and subject area.

Find degree programs

http://www.educationdegree.com/programs/alternative-teacher-certification/

Graduate Certificate in Education

Why you should get this degree

The graduate certificate gives teachers interested in further specializing in a subject area or skill, the opportunity to do so. For example, if you are an elementary school teacher you may be interested in a special education graduate certificate. These programs are typically one to two years, and many are offered online.

Why a different degree might be better

The graduate certificate will enhance your knowledge and make you more marketable in a specific area of teaching, whether it's subject or skill specific. If you want to pursue an administration role or something in curriculum development, you might want to opt for a master's or doctoral degree instead.

Job options

Many with certificates find teaching positions at the K-12 level. Certificates can make you more marketable by giving you a credential in special education, leadership, technology or another area.

Salary range

Salaries can range by job type, location and years of experience and can be anywhere from around $30,000 to about $50,000 per year.

Find degree programs

http://www.educationdegree.com/programs/teaching-certificate/

Alternative Certification: Master's in Teaching

Why you should get this degree

If you're switching careers into education or simply didn't major in education for your undergrad degree, alternative certification can help get you into a classroom quickly. Some alternative certification programs allow you to teach while you earn a Master's in Education or, more commonly, a Master of Arts in Teaching.

Why a different degree might be better

Not all alternative certification programs culminate in a master's degree. You may want a program that can help you get certified to teach more quickly.

Job options

Earning a Master's in Education or Teaching can often help you attain higher salaries and if interested, positions in leadership roles as well.

Salary range

Teachers with master's degrees can earn between $39,000 and $55,000 per year, according to PayScale.com.

Find degree programs

http://www.educationdegree.com/programs/alternative-teacher-certification/

Master's in Education

Why you should get this degree

Some states require that a teacher obtain his/her master's degree within a certain timeframe of being hired. Whether or not that's the case in your district or the one in which you plan to teach, earning your master's can help you specialize and make you more marketable in a tough hiring climate. For example, you can add credentials like special education or school counseling to your resume or add to the depth of your knowledge in a chosen subject area.

Why a different degree might be better

Most likely a master's will be a necessary step if you want to stick with an education career; however, if you are in a district that doesn't require an advanced degree to maintain licensure, you may not be required to pursue your master's. Also, if your bachelor's is not in education, you can choose to pursue an alternative certification program that leads directly to a master's.

Job options

A master's degree can lead to a higher salary in a K-12 teaching position and can also open doors to working in administration or education policy.

Salary range

Teachers who've earned their master's degrees can earn between $39,000 and $55,000 per year, according to PayScale.com.

Find degree programs

http://www.educationdegree.com/programs/masters-in-education/

Educational Specialist

Why you should get this degree

An Education Specialist degree is a newer credential, in between the master's and doctorate degree in education. This degree can be a stepping stone into a career in school administration, curriculum planning or even in college-level instruction. It can also be a part of a bridge program, which will culminate in a doctoral degree.

Why a different degree might be better

The value of earning the EdS is completely contingent on your goals in the education field. If you want to stay in the classroom in the K-12 school system, you may not need to go further than a master's degree. If you want to teach at the university level or become superintendent, it may be better to pursue a doctoral degree instead.

Job options

The EdS will prepare you for more leadership oriented roles within the school system like principal, superintendent or curriculum specialist.

Salary range

According to PayScale.com, with an EdS, you can expect to earn between $55,000 and $87,000 annually.

Find degree programs

http://www.educationdegree.com/programs/educational-specialist/

Doctor of Education

Why you should get this degree

The EdD degree is not as common as the PhD in education, but it's well-suited for those interested in pursuing administration, curriculum planning or even school counseling careers. The degree is oriented to the practice of education rather than the theory.

Why a different degree might be better

Some in academia argue that the PhD is a more respected and versatile degree than the EdD. While this can largely depend on the type of position you're seeking, if you know you want to do education research or teach at the university or college level, the PhD might be the better choice.

Job options

Those who obtain their EdD, most often pursue careers in higher level administration with positions such as superintendent, faculty advisor, and board of education director, often at the K-12 level. Options in curriculum planning, policy and more may also be available.

Salary range

According to PayScale.com, school superintendents earn an average yearly salary between $65,000 and $120,000.

Find degree programs

http://www.educationdegree.com/programs/doctorate-in-education/

Doctor of Philosophy in Education

Why you should get this degree

Different from a Doctor of Education, a Doctor of Philosophy in education emphasizes the theory of education and research and is especially appropriate for someone looking to become an administrator or professor on a college or university level. The PhD is also the more common of the two degrees and in some cases, considered to be more versatile than the EdD.

Why a different degree might be better

For those more interested in the practice of education rather than theory, especially at the K-12 level, an EdD would be a better fit than the PhD in education.

Job options

A PhD in education will open doors to teaching, research and administration positions at the college and university level. Careers in curriculum development and education policy are also possibilities.

Salary range

The salary for someone holding a PhD In Education can vary with job title, but according to PayScale.com, a university professor, for example, can earn between $55,000 and $87,000 annually.

Find degree programs

http://www.educationdegree.com/programs/doctorate-in-education/

Applying to education school

Guide to Applying to Education School

Maybe you've always dreamed of being a teacher? Or maybe you're changing careers into the field? Either way, the first step is deciding on the best program for your goals.

