Alaska presents many opportunities for those interested in becoming a teacher. For one thing, the salary is much higher in this state because of its colder climate and its distance from the continental US. The opportunities for outdoor activities abound, as do the scenic vistas of the snow capped mountains and glaciers. Most school districts in Alaska have a high rate of turnover as the teachers with experience move back to schools closer to their hometowns. In order to teach in this state, you must have a Bachelor’s degree in a teachable subject. This means that your major concentration must be in a subject that is taught in the regular school system. You must also graduate from an approved teacher-training program.
In order to be hired as a teacher in Alaska, you must be certified by the state. This means that you must pass the appropriate teacher certification exam for the grade level or content area you want to teach. The exams accepted for teacher certification in Alaska are the Praxis, CBEST and WBEST exams. Your scores have to be on file at the certification office before you can receive your initial teaching certificate.
As a first year teacher or one new to the state or school system you will be evaluated on a periodic basis throughout the year. Therefore you must be knowledgeable about the content standards, performance standards and benchmark standards for the curriculum areas and grade levels. The outcomes based education system also requires that you are knowledgeable about how to develop and teach lessons that will help students achieve these outcomes.
In addition to having a degree, a teacher training program and a teaching certificate, all applicants for teaching positions in Alaska are required to be knowledgeable about the state and its people. Therefore, before you can become a teacher here, you must complete courses in Alaska studies and multicultural education. Students attending school in larger centers of the state come from all over the world, while the schools in the rural areas have mainly students from the native cultures of the state. It is really helpful if you can speak one of the native languages so that you can communicate easier with the parents and the elders in the community.
The principal of each school is responsible for interviewing the teachers and recommending the candidates who are to be hires. In general, the selection process for a teacher for a job in Alaska involves looking for a person who portrays the following traits and experiences:
- Possess the skills to help all students achieve high standards
- Have the ability to teach subjects outside of their skill set
- Be willing to coordinate and help out at extracurricular activities in the school and community
- Be able to steer clear of community or band politics and not get too involved in community disagreements
- Be able to deal with and communicate with a wide variety of cultures
- Employ a wide variety of instructional methodologies and assessment techniques in the classroom
- Be able to form partnerships between the school and the community