Academic journal article High School Journal

A Semester in the Life of Alternatively Certified Teachers: Implications for Alternative Routes to Teaching

Academic journal article High School Journal

A Semester in the Life of Alternatively Certified Teachers: Implications for Alternative Routes to Teaching

Article excerpt

Introduction

In 1983, the National Commission on Excellence in Education stated in their report, A Nation at Risk:

   Not enough of the academically able
   students are being attracted to teaching;
   that teacher preparation programs need
   substantial improvement; that the professional
   working life of teachers is on the
   whole unacceptable; and that a serious
   shortage of teachers exists in key fields.
   (p. 22)

Because of the dramatic shortage of teachers in the state of North Carolina and across the nation, every possible effort to attract people into teaching who otherwise might not think of teaching is necessary. Alternative teacher certification programs are necessary to address the national teacher shortage. Cooperman (1995) noted that three benefits to alternative teacher certification include increasing the pool of qualified teachers, attracting knowledgeable and enthusiastic individuals into teaching, and bringing in teachers who know their subject. However, just because individuals know their subject does not necessarily mean they know how to teach the subject. These individuals lack what Shulman (1986) calls pedagogical content knowledge--knowing what to teach, how to teach it, with what kinds of students, and the milieu.

NCTEACH

In an effort to address teacher shortage in North Carolina, the State Board of Education and the Board of Governors proposed North Carolina Teachers of Excellence for all Children (NCTEACH) as a statewide lateral entry teacher licensure program (Coble & Sullivan, 2000). Across North Carolina, six sites offered the NC TEACH program (Illustration 1.1).

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Program Description

The NC TEACH website (www.NC TEACH.ga.unc.edu/) describes the program as an exciting new statewide lateral entry teacher licensure program for talented professionals from diverse fields such as industry, government, the military, or human services who wish to make a career change into the field of teaching.

Methods

This study examined the recruitment of teachers through alternative routes to teacher certification in an effort to address teacher shortage in the state of North Carolina through North Carolina Teachers of Excellence for All Children (NCTEACH). Specifically, this study investigated alternative teacher certification, factors leading to attrition, and factors leading to the retention of beginning teachers with the following question: "Will a state mandated alternative teacher certification program address an ongoing teacher shortage in NC?"

Treatment/Analysis of Data

To highlight the experiences of NC TEACH participants, dialogue on the triangle site listserv was followed throughout the school year. Significant statements from the email listserv dialogue are the raw data for analysis. Meanings and interpretations of the data resulted from continuous reading and rereading. While coding the data for significant statements, the following six themes emerged:

* Organization/Disorganization

* Support/Lack of Support

* Coursework

* Mentoring

* Time

* Frustrations

As previously noted in the introduction of this journal, Feistritzer and Chester (1996) identified nine classes (A-I) of alternative teacher certification programs implemented throughout the country. NC TEACH falls under Class B, an alternative teacher certification program specifically designed to attract "talented" individuals with at least a bachelor's degree in a field other than education. This program provides specially designed mentoring and formal instruction. In addition, these programs are restricted to shortages and/or secondary grade levels and/or subject areas. Although the primary objective of class B programs is for secondary grade levels and subject areas, some NC TEACH participants were assigned to elementary schools. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.