Education programs span a few different levels from bachelor's degrees, to certificates, master's degrees, education specialist and doctoral degrees. Also, you'll have to consider whether you prefer a traditional education program (four year bachelor's degree) or an alternative certification program. Since 2005, one third of beginning teachers were hired after completing an alternative certification program, according to Teach-Now.org, and this entry certification into education is only becoming more popular.

Reasons to choose any of the available programs vary, as do their requirements. To help you choose the best teaching degree for you, we've broken down all the available degree types including their application requirements below.

What are the basic education program application requirements by degree type?

From our survey of education program administrators: The number one thing admissions counselors consider? Your admissions requirements - make sure you fulfill all required courses and credits before applying, especially if they relate to a subject area you're interested in teaching.

Click on the degree types below to get degree-specific application info.

Good luck!

Bachelor's in Education

A minimum of a bachelor's degree is required to teach in any school system, and a four-year degree in education is one of the easiest ways (and the most traditional way) to begin your career. There are thousands of programs to choose from, and most colleges and universities will even include certification testing.

  • Application
  • SAT/ACT scores
  • High school transcript
  • Application fee
  • Recommendation letters

*Some schools require a student to have met a certain minimum GPA in high school and/or to have completed particular course requirements.

From our survey of education program administrators: Just meeting your application requirements does not mean automatic acceptance into a program - take each element of the application seriously from your GPA to your essay.

Alternative Teacher Certification

Alternative certification programs have become an increasingly popular way to get into teaching. Geared for those with a non-education bachelor's degree, these programs cater especially to high-need areas like the math and sciences or urban and rural school districts. Programs mix education theory and training with hands-on experience. If you already have a bachelor's degree, alternative certification is the fastest way to jump right into the classroom. Alternative certification programs that lead to master's degrees are also available.

  • Application
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Transcript from an undergraduate college or university
  • Literacy test scores

*Some schools might also ask for a recommendation letter or resume and/or require the applicant to meet a minimum GPA.

From our survey of education program administrators: Let who you are and why you are pursuing teaching shine through - admissions counselors are trying to get a true sense of who you are and what kind of teacher you would be.

Master's in Education

Some school systems now require that you obtain a master's in education within a few years of starting your teaching career. Often, a master's degree is a logical progression from the bachelor's degree, allowing a teacher to specialize, gain in depth knowledge, demand a higher salary and even reposition him or herself for a more leadership-oriented position. Master's programs can vary in length of time required to complete, but will take about a year. Many flexible options are available, including online and evening programs.

  • Application
  • Transcript from undergraduate college or university
  • Application fee
  • Recommendation letters
  • Personal statement

*Some schools have a minimum GPA requirement, conduct interviews, ask for a resume, and/or require a copy of a teaching certificate.

Educational Specialist

An EdS, or education specialist degree, is a relatively new degree that falls in between a master's and a doctorate in education. In general, this is a degree for those at the K-12 level who want to move into administrator, school counseling or curriculum planning roles. Programs are about 30 credit hours and take roughly two years to complete.

  • Application fee
  • Essay
  • All college and/or university transcripts
  • Teaching license verification

*Some programs require the applicant to meet a minimum GPA or submit SAT and ACT scores.

Doctor of Education

The Doctor of Education (EdD) differs slightly in focus from the Doctor of Philosophy in Education, in that it emphasizes the practice vs. theory of education, though both are covered. Typically, this degree is recommended for those interested in pursuing leadership, counseling or education policy work in the K-12 environment. Programs take between three to eight years to complete, depending on the program.

  • Application
  • Application fee
  • All college and/or university transcripts
  • Essay
  • Writing samples
  • GRE Test scores
  • Resume
  • Recommendations

*Some programs may have additional requirements.

Doctor of Philosophy in Education

The Doctor of Philosophy in Education is considered a more academic degree than the EdD. It focuses heavily on the theory of education and prepares those who earn it for leadership roles in education and in particular for teaching positions at the college or university level or for education research and policy work. Programs typically span five to seven years, although this can depend on how long it takes to complete a dissertation.

  • Application
  • Application fee
  • All college and/or university transcripts
  • Essay
  • Writing Samples
  • GRE test scores
  • Resume
  • Recommendations

*Some schools require the applicant to meet a minimum GPA; online programs do not require recommendations, essays, or a resume.

 

What elements of a teaching program application are most important?

*Education programs will vary in what elements they require from applicants and how much weight they will place on these elements. For a competitive program, you can expect each element to weigh more heavily on an admissions decision, but check with the programs for specific details on the admissions process.

Other application elements administrators look for are volunteer experience-especially that relates to education, professional attitude, attention to detail in your application and of course your story - why you're interested in teaching and who you are.

For more specific admissions guidelines contact the admissions department of the schools to which you are interested in applying.

Good luck on your applications!

Education student interviews

Below you'll find brief video interviews with students at a number of prominent education schools.

