The Teacher Credential
"Miss, what did you study to become a [an adult] teacher?" I used
to cringe whenever I was asked this question because I never knew
what the appropriate response was. Like many in my profession, I did
not plan to become a teacher in adult education; however, once in, I
knew I was here to stay. Over the years, I thought I had become an
effective instructor implementing new strategies and techniques that
I would learn from workshops. My instruction was student-centered
and relevant to the students' goals. Then I was introduced to the
Teacher Credential, and that was when my life as a teacher changed.
Had I known of the subsequent benefits, I would have pursued my
credential years earlier.
What was in it for me? For one, the teacher credential was a process
of reflection. Not only did I revisit past professional development
workshop materials, I also had many "oh, I remember now" moments.
I had forgotten about some of the strategies I had learned
and somehow stopped using, and I also rediscovered resources I
had intended on using but never did. There was an opportunity to
implement new methods without attending a workshop just by dusting
off that binder sitting on the bottom of the bookshelf. This started
a chain reaction where I began to evaluate what I wanted to address
in my classroom. Once I initiated the credentialing process, I transformed
into a critical thinker, and as a result, my analysis of my curriculum
deepened. My excitement grew as each reflection was approved,
and my enthusiasm to explore new ideas thrived as well. In
addition, the six credential core areas became an ongoing rubric for
my instruction. I also came to realize that my planning lacked proper
assessment practices, in large part since I had not signed up for
these types of trainings. Consequently, I developed an awareness to
participate in a variety of staff development opportunities. The single
most important benefit however, was that I had grown professionally.
Although I had not formally studied adult education, I did prepare
myself by not only attending professional development trainings but
also by committing myself to the credentialing process.
Earning the teacher credential had a bigger impact on my students.
My classes had changed and now included a curriculum that was
well-rounded. I was able to better identify the needs and progress of
my students. This was huge for me. Before, I had categorized a lesson
as successful when students would tell me that they had enjoyed
it or found it relevant to their lives. I learned that it was important
to evaluate the effectiveness of every lesson using an objective
measure such as an increase in student participation, retention, test
scores, application of new knowledge, etc. If a lesson did not go as
I had planned, I would modify it and try again… something I wouldn't
have done before the credential. In the past, I would have simply
discarded the lesson without reflecting on the why. All of this solidified
my commitment to my profession in adult education.
My credentialing journey was lined with lots of support. Beginning with
our program's administration, I was provided with instant help and
guidance. For example, administration provided me with a copy listing
the last five years worth of staff development that I had attended. What
a relief! So much time and energy was saved not having to remember
what workshops I had participated in and when. If there are any administrators
reading this, I would ask you to consider doing the same.
My colleagues were equally supportive. The best part of it all was
that I had developed a buddy system with another teacher. We would
bounce ideas off of each other and trouble-shoot each other's questions.
Why go through this alone when your lunch mate, next-door
neighbor, or workshop buddy could team up with you in your quest for
the Teacher Credential?
Upon earning my Teacher Credential, my professional life changed
exponentially. I was asked to work on state initiatives in adult education
such as the Texas Adult Content Standards and Benchmarks. I
became a "go-to" person for questions regarding not only the Teacher
Credential but in other areas as well. There has been an increase
in trainer opportunities and invitations to present at other campuses
and conferences throughout the state. My GREAT Center now requires
the credential in order to be formally considered as a mentor
for new teachers, so I have the opportunity take part in this academy.
Plus, my campus has capitalized on those who have completed the
credential as part of submitting grant proposals, forming partners in
education, and informing new students of the professional preparedness
of our credentialed teachers.
The Teacher Credential is a commitment to professional excellence
and professional growth. The benefits outweigh the effort of writing
reflections because I personally witnessed an increase in student
retention, student performance, and classroom management. My
student turnover rate had decreased as well. I would have to say
that my students benefited knowing their teacher had attained the
Teacher Credential with them in mind. There are so many advantages
to earning the credential; the teacher, students, campus, and
profession improve every time a teacher takes that leap of faith. Most
of all, I was left feeling that I was a "real" teacher now. I'm glad I did
my part to professionalize my career. It is the type of recognition our
About the Author
Elizabeth Moya graduated from UTEP with a degree in Psychology and later earned her Teacher Credential in 2008. She worked as a teacher for eleven years at Ysleta Community Learning Center before becoming the Curriculum Specialist. She is currently a state trainer on the Texas Content Standards and the Teacher Credential and the adult education consultant and trainer for the Ysleta District. Her greatest fans are her adoring husband, Arturo, and daughters, Alexis and Lauren.