A traditional teacher license is granted to individuals who obtain a teaching license the old fashioned way. These individuals attend a teacher education program at a state-accredited college, majoring in either elementary education or secondary education. Alternate route teachers are college graduates who majored in a field other than education, and since graduating, have decided to become a teacher. Instead of returning to college and pursuing a degree in education, many states have created alternate routes that lead to a standard teacher certification.
The Argument Surrounding Teacher Certification
Some critics of education argue that all teachers should be required to attend a traditional teacher program and obtain a traditional teacher license, thereby prohibiting individuals from obtaining a teaching license via an alternate route. Proponents of traditional teacher license programs feel that such programs prepare individuals for the rigors of the teaching profession. Then again, advocates of alternate route programs contend that no experience can prepare individuals for what they will face in the classroom.
It is only logical, however, that individuals who seek their license via traditional means are better prepared, having completed formal classes that have prepared them—theoretically. But theory and experience are two separate issues when dealing with education.
So, What do Teachers Learn in College?
Most teachers who attend a traditional teacher program are indoctrinated with the following concepts: organization, classroom arrangement, classroom management, parent contacts, student/teacher/parent relationships, interventions, special education, individual education plans, curriculum development, state testing, discipline, legal issues, etc.
The most critical aspect of obtaining a traditional teacher license comes at the end. As part of their formal training, teachers are required to student teach under the supervision of a certified teacher in order to obtain a teaching license. Not only is the student/teacher introduced to the classroom environment, but experienced teachers have had the opportunity to observe how student/teachers handle discipline, contend with disruptive behavior, and manage their classrooms. Before this intensive internship, the traditionally certified teacher has already formally observed student behavior and is, therefore, more prepared for carrying out necessary duties.