Interview with Ronald Nored, Education Major, Butler University




Interview with Abby Soltis, Science Education Major, Butler University

State licensing requirements

Licensing Requirements: State by State Guide

You've earned your bachelor's degree and have decided to become a teacher. What's next? Most states/schools will require you to be licensed to teach (though some charter schools may not require certification). But, how do you become licensed, and what if you want teach in a new state or have the option of teaching in multiple states? Or, what if you haven't been through a traditional teaching program, but are still interested in leading a classroom? The answers to these questions - it depends. Teacher certification can be a confusing process as requirements vary from state to state. We've made the information hunt easier - just select the state you'd like to teach in and find out more about what the requirements for licensing in that state are and where to go to find out more.

 

Resume tips

How to Make Your Application for a Teaching Job Stand Out

Author: Alisha Hipwell is a Pittsburgh-based freelance writer with over a decade of journalism experience. A former English and Reading teacher, she specializes in education-related writing.

When Lupita Hinojosa, assistant superintendent in the office of school choice for the Houston Independent School District, recently posted an open teaching position, she received over 120 resumes.

Hinojosa said such large numbers of applicants aren't unusual in her urban school district – the largest in the state of Texas.

"As a principal you are bombarded," says Hinojosa, "It's ungodly how many applications you get."

Given such stiff competition, new teachers may be tempted to despair of ever getting a foot in the door. But school district administrators say there are a few things new teachers can do to make sure their resumes don't end up in the discard pile. Read on for tips on how to make your resume stand out from the crowd.

Edit, edit and edit some more.

Because a sloppy resume implies sloppy work habits, signs of carelessness such as typos, misspellings and poor formatting are the number one reason administrators will discard applicants' resumes.

"It's very important to go through your resume, and make sure it's just perfect," says Cynthia Wilson, superintendent of Orangeburg Consolidated School District 5, a rural district in Orangeburg, South Carolina.

In addition to perfect grammar and spelling, Wilson and other administrators say that they look for action verbs and succinct phrasing.

Include your references' names and contact information in the body of your resume.

In the interest of brevity, many candidates put "references available upon request" on their resumes. But, according to Hinojosa, that's a mistake.

"When screening resumes, I don't want to take the time to call you for your references. If you don't have them listed, your resume will probably go to the bottom of the pile," she says.

Go longer than one page.

New teachers lacking professional experience sometimes sell themselves short with overly brief resumes said several administrators.

"Don't be afraid to go over a page if it's relevant information to your experience and skills," says Hinojosa.

What's relevant? Anything that speaks to your ability to teach or that makes it easier for school districts to use you in flexible ways.

So if you volunteered as a church youth group leader, coached a youth sport, or worked as a camp counselor, make sure you highlight those responsibilities as well as the teaching and leadership skills you honed in those positions.

If you speak a foreign language, make sure you say so – even if you're applying for a math position. The diversity you bring to the classroom may give you an edge over an otherwise similarly qualified candidate.

Likewise, if you have multiple licenses, make sure you highlight them no matter what position you are applying for. You might not get the science job, but the district may keep your resume on file for a future opening in the math department.

"I look for things that make applicants stand out as participants in life, things that say, ‘I'm more than just the average person,'" says Wilson.

Be creative – but keep it relevant.

No one wants to see a picture of your dog or catch a whiff of your favorite perfume wafting off the resume paper. But administrators do want to see evidence of a creative and engaging approach to education.

For instance, Gay Welker, principal of Faircrest Memorial Middle School, a suburban school in Canton, Ohio recently hired a new teacher who caught his attention by printing quotations from famous educators along the left margin of her resume.

"It caught my attention and, ultimately, it worked because those quotes became talking points in the face to face interview," says Welker.

Don't be afraid to try.

Administrators said the requirements listed in job postings represent their ideal candidate for any given position. Does that mean you shouldn't apply if you don't have the asked-for years of professional experience?

"Absolutely not," say several administrators.

"It never hurts to throw your hat in the ring," says Welker.

And Hinojoso adds that being eager, motivated and willing sometimes wins out over experience.

Cast a wide net.

Wilson advises new teachers with little or no professional experience to "apply a lot of places and be willing and open to going almost anywhere to get that initial experience."

Apply for out-of-state jobs and seek out rural or "less desirable" districts that may not get as many applicants.

In Wilson's rural school district, for example, she may only receive 10 resumes for a posted position – a situation that represents far better odds for a new teacher than he or she would find in many urban and suburban districts.

Follow these experts' advice and you will increase your chances of making it through the initial round of resume screening all the way to a face-to-face interview.



Additional resume tips from Cynthia Wilson

Planning an effective demo lesson

Mastering the Demo Lesson to Win a Teaching Job

Author: Professor MacGregor Kniseley, Ed.D. began his 35-year career in education as a teacher employed in non-school environmental education programs. He taught for 10 years in elementary and middle schools and since 1990, has been a professor of elementary education at Rhode Island College. He is the author of "The Guide to Winning a Teaching Position in Any Job Market," based on the workshop he leads of the same name. Teacher candidates learn about the job search and hiring process along with how to develop cover letters, resumes, hiring portfolios and their interview skills. For more information, view Professor Kniseley's blog at http://www.winateachingjob.com.

Schools and districts use demonstration lessons (demo lessons) to judge a job applicant's knowledge of effective teaching, classroom management, and professional behavior. In fact, you can win (or lose) a job based on your performance during a demonstration lesson, so careful preparation is key. Below, I take you through how to plan and teach a successful demo lesson.

