Teacher Licensing – Out With The Old & In With…

A new chapter has started in the U.S. and with that comes many new educational challenges, with some key ones on the agenda. One of which is the issue of teacher licensing. Many say the system is outdated and old fashioned, and that the high failure rate is causing a mass shortage of teachers in many states.

All around the world there seems to be a shortage of teachers, not just here in the U.S. and although worldwide there is not the same type of licensing system in place, it’s still a problem. I think it’s not just licensing that is an issue when it comes to creating, essentially, the future and that is the system as a whole. We have teachers who have been teachers for longer than I’ve had some t-shirts (and I’ve had some t-shirts a REALLY long time.) and they have seen many things come and go, but the basis of their job has remained the same.

The difficulty now is, the students know more about some of the subjects, or at least the technologies used, than the teachers do. A teacher’s job used to be standing in front of a class and teaching them. Imparting knowledge on to our future generation, ensuring that the are ready for the world of work that awaits them.

The World Has Changed…

Today, however, the world of work has changed dramatically and technology has vastly changed that too, both inside out outside the classroom. Children are learning not just how to use iPads or tablets and computers, but learning to code from 10 years old. As a teacher, you are expected to impart knowledge of things that are constantly changing.

This is why, with the changes in the world around us, the role of the old school teacher has also changed. No longer do we need a teacher, we need a mentor. We need that person who can help us find the answers, check the validity of those facts and get us to understand this new world, while helping us discover ourselves and find our way. ¬†As such preparing the children of today for a future of unknown jobs, and potentially ones that don’t even exist yet.

The shift in this role also should bring about a change in the way teachers obtain their licenses. There is talk of a tiered system where you can gain a basic license, based on experience, and then further that with more assessments. Yet, as we know from our children; are assessments like this really something to help us understand the measure of that teacher? Is it the same for teachers across all ages, too?

Change The System!

It’s easy to sit back and say, “It’s time for change!” Yet, in reality, we all know that education is a large ship, that is slow to turn. With that, if you look at the trends in education that are really coming through to match the fast paced, technology driven market, one of these is Micro Credentials.
If you don’t know what they are; imagine your degree being broken up into many smaller chunks of learning, that can be swapped out by the student to subjects that suit the learner better, or fit what they would like to do in the future. Not, with the current system of having to do ABC classes to pass all of your degree, whether it was going to really be something you wanted to do.

Now, people are looking at using micro credentials for teacher and educators, too. Why can’t this be adopted as a part of the teacher licensing process? You can gain your basic license, but to specialize, you build up your license with a set of points you have to obtain with a mix of both experience and micro credentials. Why not have it so that, instead of assessments, teachers have to keep up X number of points per year? This would mean the teacher licensing process not only keeps teachers up to date with modern technologies and different subjects, but also gave a level of flexibility in the areas.

Let’s try and create a system that empowers our teachers to be those mentors and to keep them educating and inspiring our children to be prepared for their future. Let’s encourage our teachers and give them the power to make a difference, maybe then we wouldn’t have such a shortage of what is possibly the most powerful job in the world.