March is an interesting month. It is the month when recruiting new staff, always a priority in the world of special education, takes on added importance. Many years ago, it used to be a time of anticipation. A time when we wondered what new and wonderful teacher applicants would come across our path. Nowadays it’s no less exciting but we’re more likely to spend our time finding a path to the applicants who are out there.
What is behind the small numbers of people entering the teaching profession? The easy answer is to cite the comparatively low salaries, challenging work conditions, etc. The truth may well be more complex. Working to become a teacher is a significant undertaking. The college coursework is challenging. The tests one must pass in order to become a licensed teacher can be extraordinarily difficult.
A recent article in Edweek indicates that candidates taking the bar exam are more likely to pass that exam than are candidates taking tests for teacher licensure. If you access the article cited above and read through it you’ll find 4 questions in bold print from the teacher licensure exam. My challenge to readers is to find them and give them a try. Tests can’t identify some of the most important characteristics of great teachers – passion, understanding, compassion, patience, etc.
A couple of things came to mind as I read the article. First, we need to reconsider some of the barriers that are part of the licensure process. Second, it is absolutely true that teachers are truly the best and brightest. That’s especially true at Keystone. Thanks to all of our teachers for all that you do. Andy