What is a demonstration lesson?

A demonstration lesson is simply a planned lesson taught to the interview committee or a group of students. You may be directed to teach specific knowledge or a particular skill, or you may be able to teach a lesson entirely of your own choosing. Job applicants could be asked to teach a 15-minute lesson to the interview committee or to teach a 45 to 60 minute lesson to a class of students. Sometimes, the interview committee may provide time after the lesson to reflect with you on how it went as well.

What do employers evaluate during a demonstration lesson?

Employers judge qualities related to effective teaching. They often use professional teaching standards such as National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) and state certification standards to define their expectations.

Here are five important criteria and the indicators that employers are likely to use to evaluate your demo lesson.

1. Organizes and delivers a purposeful lesson.

Today's teachers face high demands for accountability and raising achievement of all learners. There never seems to be enough time in the school day to cover everything. Effective teachers need to be well-prepared, well-organized, and purposeful in their instruction.

Indicators:

  • Provides a copy of a formal lesson plan for all committee members.
  • Conveys a strong sense of purpose and knows the lesson well.
  • Has a clear beginning, middle, and end to the lesson.
  • Aligns learning outcomes with standards for learning.
  • Assesses students informally during the lesson.
  • Sequences planned learning experiences with a timetable.
  • Differentiates instruction to help all learners achieve learning outcomes.

2. Responds to all learners.

Effective teachers recognize the wide range of needs of diverse learners in the classroom. They use knowledge of how their students learn along with their students' individual interests, strengths, challenges, language, cultural backgrounds and developmental needs to mold their lessons. In addition, effective teachers collaborate with other school personnel in teaching students with special needs.

Indicators:

  • Begins the lesson by getting to know the learners, building rapport, and pre-assessing.
  • Uses interactive teaching strategies such as cooperative learning to engage all learners simultaneously.
  • Checks for understanding periodically.
  • Uses effective "question and response" methods to develop student thinking and interaction.
  • Causes students to think in different ways (e.g., includes lower and higher level questions).
  • Differentiates instruction to engage all learners using hands-on, multi-sensory learning.
  • Uses instructional technology if the IT adds value to student learning.
  • Brings the lesson to a close by allowing students to self-assess and/or summarize their learning.

3. Manages individual learners and the whole class.

Effective teachers create the conditions for a safe, productive learning environment. They have a plan for a well-managed classroom, based on a learning community, structures, routines, and clear expectations and instructions.

Indicators:

  • Quickly sets several "ground rules" for successful learning (e.g. respect, safety, responsibility).
  • Provides clear instructions and expectations.
  • Makes smooth transitions from the whole class to small groups.
  • Paces the delivery of the lesson appropriately.
  • Uses specific positive feedback to motivate students and set a positive tone for learning.

4. Reflects and makes adjustments in the moment of teaching.

Effective teachers work from a well-conceived plan of action. However, during instruction they should monitor their students' learning and make changes to their lesson plans as needed.

Indicators:

  • Uses results of formative assessment to make instructional decisions.
  • Is flexible, yet maintains a focus on the purpose of learning.
  • Changes directions if students aren't achieving learning outcomes.
  • Re-teaches if it's clear students are confused or need more information.

5. Self-assesses and thinks critically.

Effective teachers are "reflective practitioners." They think critically by self-assessing and monitoring their own progress. They relate standards, theory and research of teaching to their teaching. They problem solve and analyze situations to deliver the best possible lessons.

Indicators:

  • Explains two or three things that worked well to help students achieve the learning outcome.
  • Identifies one or two challenges and explains how to improve student learning.
  • Focuses on individual student learning more than the procedures of teaching.
  • Uses assessment information to improve instruction.
  • Refers to results of informal assessments.
  • Requests feedback from the committee and listens to it carefully.
  • Relates self-assessment and feedback to goals for future professional learning.

5 ways to get started in teaching

Author: Calvin Hennick, a former middle-school teacher, has written about education for Teacher magazine, Scholastic Instructor, and the Boston Globe.

Have the desire to lead a classroom full of kids toward new discoveries, but lack the credentials? Maybe you've got a college degree, but it's not in education? Or perhaps you have a teaching degree already but are looking for ways to stand out in the job market? Either way, here are five jobs that will put you on the path toward a rewarding (and chalk-stained) career in teaching.

  • Teaching English Abroad

    Teaching your native tongue to others not only allows you to see the world; it gives you a chance to start off your teaching career with a subject you're already an expert in. The Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) program is one of the best-known opportunities for teaching overseas, but there's also demand for English teachers in China, Thailand, Chile, Argentina, and a host of other countries.

    Necessary qualifications: Requirements vary from program to program, but in general, you'll have better luck landing a gig if you've got a college degree and can speak some of the language of the country where you're seeking work.

    How it will help you later: You'll get in-classroom experience – plus, if you eventually want to teach a foreign language in the States, you'll have an edge over applicants who haven't lived abroad.

  • Tutoring

    Did you ace the SAT, or were you a whiz at American history? Share your knowledge. Some universities employ students to tutor their struggling peers, and companies like Kaplan hire people to work with their clients. Or, if you're enterprising, you can start your own service.

