Teachers beginning their journey into the classroom often find themselves with many questions about that first moment standing in front of their students. Of all the questions that seem to flow, all of them tend to distill down to one: will I be ready?
Any experienced teacher knows the answer to this question is more complex than a simple “yes” or “no”; readiness to become a high-impact educator is an ongoing journey that begins well before that first moment leading your own classroom.
Indeed, what are the first steps on the journey to great teaching? Whether you’re a high school student exploring a career pathway, a pre-service teacher in a postsecondary program, or a newly inducted educator through an alternative certification program, how can you know if you’re off to a solid start?
Launched earlier this year, the Beginning to Teach stack contains five micro-credentials, which beginning educators can earn to show these key skills:
These micro-credentials are grounded in the Educators Rising Standards, which define what beginning teachers should know and be able to do.
Each micro-credential requires the earner to demonstrate their competencies in a real classroom or learning space. Classroom Culture and Anti-bias Instruction are observation-based, where earners take structured notes while observing a live classroom, and then compose a reflective analysis and action plan for their own classrooms.
In comparison, Collaboration, Formative Assessment, and Learner Engagement are practice-based, where the earner composes a lesson plan, teaches it to students, and then provides artifacts, such as a classroom video excerpt, of the experience with a reflective essay.
In the past month, high school students in Wisconsin, college students in Florida, and rookie teachers in Arkansas have been among the first earners of Beginning to Teach micro-credentials. Four colleges of education are already offering graduate credit for earning micro-credentials, with more colleges and districts signing on to offer incentives to earners.
As beginning teachers hone and develop critical skills for effective teaching, they deserve recognition for that commitment to growth. The Beginning to Teach micro-credential stack is one way to do so.
Additionally, colleges and employers can leverage these micro-credentials to create and sustain talent pipelines of educators who have demonstrated promise for high-impact teaching. The end result is a broader, more skilled talent pool entering the profession and supporting our students.
Learn more about the Beginning to Teach micro-credential stack here.