Want to Teach? Research Your Pathways to Certification

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Guest blogger Ana Wolfowicz is fast-approaching her eleventh year working in public education, and she has spent most of that time recruiting extraordinary talent for school districts nation-wide. As the Director of Recruitment at YES Prep Public Schools, Ana shapes our growing talent pool by finding unique ways to identify and connect with incredible educators. You can connect with her by emailing ana.wolfowicz (at) yesprep (dot) org.

For the last few years, billboards across Houston have aggressively advertised fast-track programs for aspiring educators, suggesting that the only thing standing between a future teacher and their classroom is a quick registration for a prep program. Implicit in this message is the idea that anyone can teach, and they can do so with minimal preparation. In reality, teaching is hard – it’s the hardest job I’ve ever loved – and incredible educators require significant content knowledge and rigorous preparation to provide students with the education they need and deserve.

In the state of Texas, aspiring educators have the privilege of pursuing different paths to teaching, from accelerated alternative certification programs to years-long undergraduate and graduate programs through universities. Currently, most secondary teaching Alternative Certification Programs across the state of Texas are receiving sub-par grades for failing to adequately prepare new teachers and provide opportunities for practice. At YES Prep, we believe, regardless of the path you take, it must be rigorous and involve ample opportunities for new teachers to receive and implement feedback in a supportive environment. For this reason, over 10 years ago, YES Prep developed our own in-house, premier teacher development and certification program based on the idea that, in order for our students to have the best education possible, our teachers must have access to a comprehensive, quality professional development program that positions them for success.

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Teaching Excellence’s model includes summer training (Induction), ongoing and in-person monthly professional developments and professional learning modules, a path to Texas Teacher Certification, and partnership with an Instructional Coach (IC). In fact, our IC’s are truly the “secret sauce” in our TE model; they offer new teachers intensive and guided support through a curriculum that includes core instructional skills, tactics for day-to-day problem-solving, and tailored personal development. I believe that all professionals deserve to be in an environment where they are set-up for success with the help of incredible support, and our IC’s play a critical role in ensuring that our first-year teachers thrive.

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So you’ve made the choice that you want to teach, and as someone who wakes up in the morning to hire passionate and talented educators, I want to congratulate you on your decision! Now, take your time to research preparation programs and find the one that will allow you to truly achieve your professional goals and meet the needs of your students. Admission into Teaching Excellence, the top ranked Secondary Alternative Certification Program in the state, is contingent upon first receiving an offer to teach at YES Prep and meeting TE’s admission requirements. YES Prep is currently hiring teachers for the 2017-2018 school year across our 17 Houston-based campuses, and you can learn more and apply here.

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