    Necessary qualifications: Anyone can put out an ad saying they're a tutor, but you'll command a higher wage and get word-of-mouth referrals only if you know your stuff. Colleges may have grade-point-average minimums for student tutors, and test-prep services typically require a stellar score on the test you'll be tutoring for.

    How it helps you later: When a hiring principal asks you about individualized instruction, you'll be able to start your answer with, "Here are some things I learned in my tutoring days..."

  • Substitute Teaching

    Substitute teachers are famous targets for spitballs, but if you're willing to dodge them, answer your phone at 5 am and rush to fill in for the flu-ridden geometry teacher – subbing can be a good way to get your foot in the door.

    Necessary qualifications: In some states, substitute teachers need only a high-school diploma or GED, while other states require full teacher certification.

    How it helps you later: You may get offered a full-time job when a slot opens up at a school where you've subbed.

  • Preschool/Daycare

    This is about as close as you can get to a K-12 teaching job, other than the real thing. You're teaching kids all day – just younger ones!

    Necessary qualifications: As with substituting, this varies by state.

    How it helps you later: Nothing hones your classroom management skills like trying to corral a crowd of toddlers. Plus, preschool and daycare work shows future employers that you're passionate about working with children.

  • Alternative Teaching Programs

    Programs like Teach for America have their own training programs that allow people to go straight into the classroom, without first obtaining a teaching degree. Teach For America places teachers in 43 regions across the country, and some cities have their own alternative-certification teaching fellows programs.

    Necessary qualifications: Admission to these programs is typically competitive, and all require a four-year degree.

    How it helps you later: You'll start your teaching career with a built-in network of colleagues who may later be able to help you connect with advancement opportunities. Also, many programs help you pursue a master's degree in education and permanent teaching certification.

Top 5 news stories in EDU

The 5 Education News Stories Every Aspiring Teacher Should Follow

Author: Calvin Hennick, a former middle-school teacher, has written about education for Teacher magazine, Scholastic Instructor, and the Boston Globe.

Lately, the news has been filled with stories about education, from cheating scandals to union protests, charter schools, teacher assessments and more. In fact, there's so much going on in education these days, that for an aspiring educator, it might be difficult to sift through all the debates and understand just what these current events mean for the future of the education field. Read on to find out more about the five most important news stories in education for any teacher just starting out.

  • Standardized Testing

    Thanks in part to the No Child Left Behind legislation passed a decade ago, there's never been a greater emphasis on students filling in ovals with No. 2 pencils. There are some good reasons for that – for example, the US lags behind other industrialized countries in math and science, and students of color and low-income students tend to receive lower scores than their peers in this country do. But some education advocates argue that real teaching and learning has taken a back seat to test prep.

    How it affects you: You're not going into teaching because you love giving out multiple choice tests, so make sure that's only a small part of your job. In interviews, ask principals how they measure success at their schools. Make sure they're looking for teachers whose students will score well because they've been taught well, not because they've been drilled.

  • Charter Schools

    Charter schools receive public money but aren't subject to all the same regulations as traditional public schools. In exchange for this freedom, charters are held to high standards and may be closed down if they fail to meet them. Typically, teachers at charter schools aren't unionized, and these jobs may pay differently – sometimes more, sometimes less – than equivalent positions in public schools.

    How it affects you: Many charter schools will hire uncertified teachers, so if you don't meet certification requirements in your district – for example, you lack an education degree – these schools may still be an option for you. Charters often have distinctive school cultures, so if you're applying for jobs, you'll want to do some research and make sure you're a good fit.

  • Merit Pay

    If you do a better job than your coworkers, should you get paid more? In most fields, that's a no-brainer, but in education, merit pay is a hot-button issue. Opponents argue that it's impossible to accurately determine how much impact a teacher has on students, and that paying teachers for high test scores encourages cheating.

    How it affects you: It probably won't, at least right away – but it's worth keeping an eye on. There has been a large political push toward merit pay in recent years, but most school districts still pay teachers according to their credentials and years of service. Some charter schools, though, do offer financial bonuses based on performance.

  • Weakening Union Power

    As the costs for benefits such as health insurance have skyrocketed, states facing budget crunches have looked for ways to save money – and sometimes, that means stepping on the toes of the teachers union. Wisconsin made national headlines when teachers protested legislation that limits employees' ability to collectively bargain, and Massachusetts recently limited the ability of teachers unions to block changes to their health benefits.

    How it affects you: Health insurance and pension benefits should be taken into account, along with salary, when evaluating a job offer. Knowing the political landscape of the state and district where you want to work will help you determine whether those benefits are likely to face significant cuts in the near future.

  • The Achievement Gap

    More than five decades after schools in the U.S. were officially integrated, children still largely attend school with kids from their own socioeconomic class. Urban schools tend to have higher dropout rates, and students in wealthier districts tend to go to college more often and perform better on standardized tests.

    How it affects you: Working in a poor urban district offers different challenges – and rewards – from those working in a wealthy suburb. Urban schools aren't being ignored like they once were. Over the last two decades, there's been a movement, involving charter schools, big-city mayors, and programs like Teach for America to improve education for inner-city students. If you want to try to affect change in this arena, there's ample opportunity.

