Great news: Alternative teacher certification in Missouri just got better. The new alternative route, which combines hands-on experience, mentoring, and education training, will help public schools that are trying to fill math and science positions.
Gov. Blunt explains why we need the new law:
"Under the old system, Bill Gates couldn't teach a class in computer software in a Missouri high school," Blunt said. "This bill allows experienced professionals to become certified teachers."
People always ask, "But aren't the things they teach in ed school important? What if Bill Gates is a genius but a bad teacher?" And that's a good question. Teaching technique is important. And it's certainly true that professionals can be knowledgable about their fields but unable to communicate with students. On the other hand, some people are great educators despite a lack of formal education training. Many college professors, for example, teach well but have never taken pedagogy courses.
By giving teaching candidates classroom experience up front, the alternative certification process may actually do a better job than traditional certification at weeding out smart people who shouldn't teach. It will quickly become apparent to the candidates and their assigned mentors if teaching isn't the right job for them. Besides, certifying people to teach doesn't force districts to hire them. Districts won't become less selective about hiring people in fact, they'll get to be choosier because they'll have more candidates to consider.