Heather Wolpert-Gawron

Part 2 of 3: The Future of Teacher Prep Programs

By on February 26, 2010

In yesterday’s post, Part I of 3: The Future of Teacher Prep Programs, I fantasized about what a credential program might look like years down the line. Here is Part II of my post that will address the following points:

The Staff

Awards Towards a Differentiated Credential

Again, I feel the need to reiterate that I do not have the answers. This is my brainstorm, backed up with nothing more than my musings. I don’t know how to fund it. What I do know is that there are problems with our current credential programs, and to solve them first takes dreaming…


The staff: Once a candidate is accepted into a teacher prep program, he or she will find that every classroom houses a current expert. That is, an educator that is still a part-time classroom teacher teaches every class. The staff must be made up of teachers who straddle both worlds, that of the classroom teacher and the educator of teachers. Many of our present day programs have lived the end of the adage, “Those who can’t do, teach. Those who can’t teach, teach teachers.” OK, so that isn’t the real ending of the adage, and it’s probably not that old, but it’s no less true. Teacher credential programs of the future change that perception.

In the future, classroom teachers can apply to be Master Teachers in prep programs as a hybrid teacher career path. Teachers who are on such paths are actually salaried by the prep program but receive their health insurance through the school district as a means to split the compensation for the teacher and their contribution to both institutions. It is vital to the prep program that their teachers be working classroom teachers, and it is brag-able to a district to have a certain number of Master Teachers in their classrooms.

Awards Towards a Differentiated Credential: We need to indicate that there are those who graduate with a credential and those who graduate with Honors in Education. Thereby the credential itself becomes differentiated. The teacher preparation programs of tomorrow award a Chiron Award to graduating candidates of great potential. Think about Chiron, the centaur, who taught Jason, Heracles, Ajax, and Percy Jackson. This mythical teacher represented all things wise, kind, and equitable. He was noble, and his ability to teach allowed him to become immortal, earning him a place in the constellations.

This award has some weight for potential future employers not unlike PhiBetaKappa might have with others. Schools staffed with multiple Chiron Award recipients are rare, but the winners are sought after as some of the best and brightest new teachers in our country. This award and its recipients represent the teacher we are all supposed to want to be.

Perhaps being awarded this or other created badges will allow a new teacher to enter the salary scale at a higher level or some other incentive. Regardless, in the teacher prep programs of the future, the credentials are possibly as differentiated as are the candidates.

Soon to Come: Part 3 of 3: The Future of Teacher Prep Programs

The Curriculum

The Student Teacher Apprenticeship Program

Relationships Between Districts and Teacher Prep Programs

Graduation Requirements

…And Beyond

Looking at categories like these, the staff and ways to differentiate the teacher credential, what is your fantasy for the future of teacher prep programs?

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