I want to be a high school teacher. Where to go?

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Discus: College Search and Selection: September 2003 Archive: I want to be a high school teacher. Where to go?
By Donna1787 (Donna1787) on Saturday, September 13, 2003 - 11:27 pm: Edit

What's the best school for education? My first choice is Columbia, but prestige aside, is it really that good for my major? How far will a prestigious school get me, anyway?

By Xtech (Xtech) on Saturday, September 13, 2003 - 11:34 pm: Edit

prestige isn't as important for HS teaching as compared to being a proffesor or something. Where do you live? I know the College of New Jersey churns out lots of great teachers every year. I live in northern Jersey and we get lots of new teachers from them, and the district pays pretty well too. The more senior teachers can make triple digits.

By Obh100 (Obh100) on Sunday, September 14, 2003 - 04:06 am: Edit

NYU has a good education school...

By Baltodad (Baltodad) on Sunday, September 14, 2003 - 09:24 am: Edit

Go to the best public university in your home state. No use paying top dollar and saddling yourself with massive debt on a teacher's salary. Your state's public universities will also be best attuned to what kind of curriculum the school systems in the state want to see on your job application.

Sometimes you can get tuition assistance by agreeing to teach in a subject area with teacher shortage (math/science usually). Same thing with agreeing to teach a certain number of years in a geographic area with teacher shortage (e.g., urban or rural).

By Donna1787 (Donna1787) on Sunday, September 14, 2003 - 12:40 pm: Edit

I live in Ohio, but I have no intention of sticking around for college. I want to live in NYC, and Columbia, like I said, is a goal. I want to be a Social Studies teacher, and I know that prestige isn't a big issue for teachers...but...

I want to go to a good school on the East Coast, preferably in a big city, w/ a good education program. Any suggestions?

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Sunday, September 14, 2003 - 10:09 pm: Edit

First, are you sure you can take education courses as an undergraduate at Columbia? I thought Columbia Teacher's College was only a graduate level program. I might be wrong so double check.

Second, the education requirements for teaching at the high school level are different than for elementary school. At the high school level, in order to be credentialed in any state, you need a degree in the subject area you want to teach --- then usually there are additional teaching classes required. Not every school will offer the education classes on the undergraduate level -many will have 5 year BA/teaching credential programs so research carefully.

That said, if you want to teach history, aim for the best history program you can get into even if there isn't an undergraduate teaching program. You do not have to get your undergraduate degree in the state where you want to teach because you can then get your credential in a fifth year program if necessary.

Finally, you might want to find out exactly what the requirements are to become credentialed in NY and other Northeastern states -- as well as which schools will have undergraduate credential programs. Try this web site - the NY State Department of Education's web site that lets you do a search for schools offering the credential:

Another site with lots of information about what it takes to teach in NY: www.higheredinysed.gov/tcert

Good luck.

By Obh100 (Obh100) on Monday, September 15, 2003 - 03:24 am: Edit

well if you want to live in NYC and have a school with a good education school, and have a reasonable chance of getting in, check out NYU like I said before...

By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Monday, September 15, 2003 - 08:28 am: Edit

I think the posts answering you are correct. States differ in their requirements for certification and NY is one of the more rigorous--you need a masters to be a certified teacher these days though older teachers are "grandfathered" into the new requirements. There are basically two routes to becoming a teacher. You can go to any college and major in the subject you want to teach and get your education requirements either as electives if the school offers them, or during the summer or by taking an extra year or two afterwards. Or if you teach in a private school you may not need the education credits or certification. Or, you can go to a school with a good education department, major in secondary education and directly get into teaching. Those schools will lead you directly through the certification process and the goal of these programs is to get you a job in a public school. These programs are very much atuned to their state certification requirements. Many times you are better off doing this route if you want a job right away in the public school environment. Most of the hiring personelle and staff have gone that route and it takes them an instant to assess such credentials.
Columbia and other highly selective schools often do not have an undergraduate or direct education department and you would have to piece together your preparation yourself as in the first option I outlined. I did that going to a highly selective school with an ancillary program for education that was not directly in their undergraduated schools and by taking education courses at community colleges and a local teachers college at much lower prices. Columbia's teachers college, I believe is graduate level or for the older student who is going back to school. There are, however some schools that do offer an education major on the undergraduate level, and are also highly selective like NYU or Bucknell (just 2 that come to mind). But again if you want to go to work right after high school, you need to know the requirements of the state where you are going to teach--they vary.
Also, I want to warn you that though there is a teachers shortage, the "plum" jobs are very competitive and hard to get. Meaning jobs that pay alot and are in the safe, well-to do suburbs. the outlying areas where people do not want to go and the inner cities or the schools that do not pay a living wage are the ones that are crying for teachers. In my current and former public school districts, each job gets about 400 applicants. The pay is great and the jobs are in safe, upscale areas. Most of the teachers in both of these districts (different states) graduated from the education programs from their state "teachers colleges" as they were often called. Schools of that sort are, for example, Slippery Rock in Pa, SUNY in NY, any of the Ohio state school--Ohio U, Ohio State, Miami of Ohio, Bowling Green, U of Cincinatti,, Salisbury State in Maryland.Any of the state flagship schools also have a large bustling teachers program--Ohio State, Penn State, U of Md,etc.
Good luck.

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