The state should ensure that its alternate routes provide efficient preparation that is relevant to the immediate needs of new teachers, as well as intensive induction support. The bar for this goal was raised in 2017.
Maryland offers alternate route preparation programs through the Maryland Approved Alternative Preparation Programs (MAAPP).
Coursework Requirements: Maryland requires MAAPP candidates to complete a minimum of 90 hours of study that may consist of a combination of semester hours and clock hours. Preparation coursework must include elementary reading processes and acquisition or secondary teaching reading in the content areas, as well as a focus on the teaching and learning skills necessary for immediate success as a teacher of record, including classroom management, lesson planning, and state and local school system priorities.
Induction Support: Maryland requires all MAAPP candidates to receive intensive coaching or mentoring throughout the program. The state also requires MAAPP candidates to participate in an internship that lasts between four and eight weeks. Internships can take place in the candidate's supervisor's classroom, in the classroom for which the candidate will eventually assume responsibility as a resident teacher, or in a summer school program. After candidates complete their internship, they move to a residency. Prior to starting the residency, candidates must pass a subject-matter exam in their intended teaching area. Mandated and accountable mentoring support continues throughout their residencies.
Supervised Practice Teaching Requirements: Maryland requires that all alternate route candidates experience supervised practice teaching through the internship component of MAAPP preparation. During the internship, a candidate's teaching is supervised on a daily basis, and candidate's also observe the teaching of the supervising teacher and other teachers.
Maryland State Department of Education, Guidelines for Implementing Approved Alternative Preparation Programs: http://archives.marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/6662E011-70C1-44A0-BD5E-693AE1267EC0/24613/GuidelinesforImplementingApprovedAlternativePrepar.pdf COMAR 13A.12.01.07
Ensure that new teachers are not burdened by excessive requirements.
Maryland should not permit alternate route programs to overburden the new teacher by requiring multiple courses to be taken simultaneously during the school year. Setting high minimum requirements, particularly without established maximums, places new teachers at risk of being overburdened by coursework, and, as a result, not being able to complete the program in an appropriate amount of time.
Maryland recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.
5B: Preparation for the Classroom
Alternate route programs must provide practical, meaningful preparation that is sensitive to a new teacher's workload and stress level. Too many states have policies requiring alternate route programs to "backload" large amounts of traditional education coursework, thereby preventing the emergence of real alternatives to traditional preparation. This issue is especially important given the large proportion of alternate route teachers who complete this coursework while teaching. Alternate route teachers often have to deal with the stresses of beginning to teach while also completing required coursework in the evenings and on weekends. States need to be careful to require participants only to meet standards or complete coursework that is practical and immediately helpful to a new teacher. That is, while advanced pedagogy coursework may be meaningful for veteran teachers, alternate route coursework should build on more fundamental teaching competencies such as classroom management techniques, reading instruction, or curriculum delivery.
Most new teachers—regardless of their preparation—find themselves overwhelmed by taking on their own classrooms. This is especially true for alternate route teachers, who may have had considerably less classroom exposure or pedagogy training than traditionally prepared teachers. States must ensure that alternate route programs do not leave new teachers to "sink or swim" on their own when they begin teaching. It is critical that all alternate route programs provide at least a brief student teaching or other supervised practice experience for candidates before they enter the classroom, as well as ongoing induction support during those first critical months as a new teacher.