Education best practices

Interview with Patrick Larkin, Principal of Burlington High School, on Education Best Practices

EducationDegree.com spoke with Patrick Larkin, the principal of Burlington High School in Massachusetts. Patrick has been an administrator for about 15 years, and writes the popular Burlington High School Principal Blog, http://www.patrickmlarkin.com/. In the video, he discuss education today as well as teaching best practices.


Technology tips

Top tech practices for new teachers

Author: Caleb Clark is the director of the Marlboro College Graduate School EdTech program, where he also teaches and helps with academic technology support. He has been a Web geek since 1994 and an educational technologist since 1999. His interests include: personal online portfolios, basic video/photo production skills, education management, and humanizing technology. Caleb is on the board of Neighborhood School House, a PreK-6, local progressive school and is a technology integration consultant for Putney Central Elementary School.

I'm the director of an educational technology master's program. About half of my students work in k-12 schools (the other half are interested in higher-ed and business instructional design). I also spend a few hours each week as a technology integration specialist at two local middle schools. Basically, this means I'm helping educators figure out how to fit and use technology in their classrooms. I'm often fielding questions like, "How do I use iMovie?" or "What does it take to make a Wiki for my students?" Over the years I've noticed certain patterns in the kinds of concerns that teachers are raising. Below is my advice on how to deal with these concerns from figuring out which tools to use for your lessons to helping students become self-motivated about using technology for their work.

  • 1. Tools: When it comes to figuring out which technology tools to use in your lesson plans, let go of needing specific software knowledge, and focus on student learning. Many teachers stress about which software to choose for projects and then stress about how to use that software. Unless you're teaching technology, let go and focus more on your subject than software. In this digital age, there are more tools than ever. You don't have to get caught up learning all of them. Instead assign your students a project - like asking them to make a movie or a slideshow - and they'll be bound to find 10 tools to complete the assignment that you weren't even thinking about. Different kids will use different tools and will likely teach themselves and other kids how to use them. Your job is to focus on the content - review the movies and make sure that your students understood the assignment, and what you were trying to teach. Help them rework the content if needed.
  • 2. Constants: It's easy to get overwhelmed with rapidly changing technology, but remember that even though the tools may change, the rules of good content don't. Some things are constants: the Library of Congress has always been an excellent source for photos, the rule of thirds has always improved artistic compositions, copyright was a necessary consideration long before the Web, and literacy still means the same thing whether or not "media" is in front of it. Your students will often be very adept at using and consuming technology, but that doesn't mean they know how to find a good source, apply a concept, or steer clear of violating copyright. Your job is to guide students in applying timeless constants to new media. Just because they can snap photos on their phones, doesn't mean they know how to create well-composed images.
  • 3. Cameras: And, on the subject of cameras - use them! We live in a digital world now. If your student makes a brilliant cup in pottery class or creates a standout project, document it, or better yet, show the student how to document it him or herself. People almost expect this, and it can give both you and the student a chance for reflection on the project. You can document more than you think with a camera. Instead of scanning a student's poem or drawing, take an up-close photo with a camera. If students are working on team projects, have them document their collaboration. Ask students to use a digital camera to record short videos about what they learned from assignments. Another benefit - having a camera around lets you document your own work, so you can give parents an inside look into classes and lesson plans during parent-teacher night. For more information, I've created an online tutorial for teachers on how to use any camera.
  • 4. Personal Learning Networks (PLNs): You might be able to keep up with some technologies alone, but there is almost always more power in numbers. We are living in an age of incredibly fast-changing technology. Just imagine the first two decades after the printing press came into widespread use - at the time, teachers' entire lives must have been upended. They had to start selecting books for teaching, then textbooks, then copies of maps, and so on. The education world has shifted again in a big way. Your best hope to keep up is to rely on your peers. Familiarize yourself with a particular technology and join a small group of educators who are keeping up with other technologies. You'll be able to keep up-to-date on more tools and share different ideas for implementing them. More on PLNS.
  • 5. Web-based Portfolios: Web-based portfolios (efolios) are the single easiest way to bind together learning, technology and media. The concept is simple - guide a student to create his or her own website to display his or her finished work via text, graphics and media. Google Sites and PBWorks are good free tools. This seemingly simple task will allow students to engage in self-reflection, increase media literacy, and hone their technology skills all at once. Students are faced with questions such as: Who am I online? What kind of job do I want? What's my best work? What did I learn? What do I believe in? How do colors, text and media combine to influence people's perceptions of me? And, building an efolio is intrinsically motivating to most students since it is personal, social and creative. Furthermore employers are increasingly asking prospective employees to provide a simple link to their resume, bio and work samples, so figuring out how to build an efolio is highly relevant for both you and your students. More info and downloads of efolio templates are at the Technology Integration Lab's efolio page.

 

Interview with EduRealms's Lucas Gillispie - Video Games in Classrooms

EducationDegree.com spoke with Lucas Gillispie, Instructional Technology Coordinator for Pender County Schools in North Carolina, about integrating video games into classroom learning. Lucas, a former science teacher, explains how Angry Birds, World of Warcraft and more can be incorporated into lesson plans - from physics to language arts. Find out more about his success launching an afterschool/elective program based on World of Warcraft at www.edurealms.com.


