"Every community should have a talented and dedicated teacher in every classroom. [We have] an enormous opportunity for ensuring teacher quality well into the 21st century, if we recruit promising people into teaching and give them the highest quality preparation and training."
--President Clinton's Call to Action for American Education in the 21st Century
Background. Over the next decade, America's schools will need to hire 2.2 million teachers. More than half of these individuals will be first-time teachers. As classrooms grow more challenging and diverse, these teachers will need to be well prepared to teach all students to the highest standards. Contemporary classrooms and social conditions confront teachers with a range of complex challenges previously unknown in the profession. New education goals and tougher standards, more rigorous assessments, site-based management, greater interest in parental involvement, the continuing importance of safety and discipline, and expanded use of technology increase the knowledge and skills that teaching demands.
How to integrate teacher training into an after-school program. After-school programs can be a great source of prospective teachers by starting teacher cadet programs for middle school and high school students. South Carolina has had a very successful Teacher Cadet Program to identify and nurture middle and high school students to be future teachers (Contact: Janice Poda, 803/323-4032). The Federal Work Study Program that provides reading and math tutors could be a powerful recruitment tool for college students to become teachers. In addition, high school and middle school students could be recruited to tutor younger students. This tutoring could serve as an early training ground for future teachers.
Universities and colleges of education are well suited to participate in or sponsor after-school programs with local school districts. They could staff the programs with students in their teacher training programs, allowing the future teachers to learn both promising and innovative teaching methods, classroom management skills, and content enrichment. This "teaching laboratory" could train teachers to deal with their students in a smaller, less formal setting, thus providing them with insight into building student-teacher relationships during the regular school day. Student teachers could be given the latitude to experiment on delivering content in fun and interesting ways, which can be more difficult to do during the regular school day. In addition, student teachers could establish behavioral boundaries for students in less formal environments. Teachers often report that the flexibility and creativity that they bring to an after-school program can directly transfer to their teaching during the regular school day. Indeed, this involvement in the after-school hours actually strengthens their teaching methods.
Finally, after-school environments can introduce prospective teachers to diverse student populations and at-risk students. By beginning to work with at-risk students and their families prior to entering the teaching force, future teachers will be better aware of the challenges they will face in regular classrooms.
The national goal of having a talented, dedicated and well-prepared teacher in every classroom is very much in line with the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program's goal of providing a variety of academic and enrichment activities to students and parents in the communities which they serve. Examples of how your Center can help include:
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION RESOURCES ON TEACHER QUALITY
As you think about organizing and implementing your after-school program as teaching laboratories for new -- and even experienced -- teachers, these materials can be useful to you:
You can order these materials by calling toll free 1-877-ED-PUBS, order on-line by going to/pubs/edpubs.html, or find them on the U.S. Department of Education's website at /inits/teachers/teach.html
U.S. Department of Education initiatives and teacher training. Three new Teacher Quality Enhancement Grant programs (authorized in Title II of the Higher Education Act) respond to the nation's critical need for high quality teachers by investing in teacher recruitment, preparation, licensing, and support. The following three competitive grant programs are funded at a total of $75 million in fiscal year 1999:
Partnership Grants for Improving Teacher Education.This program, based on the Administration's proposal, will support partnerships among teacher preparation institutions and school districts in high-need areas. To ensure that new teachers can meet the many challenges of today's classrooms, the partners will work to strengthen teacher education through activities such as:
After-School programs provide one good way for Partnerships to provide teacher candidates with the experience they need in the classroom.
State Grants.These grants will encourage states to improve the quality of their teaching force through activities such as:
Teacher Recruitment Grants.This new recruitment initiative will support the efforts of states and school-university partnerships to reduce shortages of qualified teachers in high-need areas. Grant recipients may offer scholarships, high-quality preparation, and support services to prospective teachers who agree to teach in the high-need schools.
Contact and Other Sources of Information:
Initiative Director:Ed Crowe, Office of Postsecondary Education
For more information, contact:
[Think College Early in After-School Programs ]
[ Technology in After-School Programs ]