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April 03, 2009

How to Become a Teacher: Resources for Certification and Interviews

It's been 40 years since I set my goals to become a teacher. (You might be amused by my blog post on the 1971 evaluation of my student teaching) Fortunately today there are some great online resources to assist you. Here's two that impress me.

CertificationMap
Teacher certification requirements vary greatly by state and are often difficult to understand. A new website, CertificationMap informs future teachers about the requirements for certifications in every state.  It's sponsored by MAT@USC, a Master of Arts in Teaching program delivered online from the University of Southern California. I tried it out and found it to me much more user friendly than the individual state Department of Education websites.

Click on a state link and you'll find salary statistics, prerequisite coursework, steps to teacher preparation, testing, and useful links for teaching in that state. If you would like additional information, you can input your email and phone number. I tried it out, expecting not much more than to be solicited by USC.

I did get a very welcome surprise when I was called two days later by Nicole Dillard, a counselor at the USC's Rossier School of Education. She was more than willing to use her state-by-state database to supply me with additional information not found on CertificationMap regarding certification requirements. Of course, she also explained the merits of USC online certification program and noted that in the site's first two months it had generated nearly 300 interested leads for the program. Bottom line – try CertificationMap and feel free to give your contact info without fear of the hard sell.

Road to Teaching
A second site I'd like to recommend to folks interested in a teaching career is: Road to Teaching: Resources for Aspiring, Student, and Beginning Teachers. It's a site written by teachers for new and aspiring teachers. Here's their overview:

A cadre of dedicated educators, known as star contributors, have committed to providing support to student teachers. These star contributors will answer your questions, address your concerns, provide advice, and give encouragement. There are several ways to connect with a star contributor. You can (anonymously) post a comment or blog by joining Road to Teaching. If you prefer to email a specific question (e.g. content related question) to any of our star contributors, please feel free.


One of their most popular posts is Teacher Interview Questions. It contains an impressive array of questions, many with sample answers. It's well worth a visit before that next interview. Road to Teaching also includes valuable links and the chance to dialogue with others who are starting their teaching careers.

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Thanks for the web sites. As a building administrator, I appreciate the teacher interview questions site as a source for revising the questions I ask in an interview. I don't know how useful this may be (or if I am being self-indulgent) but I'm asked every year to talk to a class of aspiring teachers about the interview process. The students provide me with the questions ahead of time, so this year I posted them on my web site. I'm a bit verbose, so it is a long document. Hope you find something useful there: http://staffweb.brownsburg.k12.in.us/~RCorn/NewTeacherQuestions.pdf

Randy

Randy, thanks for posting a link to your resource. Valuable insights for aspiring teachers. And I think the Q and A format works great!

Cheers,
Peter

Hi Randy.

This is great information. Would you mind if I shared this valuable information on my website - http://roadtoteaching.com?

Thanks. Eric

Eric,

Thanks for the compliment and please do include the information on your web site. I have just visited your site and plan to make it one of my regular stops.

Randy

Eric and Randy,

Glad you two made the connection. You are both doing a great service to new teachers.

Cheers,
Peter

Could be good news for teachers - Report Envisions Teacher Shortage Looming - NYTimes.com http://bit.ly/1doKxC

Over the next four years, more than a third of the nation’s 3.2 million teachers could retire, depriving classrooms of experienced instructors and straining taxpayer-financed retirement system.

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