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.
Ohio offers an alternate route to certification through its Alternative Resident Educator License.
Coursework Requirements: Ohio alternate route candidates participate in the Intensive Pedagogical Training Institute (IPTI) or an intensive summer training program. The state has provided course guidelines for ITPI that fall under three modules: Teaching as a Profession, Student Development and Learning, and Essentials of Teaching Practice. Information to be included in the modules focus on student development and learning, pupil-assessment procedures, curriculum development, classroom management and teaching methodology.
Candidates must also participate in the Ohio teacher residency program and complete 12 semester hours, or the equivalent, of college coursework in the principles and practices of teaching in such topics as student development and learning, pupil assessment procedures, curriculum development, classroom management, and teaching methodology. The latter requirement can also be met by a candidate taking professional development provided during the IPTI or summer training program. Candidates are expected to take a pedagogy exam during the second year of teaching under this license.
Induction Support: Ohio requires candidates with an Alternative Resident Educator License to complete the Ohio Resident Teacher Program, which includes extensive mentoring that takes place during the first two years of the residency program. The residency continues for another two years, during which candidates work with a facilitator to complete a performance-based exam and participate in modules aimed at exploring teacher leadership opportunities. Each local program is given the autonomy to establish the policies and procedures that provide guidance regarding the activities to be completed during the mentoring years.
Supervised Practice Teaching Requirements: Ohio does not require that Alternate Resident Educator License candidates participate in a supervised practice teaching opportunity. The state does require that candidates complete a 25-hour field experience within six months of acceptance into the IPTI, and these experiences can take place in several environments, including public schools, private schools, before and after school programs, summer school, student intervention programs, camps, and— for some candidates— preschools. IPTI further requires that applicants arrange their own field experiences.
Ohio Revised Code 3319.26; 3319.223 Ohio Department of Education, Alternative Resident Educator Licenses: http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Teaching/Licensure/Resident-License-Options/Alternative-Resident-Educator-Licenses Ohio Department of Education, Intensive Pedagogical Training Institute FAQs: http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Teaching/Licensure/Resident-License-Options/Alternative-Resident-Educator-Licenses/Intensive-Pedagogical-Training-Institute-FAQs Ohio Department of Education, Resident Educator Program: http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Teaching/Resident-Educator-Program Ohio Department of Education, Mentor Standards for the Ohio Resident Educator Program: http://education.ohio.gov/getattachment/Topics/Teaching/Resident-Educator-Program/For-Mentors/Mentor_Standards_for_Ohio_Resident_Educator_Program.pdf.aspx
Strengthen the induction experience for new teachers.
While Ohio is commended for requiring all new teachers to take part in an intensive mentoring program, it is unclear that the mentoring program is structured for new teacher success. The state should strengthen its induction experience by providing for: intensive mentoring with full classroom support in the first few weeks or months of school, a reduced teaching load, and release time to allow new teachers to observe experienced educators.
Require opportunities to practice teach.
Although Ohio does require candidates to participate in a field experience, the associated requirements—such as having candidates arrange their own practice teaching opportunities and the leniency of the placement environment—are of questionable value. The state should ensure that all candidates are provided with a school-based, practice teaching opportunity prior to their placement in the classroom.
Ohio was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced 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.