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Philadelphia Schools Trying For Better Teachers

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Summary: All schools need teachers. What's more important, however, is that the schools, even Philadelphia Schools, need excellent teachers. Excellent teachers bring many qualities to their classrooms. It's hard to say what's most important in regards to characteristics that make teachers great; classroom management, knowledge of subject area, good communication skills with parents, students, and administration, participation in continuing education (required by most, if not all schoo...

All schools need teachers. What's more important, however, is that the schools, even Philadelphia Schools, need excellent teachers. Excellent teachers bring many qualities to their classrooms. It's hard to say what's most important in regards to characteristics that make teachers great; classroom management, knowledge of subject area, good communication skills with parents, students, and administration, participation in continuing education (required by most, if not all school systems), or a college education. All are indisputable musts for a good teacher. Philadelphia Public Schools recognize this and are working very hard to improve current faculty, and to hire and retain the excellent teachers their students deserve. Teachers today don't always look like the fresh-faced 21 year old college graduates of the past. Instituting an alternate-route teacher certification program is one way that Philadelphia Schools are expanding efforts to attract new teachers. This program looks for folks working in the private sector who may want a career change, or have always felt they had something to give to Philadelphia Schools students. Recruiting people from the business world to become teachers is a popular method to solve critical teacher shortages across the country. There are tons of people out there who may have never thought of giving teaching a try, but would make excellent educators for Philadelphia Schools. I know a Kindergarten teacher who is decided to changed careers to go into teaching. She's a former marketing executive who decided two years ago that she needed a change. Raising her daughter on her own, she wanted the convenience of having the same schedule as her child. Teaching is something that she's always wanted to do, and with the added benefit of going to work with her daughter, it was a good switch for her to make. Add into the bargain that she's an excellent teacher who is driven and dedicated to giving her students the best, and viola! a great teacher for Philadelphia Schools was born. It's easy to see, with the above illustration, how school districts like the one serving Philadelphia Schools are turning to people working in the private sector to pick up the chalk. At the same time, Philadelphia Schools are also trying to upgrade the qualifications of classroom teachers by cutting the number of Philadelphia Schools teachers with emergency certifications (those teaching out-of-field, i.e. a music teacher who is currently teaching special ed) and by raising the certification rate throughout Philadelphia Schools, especially among new teachers. By providing more curricular and coaching support, the Philadelphia Schools are helping its teachers improve their skills. Only by focusing their efforts on recruiting new Philadelphia Schools teachers, keeping them in the classroom, and improving the teaching staff they have, can Philadelphia Schools hope to improve and raise the bar for their educators.
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