If you are like most parents, you may assume that any credentialed teacher can legally step into any classroom and teach to a pre-determined the lesson plan? Unfortunately, you would not only be wrong, but you may have just found the reason why your child is struggling in class … because the teacher may literally know less than the children and is unfamiliar with the subject matter being taught.
Some signs of a questionable teacher may be the use of prepared handouts which are distributed without explanation, a teacher asking the children to read a chapter and answer the questions usually found at the end of a textbook chapter, or quizzed on subject material without adequate instruction or an explanation of the material. Teachers who prefer to use audio/visual materials over lecturing or refer children to online courses at the Kahn Academy or elsewhere should also be suspect.
Think it cannot happen …
In California, thousands of teachers missing needed credentials
Charlie Parker, a longtime biology teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District, was assigned for two years to teach history and social studies – subjects he’s not licensed to teach. Thousands of teachers in California’s public schools every year are placed in classes they lack the credentials or legal authorizations to teach. The last time Charlie Parker took a social studies class, he was a teenager with an Afro and Jimmy Carter was president of the United States. Yet here he was, standing at the front of a classroom, trying to teach dozens of high schoolers subjects that never appealed to him when he learned them more than 30 years ago.
On his first day teaching U.S. history, world history and economics at McAlister High School in Los Angeles nearly four years ago, Parker struggled to keep his course materials straight and handed a student the wrong textbook. Some days, his students’ questions went unanswered or were directed to the Internet. Later, Parker said, when his students took state tests, their scores were low. After school, Parker said, “I was doing homework, just like the kids.” These were not the troubles of a rookie teacher. In fact, Parker had taught for more than 20 years, including 11 at McAlister.
The problem for Parker, who taught social studies at McAlister for two years and now teaches at another Los Angeles high school, was that he should not have taught history to begin with.
Every year in California, public school administrators assign thousands of teachers to classes for which they lack the credentials or legal authorization to teach. Untrained teachers have been assigned to a variety of difficult classes, including those filled with English-language learners and others with special intellectual and physical needs. Or, in Parker’s case, to teach social studies when they’re credentialed for biology.
Nearly 1 in 10 teachers or certificated personnel – more than 32,000 school employees – did not have the credentials or authorization for their positions from 2007 through 2011, according to data compiled by the state Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Read more at: In California, thousands of teachers missing needed credentials | California Watch
Bottom line …
Perhaps you should ask more questions about teacher qualifications if your child seems to be underperforming in a class … it might be possible that a gym teacher is teaching chemistry class or a mathematics class.