K-12 Teaching Degrees Tips

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Where can I teach with a K-12 degree?

Teaching In A Small Community

Although, a K-12 degree doesn't require you teach in smaller communites, it can allow you the freedom to do so and meet an incredible group of people in the process. Small town America is slowly shrinking. With the introduction of the Internet, there are fewer areas of this country that are unreachable. Teaching in smaller towns and communities can offer a quieter and slower way of life. Students here are just as eager-to-learn as those you'll find in the larger cities, but may not have the same opportunities as more publicly funded school districts. This is the chance to broaden their horizons and open their eyes to possibilities outside the town's boarders, but it also may help them feel more secure in their quiet place of the world.

How can I learn to teach while I'm in school?

Getting Practical Experience

Ask your counselor for teaching assistant or aide programs, or internships where you can learn from practical experience while earning college credit. If your school does not offer such opportunities, ask about finding your own or volunteering and how that could be applied as college credit.

Even if you cannot earn credit, volunteer. It will be some of the best learning you will ever get. Actual hands on interaction with the students, teachers, administrators and parents can increase your knowledge base exponentially. Plus, it puts you in touch with those in the field and helps you network for future job openings.

Teachers Count (teacherscount.org), United Way (United Way), Girl Scouts (Girlscouts.org), YMCA (YMCA.org) and a multitude of other organizations offer teaching opportunities and a chance to interact with the ages of students you'll experience with a K-12 degree.

Who can I teach with a K-12 degree?

A K-12 Teaching Degree

The K-12 degree program simply means a degree in education. It's a broad based degree but the specific courses are determined on what grade and subject the future teacher wants to enter. All teaching students will be required to cover the basics of education, teaching techniques and trends, and grade appropriate studies. The four specific areas covered in the degree plan are early education, elementary, middle and high schools.

Do education courses simply transfer to another education college?

Traditional Classes vs. Online Classes

Just like any degree plan, things are scheduled out by semester and when you bring in classes from other universities (traditional or online) it can expedite or slow things down. Students who are eager to finish may decide to double up on classes to quicken the time to graduation but when deciding on taking classes at more than one institution, make sure the classes will transfer, how many college credits you'll earn, and will they apply to your degree plan.

When talking to the different counselors, be sure to take your transcripts and course catalogue and if you're an older student, find out if "life experience" credits are available as well.

After talking to the counselors at the different universities, get everything in writing and save a copy.


Textbook Child vs. Real Child

In nursing school, they taught us all about the textbook patient and when we all started our first jobs as nurses, none of us ever met a textbook patient. It's because they don't exist and neither do textbook children. It can be a real eye opener when you find out the students aren't going to follow the scenario spelled out in your books but textbooks can't account for every child, every student, every personality.

Not every child in our classroom is a "textbook child;" meaning they do not all fall into one of the categories we might have covered in our teaching degree classes. Each child is different and comes with his or her own uniqueness. Get to know various child types by engaging in hands-on education activities. If your college offers internships, teaching aide or assistant programs, or volunteer opportunities for college credit, take them up on it as soon as possible. Interacting in real classroom environments can certainly put a new appreciation of the profession and the amazing opportunities. It can also have you running away screaming, deciding teaching isn't what you want to be. Don't despair. It's better to find out sooner rather than later that teaching a room full of excited third graders isn't where you want to spend the next 30 years of your life. Instead, re-evaluate what grades you want to teach and volunteer in those classrooms before deciding to pitch the teaching idea altogether.


State Requirement Changes

What happens if the state you're living in and working in changed their teaching and education requirements while you're still in school? It happens, but it's important not to panic. Many times, those already enrolled in college programs are exempt or grandfathered in to the pre-existing clauses when changes are made by the state legislator. Other states may allow a certain period of time for teachers and soon to be graduate teachers to earn additional certifications and degrees. Check with your counselor or board of education to find out the details.

Will my school know what the state wants me to take?

Degree Plans By State

Education degree requirements will vary depending on the state you will teach in. When deciding on an online degree plan, verify they have the classes your state requires for teachers. If there is any question, take your state's requirements to your school counselor and review your degree plan to the state's. This can save you a huge amount of hassle and frustration later. Online colleges try very hard to offer all the required classes their students will need to earn degrees and succeed but state legislators change requirements from time to time. Keep up with your state's education board and keep in touch with your counselor.

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Barbara Gibson