This article was originally posted on one of my older sites. It is reposted here to serve as a test post for this new website.
As the summer quickly fades away and the start of school is on the horizon, hiring an Alternative Certified Program Teacher “might” be a better choice than hiring someone from the Traditional Certified Teacher route.
Bad Attitude – When I was in graduate school, we had someone from the district office present to our class. I can’t remember her name or what position she held…probably because I wasn’t impressed and she made a claim that wasn’t true! In her presentation, she made a negative comment about Alternative Certified Program Teachers. When I pressed on the topic, what she said would apply to any first year teacher struggling with “the first year.” But this attitude is one that I have encountered many times.
The truth is that I have seen good and bad ACP teachers. I have also seen good and bad Traditional Route Teachers. I have heard numerous conversations on how the education program at the university didn’t “prepare” the teacher to do the job they were required to do in the classroom. And I have seen ACP teachers come in and handle a classroom with ease and be very successful.
The key is personality and character! You can always teach curriculum to someone. You can’t teach someone how to get a long with others, how to team plan, how to put in the extra time that is needed to be successful, etc…
If you find yourself hiring an ACP teacher, these are some things to consider.
I have seen ACP teachers come in and teach English/Language Arts very successfully. But, it might be a smoother transition to teach Math, Science, Social Studies/History or something concrete. By focusing on something more black and white, the teacher can focus a little more on classroom management techniques and procedures.
It is always a good idea to assign a mentor to a new teacher. It is a real good idea to assign a mentor to an ACP teacher, preferably someone who has the “heart” of a teacher. And if you have a successful ACP teacher on your campus, that would be good too! That teacher will know exactly what the new teacher is going through.
Check up on the ACP teacher. Not to spy and bring down the hammer. But to offer guidance, help and set some expectations and goals. Administrators should already be doing this anyway. But it is a good practice to spend some extra time with a new teacher.
ACP teachers with a little bit of life experience decided to make the move into education out of a desire to teach and help kids learn. They didn’t go to school, get stuck in a degree plan and followed that plan to the conclusion – teaching.
Most successful ACP teachers I know have had some sort of management background. They know how to communicate effectively with people. This is a highly desirable skill on a campus that values team planning and a positive school atmosphere.
ACP teachers are usually very familiar with technology. The business world requires you to learn and know their software. In education, we offer a staff development, then re-offer it, then talk about how others are using it, then re-offer it, then somewhere a long the line, when the software is obsolete, we force teachers to start using it. (I’ve helped teachers with computer problems and glanced at hundreds and hundreds of unopened email!)
Ultimately, you have to pick the right candidate for the position. But don’t count out an ACP teacher! You might be losing out on the next teacher of the year!
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