Teacher Licensure: The Disadvantages of Alternate Route Teachers

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Work, Work, Work

Although there are many advantages to obtaining an alternate route certification, there are also just as many disadvantages.

First, alternative route certification teachers rarely realize exactly what they are getting themselves into. Teaching is a demanding and a stressful occupation which requires the patience of Job. Teachers may work only 180-190 days a year, but teachers work at night, on weekends, on holidays. During the summer, teachers evaluate the previous school year and prepare for the forthcoming year, developing materials and curriculum. In other words, teachers must be committed to the profession and must posses a solid work ethic.

Minimal Preparation

Another disadvantage of alternate route programs concerns the fact that many programs do not require teachers to complete any sort of student teaching. This means that a teacher’s first day in the classroom is literally his or her first day teaching. A teacher has to be prepared to take charge and run the show with minimal preparation from Day 1.

News flash…Teaching involves dealing with students, parents, administrators and more students. Without students, teachers would not have jobs. Without student teaching, teachers have not had the opportunity to observe other more experienced teachers or to observe how teachers handle discipline. Alternate route teachers do not even know how to relate to students and are fairly uncomfortable dealing with students’ parents initially.

An Overwhelming Profession

Considering that alternate route teachers generally are not required to complete student teaching, they are a bit more flustered and overwhelmed. These feelings emanate from a lack of preparation and an overabundance of paperwork. Any new job is overwhelming, but when that is coupled without any formal training and all the paperwork (IEPS, rosters, reports, testing info, bell schedules) that accompanies teaching, the end result is a lack of confidence, which is only overcome with time. Teachers will get a feel for their new job, and as they get a grasp on things, teachers will gain confidence, thereby possessing a “can-do” attitude.