Reality vs. expectations survey

Survey Results

EducationDegree.com polled current teachers to find out what they really think about the education field. Was teaching what they expected? What do they like about it? What would they change? What do they wish they had known about the field when they were in school? If you want to become a teacher, check out their answers below and see what current teachers have to say about everything from the number of students in their classes to what it's like to work with school administrators and other teachers.

If you are a teacher and would like to contribute your experiences to this survey, go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/VSBT5NG. We'll update the results periodically.

1. I have a(n):

  • A. Bachelor's degree in education.
  • B. Master's degree in education.
  • C. Educational Specialist degree.
  • D. Doctorate in education.

2. I came into teaching through:

  • A. A traditional teacher education program.
  • B. Alternative certification/other.

3. I've been a teacher or school administrator:

  • A. Less than 1 year.
  • B. 1-5 years.
  • C. 6-10 years.
  • D. More than 10 years.

4. I teach:

  • A. Pre-K / Kindergarten.
  • B. Elementary school.
  • C. Middle school.
  • D. High school.

5. My first teaching position was:

  • A. What I had expected.
  • B. Mostly what I had expected.
  • C. Only somewhat like what I had expected.
  • D. Nothing like what I had expected.

6. The thing I enjoyed most about my first teaching job was (open ended question - representative answers below):

The students, the other teachers and the experiences involved in teaching.

7. The most unexpected thing about my first teaching job was (open ended question - representative answers below):

The amount of work required in the given timeframe as well as the difficulty involved in dealing with some students, parents and other teachers.

8. The thing I disliked most about my first teaching job was (open ended question - representative answers below):

The general lack of support and negativity from other teachers and/or administrators.

9. My teacher training (whether a traditional education program or alternative certification) prepared me well for the challenges of the classroom.

  • A. Agree
  • B. Disagree

10. If I could change one thing about my teacher training, it would be (open ended question - representative answers below):

To have more time in the classroom, learning how to teach in real-world scenarios.

11. At first, working as a teacher was:

  • A. A difficult adjustment
  • B. Challenging, but it improved.
  • C. A mixture of good and bad days.
  • D. A natural adjustment from my teacher training program.

12. My coworkers and administrators at my first teaching job:

  • A. Served as mentors and were extremely helpful
  • B. Were mostly helpful.
  • C. Weren't particularly helpful.
  • D. Were unhelpful.

13. I chose my first teaching job based on:

  • A. The school location.
  • B. The age group I would be teaching
  • C. The support network and sense of community at the school.
  • D. The first position that was offered to me.

14. The most challenging element of teaching is:

  • A. Handling the workload.
  • B. Interacting with/teaching the students.
  • C. Planning lessons.
  • D. Working with other teachers and administrators.

15. Most of my time as a teacher is spent:

  • A. In the classroom with my students.
  • B. Completing grading/paperwork.
  • C. Planning lessons.
  • D. In meetings with coworkers and administrators.

16. Most of the time, I am able to leave work at work.

  • A. Agree
  • B. Disagree

17. The number of students I have in a classroom is:

  • A. 9 or fewer.
  • B. 10 to 15.
  • C. 16 to 25.
  • D. 26 or more.

18. My students are (open ended question - representative answers below):

Great in general.

19. My day-to-day workload:

  • A. Is appropriate and matches my training.
  • B. Does not match my training.
  • C. Is overwhelming sometimes but mostly manageable.
  • D. Is completely overwhelming.

20. In general, I work:

  • A. 40 or fewer hours per week.
  • B. 50 or fewer hours per week.
  • C. 60 or fewer hours per week.
  • D. More than 60 hours per week

21. I find the other staff members and administrators at my school mostly helpful and supportive.

  • A. Agree
  • B. Disagree

22. The one thing I wish I could change about teaching is (open ended question - representative answers below):

The perception of the field and the lack of respect for the profession from administrators and legislators.

23. I use technology as part of my job:

  • A. All of the time.
  • B. Most of the time.
  • C. Occasionally.
  • D. Rarely.

24. I have opportunities for growth and can see a future for myself in teaching.

  • A. Agree
  • B. Disagree

25. For my position, advanced degrees are:

  • A. Necessary.
  • B. Preferred.
  • C. Not necessary.

26. Overall, teaching is (open ended question - representative answers below):

A wonderful and rewarding profession.

Why do teachers quit?

Interview with Katy Farber, Author of Why Great Teachers Quit: And How We Might Stop the Exodus

EducationDegree.com spoke with public school teacher and author, Katy Farber. Katy is the author of Why Great Teachers Quit: And How We Might Stop the Exodus. Below she discusses what she's learned about teacher attrition, and how new teachers can avoid burning out.


 


Avoiding teacher burnout

Are You Suffering From Teacher Burnout?

Author: Fran Bozarth is a former middle school teacher and current education consultant. She runs the Institute for Educator Wellness, a website and blog specializing in the topics of teacher well-being and attrition.

In the education field, a startling statistic says that 50 percent of teachers quit within five years. The pressures of teaching can be tough to handle from time to time, but by monitoring your well-being and keeping an eye on the risk factors involved in burning out, you'll be able to make teaching your long-term career.

