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Transfer Tips for Teacher Education

Decision Guides
Deciding whether to pursue a career as a teacher is one that requires considerable study and commitment.  Teaching is a profession that requires competence in writing, reading, mathematics, science, technology, humanities, social sciences, speech, and health. As a teacher, you will be a communicator, conveyor of information, evaluator, classroom manager, counselor, member of many teams and groups, decision-maker, role-model and surrogate parent. All of these roles require practice and skill, as well as the appropriate temperament, skills, and personality.

Benefits of a Teaching Career

Those  who choose to teach state that teaching: 

  •  is work they love to do
  •  requires dedication and commitment
  •  allows more time to be with family
  •  contributes to society and helps others
  •  has considerable job security
  •  provides opportunities to develop skills
  •  provides compensation which includes health insurance and pension plans
  •  has an appealing culture and colleagues

The academic and personal demands involved in preparing to teach:
  • Teaching is a profession that requires competence in writing, reading, mathematics, science, technology, humanities, social sciences, speech, and health.
  • As a teacher, you will be a communicator, conveyor of information, evaluator, classroom manager, counselor, member of many teams and groups, decision-maker, role-model, and surrogate parent and all require of practice and skill.
  • Teaching well requires the appropriate temperament, skills, and personality.
  • Completing some degree requirements may require availability during "school day" hours.
  • Re-certification requires completing courses that maintain currency and skill. 

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Licensure Testing

Teaching, like many professions, requires licensure testing. Prospective teachers are tested using the PRAXIS series . PRAXIS I assesses reading, writing, and math and is usually required prior to enrolling as an education major at senior institutions. PRAXIS II tests subject area competency and is taken prior to receiving teaching certification).

Go to www.ets.org/praxis for detailed information about this test. TCC recommends that students complete all lower-level (freshman/sophomore) academic requirements, especially those involving mathematics, English, and reading, before taking PRAXIS I. Registration booklets and information about PRAXIS Tutorial Programs and Resources are available in the counseling offices at each campus.

On March 24, 2004, the Virginia Board of Education approved using SAT scores as a substitute test for PRAXIS I . If the SAT test was taken after April 11, 1995, the person must have a combined score of 1100 with at least 530 on the verbal test and 530 on the mathematics test. If the SAT was taken before April 1, 1995, the person must have a combined score of 1000 with at least 450 on the verbal test and 510 on the mathematics test.

On September 27, 2004, the Virginia Board of Education approved using ACT scores as a substitute test for PRAXIS I . If the ACT was taken after April 1, 1995, the person must have a composite score of 24 with the ACT mathematics score no less than 22 and an ACT English Plus Reading score no less than 46. If the ACT was taken before April 1, 1995, the person must have a composite score of 21, with the ACT mathematics score no less than 21, and an ACT English and Reading score no less than 37.

Many senior institutions require a grade-point average of at least 2.75 (on a 4.0 scale) for students pursuing teacher certification. Completing some degree requirements may require that you be available during “school day” hours. After you receive licensure, you will be required to renew certification periodically by completing courses to maintain currency and skill.

2010-2011 Top 10 Critical VA Shortage Teaching Endorsement Areas

1. Special Education
2. Elementary Education pre-K-6
3. Middle Education Grades 6-8
4. Career and Technical Education
5. Mathematics Grades 6-12 (including Algebra I)
6. Science Grades 6-12
7. Foreign Languages pre-K-12
8. School Counselor pre-K-12
9. Health and Physical Education pre-K-12
10. English Grades 6-12

Deciding what to teach
  • Elementary Grades, Pre-K - 6
    Requires a broad range of knowledge: English, mathematics, science, history, geography, economics, political science, and technology. At least a baccalaureate degree is required. Some colleges and universities require completion of a master's degree prior to certification.
  • Middle Grades, 6 - 8
    Requires a broad range of knowledge similar to the requirements for teaching elementary grades with the addition of two content specialization areas chosen from math, English, social sciences, and/or science. At least a baccalaureate degree is required. Some colleges and universities require completion of a master's degree prior to certification.
  • Secondary Grades, 6 - 12
    Requires at least a baccalaureate degree in a subject area (English, English/Speech, mathematics, history/social sciences, biology, chemistry, computer science, physics, computer science, technology, trade, industrial arts, business, and food and family life) and certification for grades 6 - 12. Students planning to teach psychology, economics, political science, geography, or sociology would use history as their major, taking social science courses for their social studies endorsement.
  • Pre-K-12 Certification
    Required to teach health, physical education, foreign languages, art, music, and theater arts.
  • Special Education
    Teaching special education requires a broad range of knowledge similar to PK-6 teachers and specialization in either emotional/behavioral disorders, learning disabilities, mental retardation, early childhood special education, hearing impairment, speech and language disorders, or severe profound disabilities.
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What classes are generally taken during the freshman year?

 Take whatever developmental coursework that may be required in reading, writing, mathematics, or science. Not only will you perform better in your academic classes, but you will perform better on the PRAXIS testing that is required for licensure.
What should be completed during the first 30 semester hours (freshman year)?:

  • English 111-112 Composition I & II
  • Mathematics 03 and 04 Algebra I & II if needed - then continue taking math courses at the college level. Colleges and certain college majors require differing levels of mathematics, see an advisor/counselor if you are not sure what is required.
  • Computer technology course(s) - you will need to be proficient in using computers as a student and as a teacher 
  • Foreign language - many colleges require college-level credit in foreign language; it is also a definite asset for teachers to know other languages. 
  • Public Speaking or Oral Communication
  • History, humanities, social sciences and laboratory sciences are usually required but the specific courses may vary at different institutions. 

Experiences Helpful to Becoming a Well-Qualified Teacher - other than be the best student one can be.

  • Get the best grades that you can attain in the first two years of coursework. Often a 2.5 or 2.75 GPA is required for acceptance into Teacher Preparation programs. Higher GPA's may help you qualify for scholarships or other special opportunities. Set high goals for yourself - teachers should set high standards for themselves and their students.
  • Volunteer or work with before- or after- school programs, tutor, participate in service learning opportunities in your community or with schools, observe in schools.
  • Learn as much as you can about education. Read articles in the paper and in magazines, explore the internet for related topics. Talk to students, teachers, and parents about what is good about education today and what needs improvement.