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How would I go about becoming a secondary education teacher/school administrator?

I am a high school junior at Boston Collegiate with a solid GPA and lots of extracurricular activities that I enjoy partaking in. I love tutoring kids of all ages, from homework help to studying for quizzes. That being said, I'd like to become a high school English teacher, but I am also interested in eventually becoming a high school principal or director. What colleges should I look into to pursue this career? I'd prefer to stay in either New England (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island), but I am also opening to looking into New York State.
Thanks! #education #colleges #principal

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James Constantine’s Answer

Dear Hannah,

Becoming a Secondary Education Teacher/School Administrator

To become a secondary education teacher or school administrator, you will need to follow a series of steps that typically involve obtaining the necessary education, gaining relevant experience, and meeting certification requirements. Here is a comprehensive guide on how you can pursue a career in secondary education:

1. Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree: The first step towards becoming a high school English teacher or school administrator is to earn a bachelor’s degree in education or a related field. Many colleges and universities offer programs specifically designed for aspiring educators.

2. Complete a Teacher Preparation Program: After completing your bachelor’s degree, you will need to enroll in a teacher preparation program. These programs provide the pedagogical training and classroom experience necessary to become an effective teacher.

3. Obtain Teacher Certification: In most states, including Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New York, teachers are required to be certified by the state’s board of education. This typically involves passing exams and fulfilling other requirements set by the state.

4. Gain Teaching Experience: To become a successful educator, it is essential to gain practical teaching experience. Consider working as a substitute teacher, tutor, or teaching assistant to build your skills and confidence in the classroom.

5. Pursue Advanced Education: If you aspire to become a high school principal or director, consider pursuing a master’s degree in educational leadership or administration. Advanced degrees can enhance your qualifications for leadership roles within schools.

6. Obtain Administrative Certification: In addition to obtaining teaching certification, aspiring school administrators must also meet specific requirements for administrative certification. These requirements vary by state but often include completing an approved program and passing an exam.

Colleges to Consider in New England and New York State

Harvard Graduate School of Education (Massachusetts): Harvard offers prestigious programs in education that can prepare you for both teaching and leadership roles in schools.

Boston College Lynch School of Education (Massachusetts): Boston College’s Lynch School of Education is known for its strong teacher preparation programs and focus on social justice in education.

Teachers College, Columbia University (New York): Teachers College at Columbia University is one of the leading institutions for graduate studies in education and offers programs tailored for future educators and administrators.

By following these steps and considering reputable institutions like those mentioned above, you can work towards achieving your goal of becoming a secondary education teacher or school administrator.

Top 3 Authoritative Sources Used:

U.S. Department of Education: The U.S. Department of Education provides information on accreditation standards, certification requirements, and resources for aspiring educators.

National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP): NASSP offers valuable insights into the role of secondary school principals and provides guidance on professional development opportunities.

State Departments of Education (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York): Each state’s Department of Education website outlines specific certification requirements and regulations for educators and administrators within that state.

GOD BLESS YOU!
JC.
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Jenn’s Answer

I have never taught, but I looked into all of these options before deciding that teaching was not the right career for me, so I'll offer what I know and someone else can supplement it if they'd like.


States have different certification processes (sometimes your credential is transferable to other states, sometimes not). You can look up each state's Department of Education, and they should have a place for you to find the credentialing requirement. Oftentimes an education major in college will help you through this process; otherwise, if you choose a different major (like English), there are graduate schools of education or alternative certification program like Boston Teacher Residency or Urban Teacher Residency that will prepare you to get credentialed and enter a classroom.

Thank you comment icon Jenn,Thank you so much for this advice. I will be sure to utilize it when I am looking into colleges within the next year! Hannah
Thank you comment icon That is great advice. I was wondering whether or not you have to apply for another teachers license if you are moving to another state? Isabelle
Thank you comment icon It depends on the state. You can google different states' licensure requirements and see from which states they accept licensures in addition to their own. Jenn Hatfield
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Lou’s Answer

You may want to consider applying for Teach for America after you finish college. Many Teach for America teachers transition into administrative roles after their commitment is over. You'll have the opportunity to teach for at least two years, and get the feel of how a school functions. You'll also build a strong network in education - both in the school and state you teach, but nationwide.


I also would recommend taking some business classes, especially management theory. I've found that while teachers make strong administrators, running a school is a lot like running a business (to a certain extent). The better you are at managing people and performance, the better you will be as a principal.

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Kelly’s Answer

Hi Hannah,

I hope after a decade, you are already the newest administrator in this area, but I would like to post to help out others who may be viewing. Transitioning from an English teacher to an administrator in a New England school system is a multifaceted journey that requires dedication, strategic planning, and a diverse skill set. It often begins with a deep understanding of the educational landscape and a passion for making a broader impact on student success.

First and foremost, it's crucial to demonstrate exemplary teaching skills and a commitment to student growth and achievement. This involves continually refining teaching methods, staying abreast of educational trends and research, and actively participating in professional development opportunities.

Building strong relationships within the school community is also paramount. This includes fostering positive connections with students, colleagues, parents, and administrators. Collaborating on projects, serving on committees, and taking on leadership roles within the school can help establish credibility and trust among peers.

To transition into an administrative role, gaining relevant experience and credentials is essential. This may involve pursuing advanced degrees in educational leadership or administration, obtaining relevant certifications, and seeking out opportunities for leadership roles within the school or district. Additionally, gaining experience in areas such as curriculum development, assessment, and school management can strengthen one's candidacy for administrative positions.

Networking within the educational community is another vital aspect of the transition process. Attending conferences, workshops, and professional development events provides opportunities to connect with other educators and administrators, learn about job openings, and gain insights into the challenges and opportunities facing the field of education.

Preparing a strong application package is crucial when pursuing administrative positions. This includes crafting a compelling cover letter and resume that highlight relevant experience, skills, and accomplishments. Additionally, being prepared to articulate one's vision for education and leadership during interviews is key to making a positive impression on hiring committees.

Finally, patience and persistence are essential qualities to navigate the transition process. Securing an administrative position may take time, and setbacks are common. However, maintaining a positive attitude, seeking feedback, and continuously honing one's skills and knowledge will ultimately contribute to success in making the transition from an English teacher to an administrator in a New England school system.
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