Teachers play a vital role in the early and late development of children and adolescents. The school takes up a significant amount of time in a young person’s life. Hence, the environment-based mental and psychological and academic development is largely dependent on their educators. Furthermore, it is important for the developing individuals to feel inspired to learn and find their passions during these forming years. Therefore, the young person must be presented with the best opportunities the education system can provide for him.
Disregarding the non-academic responsibilities of teachers, however, it is of utmost importance for them to provide the students with skills necessary for their further life. It is equally important for the teachers to approach those in need of a special program and adapt to the changing situations, such as the online classes during the current global pandemic. To ensure consistency in the quality of education, certain credential requirements are established within all states. There are alternate opinions on the matter – for example, Ben-Shahar (2017) claims that abolishing teaching certifications would improve the quality of public education. However, it is understandable that parents would feel safer sending their children to a school with certified teachers, as it would guarantee better quality.
Required Teacher Certification Credentials in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico, although not a state, is officially a commonwealth of the US. The island is autonomously governed and has its teaching credentials requirements, although they are relatively consistent with the rest of the United States. In order to become a teacher in Puerto Rico, the individual must have a Bachelor of Arts or Sciences degree in Education (Education Commission of the States, 2019). Furthermore, several standards are required to be upheld by the educators, such as those in the necessary knowledge, skills, and competencies (Education Commission of the States, 2019). Furthermore, as the global community adapts to life during a pandemic, schools are striving to provide high-quality education to people regardless of the situation. Puerto Rico is no exception, with the authorities stressing the importance of school counselors and various support staff as the schools return to traditional in-person teaching (Ujifusa, 2021). The abovementioned teacher credentials, which are not limited to a university degree but also to the soft skills the teachers can make use of in the classroom, are essential to the development of young persons.
Managing the Teacher Body
For the school or other education establishment to function efficiently, there must be effective communication that takes place within the teaching body and the leadership. It is vital for the management to lay out the objectives in a comprehensive way, to ensure the teachers know and follow the requirements, and to upkeep the set standards. To achieve this, the education management in the school must adhere to the state requirements, as well as create such an atmosphere in the school that individuals are motivated to self-manage.
Informing Teachers of the Credentials Needed
Firstly, teachers must be hired following the state requirements for the teaching qualifications. If the candidate is showing potential in the interviews but does not have the required credentials, it should be advised to her or him that they return after obtaining the credentials. Furthermore, all of the teachers must endure a background check to ensure the validity of the qualifications, as well as the general fitness to work in the establishment.
Secondly, teachers must be reminded of the requirements and standards that are set by the state and the establishment itself throughout their time of employment. Although the credentials needed do not tend to change drastically, especially within a couple of years, teachers must remain informed and current. Therefore, regular meetings must be held by the management to refresh the teaching staff of their obligations.
Best Practices for Managing Certification
Typically, a teaching certificate is only valid for five years, which means that the teaching staff must regularly update their credentials in order to remain valid teachers. It is important for the teachers to remain aware of current events, such as climate change (Herman et al., 2017), providing their students with the most up-to-date information. Although it is the teachers’ responsibility to remain qualified for their job, it is the leadership’s responsibility to make sure the staff is qualified. If the teachers fail to renew their certificates, they should be let go in order to maintain the level of education desired.
Credentialing Issues and Upkeep at a School Site
Although teachers undergo a background check when they are being interviewed for the job, it is sometimes the case that the records are falsified. To an untrained eye, it can be difficult to spot this falsification, especially if the candidate appears qualified otherwise. Therefore, some further checks must be performed, such as calling the institutions listed in the candidates’ education history, as well as previous employers. Furthermore, it is vital to ensure that the teachers not only have a degree on paper but have the required knowledge up to the standard of the educational institution they are planning to work in.
In order to upkeep the standards at the school site, it is important to provide regular training for the staff to remain up-to-date with the new teaching methods and research in the field. Furthermore, it is essential to perform examinations of the typical teaching days to maintain certain teaching standards within the school. As mentioned above, teachers must be qualified to manage children with special needs, such as those with learning disabilities or from immigrant families with little to no experience in English.
Ben-Shahar, O. (2017). Teacher Certification Makes Public School Education Worse, Not Better. Forbes.
Education Commission of the States (2019). Teacher Preparation State Policy Profile. Web.
Herman, B. C., Feldman, A. & Vernaza-Hernandez, V. (2017). Florida and Puerto Rico Secondary Science Teachers’ Knowledge and Teaching of Climate Change Science. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 15, 451–471.
Ujifusa, A. (2021). Miguel Cardona: Puerto Rico’s Teachers Are Doing Their Best to Reopen Classrooms. EducationWeek.