How to Become a Certified Texas Teacher
Deciding to teach is an indication you are interested in joining an engaging, worthwhile, and yet challenging profession. It is important to recognize that schools are a microcosm of society. Just as society has changed (i.e., technological advancements) and become more diverse, so too have schools, and they may be quite different from what you recall as a student. Schools need highly effective teachers who are passionate about supporting the learning of a diverse student population. We offer tips and issues to consider as you embark on this exciting journey.
Uncover What Draws You to Teaching
What aspects of schooling draw you to teaching? Are you inspired by your experiences in school or by a particular teacher? Are you interested in working with students of a specific age or do you love a special subject? Answering these questions will help you make important decisions.
Excellent teachers are needed at all levels—elementary, middle, and high school. So, give some thought to areas that best fit your interest and the ways in which you would like to contribute. Elementary school teachers are typically generalists responsible for teaching multiple topics to a group of students while supporting the development of children and providing foundations for lifelong learning. Middle school teachers must attend to the developmental needs of the young adolescent and often teach one or two subjects to several groups of different students. High school teachers are subject matter specialists (e.g., mathematics) who prepare students for college, career, and life. We encourage you to explore opportunities at all levels to debunk preconceived notions, which leads to our second recommendation.
Serve as a Mentor, Teacher, or Facilitator
We suggest spending time with students at each age level prior to making any final decisions toward teaching. For example, more males might become elementary teachers if they explored the potential for contributions at that level. We have found many prospective teachers assume they prefer teaching high school, but develop an affinity towards the middle grades after working with such students.
The key is to keep an open mind while considering preferences and exploring possibilities. You might engage in one or more of the following activities:
- Tutor students to explore your abilities to share your knowledge and support the learning of others. Remember the goal is not to show what you know, but to provide opportunities for others to make sense of the subject matter they are learning.
- Volunteer for group activities in formal or informal educational settings to provide insights about your engagement and comfort with students of various age groups.
- Visit schools/Shadow teachers as an adult and consider what it means to be responsible for students’ learning. Visit a range of schools and talk to teachers at different career stages in teaching.
- Serve as a substitute teacher to explore what it means to teach, even if just on a temporary basis. Many school districts need substitute teachers, and some have development programs to support individuals who serve in this capacity.
Engaging in such activities provides opportunities to interact with children in low-risk environments as you experience what it means to have someone under your tutelage. Such experiences provide early indications about the joy that comes with teaching (i.e., seeing the light bulb turn on when a student “gets it” or connects ideas).
Obtaining Your Teaching Credentials
Once committed to becoming a teacher, you need to consider available pathways to obtain your teaching credentials.
Making a decision about which path to take will be influenced by a number of factors, including your personal circumstances, available options, and what you expect to glean from the program. Do your research and select the options that best meet your needs with the goal to become an effective teacher. Teaching is some of the most challenging work you will ever do, but it can also be some of the most rewarding. We wish you the best as you enter the profession.
“I worked as a dentist for 20 years and then was recruited by the military to serve as medical officer which I did for another 15 years. When I was ready to retire from that, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. Honestly, I felt a little lost. My son suggested I teach, but I was pretty skeptical. I visited a bunch of alternative certification programs, but when I met with Teachworthy, they were not pushy, but very helpful and patient in answering all my questions. And I had a lot. I’ve been a teacher for 2 years now and highly recommend Teachworthy. They are so supportive, responsive and available.”
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If you have a bachelor degree or are about to graduate with one, you can qualify to become a certified teacher in Texas by completing 3 steps:
- Apply: Go to Teachworthy.org, complete the Teachworthy Application online and submit your unofficial college transcript. If you meet the minimum GPA requirement of 2.5 overall or in your last 60 hours, you will be admitted.
- Train and Test: You will need to prepare for and pass a content proficiency exam in the subject area you want to teach. Teachworthy guides you to the resources needed to be successful. Once you pass the content exam, your training to become a prepared excellent teacher will begin.
- Teach: Teachworthy will help you search for a teaching position using our Job Portal and relationships across Texas. Once you start teaching, Teachworthy will assign you a master educator as your Field Supervisor who will support, encourage and guide you through your successful first year of teaching. You will also take the PPR (Professional Pedagogy and Responsibilities Exam) that is required of all Alternative Certified Teachers. Teachworthy will prepare you for this as well.