Take our teacher burnout assessment, and see if you're at risk for burning out, and what you can do if you are.

1. Outside of your teaching assignment, how many of the following work-related activities are you involved in?
  • taking a class or seminar
  • committee participation
  • coaching
  • advising a club
  • supervise a student teacher
  • union representative
  • extra duties outside of what everyone else is expected to do
A.No additional work-related activities.

Neutral risk of burnout. It's rare that teachers have NO outside, work-related activities. If you are a new teacher, the classroom is enough to manage. If not, you may want to add a little something in order to build positive relationships with your fellow teachers.

B.1-2 additional work-related activities.

Burnout unlikely. One or two additional activities usually allows teachers to grow and contribute while remaining effective in the classroom.

C.3+ additional work-related activities

A sign of burnout. Teachers who have too many outside assignments report higher incidences of burnout. If this is you, prioritize and learn to say, "no."

2. Which of the below most closely resembles your social life?
A.Most or all of my friends work in my school setting.

On the road to burnout. It's important for you to have more to your identity than, "being a teacher." Broaden your social circle.

B.Some of my friends work in my school setting; some work in other fields.

Burnout unlikely. This is a nice healthy balance! Having a life outside of school keeps you resilient.

C.My co-workers are strictly professional relationships for me.

A sign of burnout. Isolation is one of the most cited factors for burnout. Connections are important! Develop at least one positive personal relationship at school.

3. At the end of the school day, you are most likely to:
A.Change into some exercise gear and go for a run, take a walk or attend a fitness class - maybe with a friend.

Burnout unlikely. Excellent choice! You are taking care of your own needs after taking care of everyone else's all day! This will keep you resilient.

B.Go home and have some quiet time alone.

Neutral risk of burnout. Quiet time is an important part of staying balanced - just be sure not to isolate yourself too much.

C.Meet up with other people for a drink and to vent about the day.

A sign of burnout. Substance abuse is a contributing factor in teacher burnout. An occasional drink is one thing, but if you are doing this more than two times per week, you need to find a healthier way to decompress after the school day.

D.Spend more than two evenings per week on planning, grading, or other school-related work.

On the road to burnout. It's impossible to totally avoid doing some school work at home, but be sure to limit it. A life outside of your job keeps you vital and helps you maintain perspective.

4. The teacher's lounge in your school is frequently the scene of complaining and negativity. In response, you choose to:
A.Keep dining in the teacher's lounge, and let the negativity roll off your back. After all, you need to fit in with your co-workers, and you are tough enough to withstand the negative banter.

A sign of burnout. A negative environment affects everyone in it, even bystanders. Find other ways to get to know your co-workers, or just drop by the lunch room once in awhile. Nobody is impervious to negativity.

B.Find a quiet place to eat lunch on your own, then step outside for a quick walk.

Neutral risk of burnout. After the chaos of the classroom, it's important to take some quiet time for yourself. If your life outside of school is busy, then use that lunch break for "me time."

C.Have lunch with the students; you prefer their company.

On the road to burnout. Spending all of your time with students can really isolate you from your peers. Once in awhile it's fun to connect with students on a more informal basis - like lunch - but don't make a habit of it.

D.Seek out another teacher who is not dining in the teacher's lounge, and invite him or her to have lunch with you.

Burnout unlikely. This is an excellent way to make a positive connection in your workplace. If there is another person not eating in the lunch room, odds are that they don't care for the negativity either.

5. The alarm goes off in the morning, and it's time to get up for work. Your first thought is:
A."I can hardly wait to get to school and see what the day brings!"

Burnout unlikely. This is a sure sign of resilience. You are in good shape! Mind your self-care, and keep yourself in this "good space."

B."How many days until Friday?"

Neutral risk of burnout. You might be getting a little bit run down. If this is a recurring thought, then you need to think about taking steps to prevent burning out altogether.

C."I wish I was doing something else. I think I'm coming down with something again."

On the road to burnout. Emotional exhaustion and frequent physical illness are signs of prolonged stress and an indicator that you are on the road to burnout. Make yourself a greater priority.

D."If I didn't need the paycheck, I wouldn't go to this job at all."

A sign of burnout. Teaching is not a job you can just do for the paycheck. Seek help from a career coach, counselor or other professional. It's time to reassess your current situation.


Remember...

Burnout is a process. Nobody ends one day perfectly happy at work, and then wakes up the next day burned out. It happens over time.

The Burnout Process:

  • 1. Physical, mental and emotional exhaustion
  • 2. Shame, self-doubt, loss of confidence
  • 3. Cynicism and callousness
  • 4. Crisis (this is the part where you quit your job or take some other drastic action)

Remember to self-assess from time to time. Being attentive to problems early on can help you avoid burnout and keep your passion for teaching alive for a very long time.

 

New teacher video blog

Bio: Candice Director is a first year teacher at High Tech Media Arts High School in California. She completed her teacher preparation program through the University of California, Berkeley, where she received the Alpha Delta Kappa Excellence in Student Teaching Award. Candice was also selected as a 2011 math teaching fellow by the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation (http://kstf.org/).


Candice Director #1 - Getting Feedback on Your Teaching


Candice Director #2 - Backwards Planning

 

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