Chapel Hill’s student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel, recently published an article titled, “NC State University and UNC-Chapel Hill Partner to License Teachers”. It describes the process through which teacher who were already in the classroom, but not yet fully licensed could obtain their licenses. This process is reportedly shortening from 3 years to 1 year and be entirely online.
I am encouraged by this development because I think it will make it easier and more feasible for teachers to not only obtain their license, but also gain knowledge that will help them be more successful in the classroom.
In North Carolina there is no real motivation for teachers to get their Master’s Degree because there is no longer a pay raise for individuals who do so. This is just one example of evidence of the devaluation of education in North Carolina. If we don’t encourage educators to continue pursuing education, then we are not modeling priorities to the children the they are teaching.
That is one of the reasons why easing the process for lateral teachers to attain their license is fantastic.
Also, as the article state, with strictly online classes, the program is much more reasonable for teachers in rural areas. These areas often are lacking a plethora of highly qualified teachers because they are in lesser known areas and school districts. Giving the teachers that are there and know the community already the ability to become licensed in a way that doesn’t completely interrupt their lives is critical in increasing the number of licensed teachers in rural areas. It is impractical to expect lateral teachers to be in the classroom teaching and traveling to on-site classes in order to get their license.
Lastly, I think we should be encouraging teachers to continue to pursue their own education for the following two reasons: 1) it keeps them up to date on the subjects they are teaching as well as any new advances in their field or teaching in general and 2) it is a good way for teachers to remember what it is like to be a student and will put them in their students shoes when they are designing lesson plans and standing in the front of a classroom.
Especially with the onslaught of technology these days, it is important that teachers are provided with the most up to date knowledge on how to most effectively utilize these developments in their classrooms. I know I have sat through classes where the first half of the class is spent watching the teacher try to figure out how to turn on whatever device they are trying to use. This could be avoided if teachers were offered appropriate training with such devices.
Although there may not be classes in technology that are offered for teachers studying to get their license, I think it would be a good idea, and I think that it is just an example of how valuing teachers’ further education is important. The effort by UNC and NC State is an important step in making education easier for teaching, but there is definitely a lot more that could be done in this area.