Called to teach : a multiple case study investigating the preparation experiences of four alternatively certified teachers.

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Across the United States many schools continue to face problems because of teacher attrition and lack of retention. Contributing to attrition are teachers that are alternatively certified. Teachers with an alternative certification are more likely to leave the profession than teachers that trained through a traditional certification process. Alternative certification (AC) programs are fast paced programs designed to get each perspective teacher in to a classroom as quickly as possible. Because AC programs tend to focus speedy transitions into the work place for teacher candidates, the programs often overlook all necessary components of teacher training. AC programs tend to miss the mark in providing teachers with proper student teaching experience along with other key components of teachers training. This study provides insight into the preparation and induction experiences of AC teachers. A qualitative case study design help to explore this topic through the perspective of the teacher participants. The experiences of each teacher provided vital insight into AC programs. Adding further depth to the study was the voices of two high school administrator’s who were involved in the hiring process of each of the AC teacher participants. The administrators’ voices provided insight and support to the experiences of the AC teachers. During the analysis of the data, the teachers interviews and administrator interviews were used to conduct a cross-case analysis that provided insight into the strengths and weaknesses of AC teachers and programs. The findings from the study offers further perspective on AC preparation to high school administrator’s, directors of AC programs, and those considering AC in the future. Findings revealed AC programs provide some foundational training for teachers but the speed at which the programs work leave gaps in key teacher preparation experiences. The findings provide insight the importance of community, resilience, and the impact that previous content knowledge has early in AC teachers careers. One of the more interesting findings uncovered in this study was how AC teachers noted several times that they felt called to teach and that was a sustaining factor early in their careers.

Alternative certification. Alternatively certified teachers. Calling.