Aristotle said that “All who have meditated on the art of governing mankind have been convinced that the fate of empires depends on the education of youth.” If what he said is true, then teaching is a noble and necessary art indeed.
Today our schools employ three million teachersand rely on 27,000 programs in 2,000 separate institutions for training teachers. The demands on teachers are growing, and the need for highly-skilled and qualified teachers grows along with it. Teachers today prepare 180 lessons a year in a variety of subjects and are with young people for seven hours a day. They are expected to prepare lessons, problem solve, deal individually, lead small groups, facilitate projects, grade papers, meet with parents, and remain positive in the face of opposition.
Not only do elementary teachers face these constant challenges, but within each lesson they must break down the day into smaller segments while managing, in some cases, 30 or more children. The emotional, physical, and mental demands to teach the young requires robust training and moral perseverance.
We have all experienced the good teachers and those . . . not so good. There are teachers that make an impact—who inspire, instruct, discipline, and accompany on the journey we call life. Parents know this when their son or daughter comes home reporting the fun they had in class, and the parent notices this was not mere entertainment, but meaningful learning instilled by a teacher who has mastered the craft.
In hopes to effectively train more teachers in response to the growing need, our colleges and universities are striving to meet the challenge. Many schools are strengthening student teaching, that is the mentor, supervisor, and teacher/candidate’s relationship in the training process because studies show it is perhaps the most vital component.
Others are increasing expectations with higher selection criteria. All are continuing to address which classes are most relevant for effective training and increasing research-based, data-driven, and tech-integrated training. With the help of various national organizations, many institutions are making strides to train smarter, better, and higher-skilled teachers.
The National Council for Teacher Quality 2016 Landscape in Teacher Preparation examined 875 traditional undergraduate elementary programs. Because the demands placed on elementary teachers to teach early reading, social studies, math, literature and more in a structured and loving learning environment, schools were rated in these key areas.
The NCTQ stressed the need for stronger early reading and math preparation, classroom management, and selection criteria for entering programs. Another organization striving to meet the challenge of preparing teachers for the 21st century is the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE). The AACTE represents more than 800 postsecondary institutions with educator preparation programs dedicated to high-quality, evidence-based preparation that assures educators are ready to teach all learners.
They offer seven key questions to guide research into a program’s effectiveness. We have examined key findings from these institutions and compared Elementary Education programs around the nation.
If you feel called to teach and are looking for a program that will prepare you for the demands of the noble art, you need to choose wisely. At College Choice that is what we’re all about, helping you make a choice that will put you on the path to success.
There are many ways to evaluate teacher education programs: accreditation, testimony, relevant coursework, a strong student teaching experience, and affordability are critical factors. In narrowing down your options, we always recommend a visit to campus, conversations with students, staff, and if possible graduates that went through the program.
Our Top 35 Bachelor’s in Elementary Education ranking is rooted in three criteria scores: a school’s reputation score, calculated using selected categories of statistics from publicly available sources such as U.S. News & World Report, the National Center for Education Statistics, and college websites, an affordability rating using net price calculators, an average early salary (from payscale.com), and specific program ratings from the National Council for Teacher Quality 2016 ranking.