The Texas State Board of Educational Certification has created a plan to issue temporary teaching certificates to anyone who can pass its test.
The new bill allows anyone to teach in the classroom, provided the individual can pass a criminal records check and holds a bachelor’s degree.
Many would argue that the temporary teaching certificates are good for the public educational situation statewide. Schools are in bad shape and some former professionals in the classroom could provide valuable life experience to students.
To a certain extent, the supporters of this plan are right. The professionals turned teachers will be able to fill teaching positions and the background checks will ensure that criminals are not running classrooms.
But as a student pursuing an educational certification, this plan does not seem like a step in the right direction.
I have talked to other students who took the certification exam, and it is supposedly difficult. The exam tests the teacher’s subject field, as well as the concepts of classroom management and student interaction.
Though I have not taken the examination myself, it probably does a good job of making sure that the future teacher’s know their stuff.
But teaching is about more than just performing well on a test. It is about hundreds of individual connections between the teacher and the student. It is about raising children and providing an encouraging learning environment.
You cannot test that.
You cannot determine whether or not a teacher will yell at the children based on the bubbles he marked on a scantron.
A standardized test may be able to measure an individual’s intellectual knowledge of how to react in a given classroom confrontation, but it cannot measure an individual’s ability to implement that knowledge.
With the new policy, the SBEC has provided a way to fill holes in current teaching rosters across the state.
But in doing so, it has placed the responsibility of training teachers squarely on the shoulders of the school districts, many of which don’t have enough money to teach the children properly, much less train green teachers.
And though the plan may have good intentions, I am afraid Texas will rely more and more on temporary teachers. I am afraid the temporary patch for a teacher shortage will become ingrained in the state educational system.