Education is a terrific career that asks that you have a deep and abiding passion for helping the nation's youth learn and grow. There is a lot of work involved in becoming and continuing as an educational leader. In fact, you may need to go through multiple licensure processes and undergo rigorous scrutiny from both within your school and the wider political community.
Nevertheless, education is one of the very best professions. If you are going to succeed, however, you will need an abundance of resources to fall back on. From your student years onward, you'll need to refer to these resources to discover new learning opportunities for yourself, so that you can best facilitate the learning you wish to see in your students. Keep reading and you'll find that this page is well worth bookmarking and returning to over and over again.
Resources for Before and After College
Resources for Educational Leadership Students
Before you pursue a degree in educational leadership, you'll need to choose the best program. This means that you'll need to find a program with the appropriate accreditation. Since you will probably need a state license to pursue your dreams, you should check with your state board to determine whether they have any specific requirements for accreditation. In the meantime, your program should at least carry a regional accreditation. The program might carry some sort of credential from the state board, but you can also seek out those with national accreditation from organizations like NCATE, TEAC, or AACTE.
Your admissions counselor should be able to tell you if the program is acknowledged by your state's licensure board. However, when the education program is also acknowledged by a national accrediting body, you should have an easier time transferring your license to another state, should you decide to move.
Questions About Financial Aid
As a budding educator, you should be primarily concerned with your studies and being the best-prepared educator for our nation's young people. Unfortunately, you will also need to structure financing to ensure that you are able to pay for tuition, books, and your living expenses. That can involve a number of financial sources including family, scholarships, grants, and loans. Your family may be able to help pay for some or all of your tuition, which is a fantastic option. However, there are other financial resources if your family cannot afford this.
The best way to finance your education comes from scholarships and grants. There are many foundations that provide funds with no strings attached. In fact, many states offer special teaching grants where future teachers can have their studies fully funded. In return, the state asks that those students work for a number of years to repay the funds. Keep in mind that you'll still receive the regular pay and benefits just like any other teacher; you just won't have to make any monthly payments. Again, not every state has such a program, but inquire with your school's Education department or the financial aid office to see if yours does.
There are also many foundations that finance future teachers. Their awards can range from a full, all-inclusive education scholarship that even covers your room and board, to a $500 scholarship that is helpful for one term. If you are otherwise using federal loans to pay for college and you can string together multiple smaller awards, you can save yourself lots of money in the long run. That's because you never have to pay interest on scholarship funds.
Finally, most students will eventually need to take out some sort of loan. Federal loans are often your best bet. You can start the process by filling out a FAFSA form. Make sure that you apply for federal loans because private loans sources usually have less-friendly interest rates and repayment options, unless you or someone willing to work with you has excellent credit. Furthermore, your school's financial aid office may be able to use your loan application to see if you qualify for scholarship funds.
Associations for Students
Membership in a state or national association will be enormously beneficial to you as a student and then later as a professional leader in education. These organizations offer you the opportunity to receive regular, insightful periodicals that are focused on your profession. They provide educational resources to help keep your license up-to-date. And, you'll also be able to attend state or national conferences where you can mingle and network with colleagues from far and wide.
These associations allow memberships to students, often at a reduced rate. Consider starting your membership as early as possible so that you will have an established association once you enter the field. If you are only interested in their periodicals at this point, you can ask your school library to consider a subscription.
- National Education Association:
This is perhaps the most well-known teacher association. Seek out a student membership as soon as you can and an NEA membership will inform your entire career.
- Association of American Educators:
Student members are privy to loads of benefits and can even apply for small scholarships. When you become a licensed teacher, your benefits will grow even larger.
- American Association of School Administrators:
With over 150 years in the service of educators and the children they nurture, this is a vital organization for any budding professional.
- National Association of Elementary School Principals:
Aspiring principals and other future school leaders are encouraged to seek a membership in this national organization. Benefits include insightful periodicals, annual conferences, and more.
- American Association of School Personnel Administrators:
You can join this association without being a school leader. Benefits include a newsletter that focuses on HR issues, their Perspectives magazine, and webinars to help broaden your understanding.
Student or Open Access Journals
When you make a regular practice of reading industry journals, you will broaden your understanding of your chosen field. These periodicals publish studies and report on legislative news that are pertinent to how you will work in the future. Not only will you have the benefit of personal enrichment, but you may find that this information can also inform your classroom work. You will have an edge on discovering paper topics and you can bring new insights into classroom discussions.
Education and Teacher Study Resources
Education is an ever-evolving profession that shifts according to new insights into human development, cognition, and behavior. It must also adapt according to the currents in government and technology. You'll benefit greatly from pursuing new information that can be found on the internet and elsewhere.
Here are a few resources that will inform you classroom learning with fresh perspectives that will surely inspire new learning and research:
- Managing Change in Education:
This TEDx Talk addresses big issues in Education. Mr. Rehill's speech is inspiring and enlightening.
- Perspectives in Educational Leadership:
This video will inform your view on Educational Leadership from a variety of perspectives.
This free MOOC resource has loads of free and affordable courses that cover the educational landscape. You can study anything from Big Data to Family Engagement in Education.
Software applications are ubiquitous in our lives. They help us check the weather at home and away, meditate, update our banking, and even teach children. In fact, many school boards require teachers to take courses in educational technology to ensure that you're up to speed with the latest technology. As you move through your undergraduate and graduate studies, you'll want to explore these solutions so that you're prepared for your turn in the principal's office.
The following apps facilitate classroom management, sort teaching materials, and even help you become a better student and learner. Many of them can load onto your mobile device but some also allow you to access the material from your laptop or desktop computer.
- Google Classroom:
The Googleverse extends far into the classroom. With this app you can track classrooms and individual students. It even helps you use Google Drive to help sort your materials.
This app helps educators stay in touch with students and their parents outside of the classroom. This app facilitates private conversations and has a translate function for those who are still learning English.
Classroom management is one of an educator's primary tasks and this app has you covered. It manages attendance, grades, and more.
With so much information on the internet, it's hard to keep track of it all. Pocket helps you save, tag, and retrieve vital articles and web pages for later retrieval.
Before you rule the school, you'll need to get through your degree. This app helps students organize their assignments, tests, and even extra-curricular activities. Time management was never so easy.
As a future educator, you know that experiential learning can be vital to producing stellar student outcomes. This also applies to you and your peers. Before you can attain a full teaching or other educational credential, you'll need to have some structured classroom experience. Your program should have a student teaching course/internship for you. That experience is often transformative for budding teachers. That's where they change from being students of education into full educators.
You can also pursue teaching experiences outside of the standard university curriculum. Many civic organizations need instructors for a variety of needs, including public health and sports coaching. Those sorts of things can be pursued in your off time or on breaks from school. If you have the time, you might even look into substitute teaching. Investigate your local school district to see if you qualify because that would be an opportunity to work with educational professionals and work to attain your long-term professional goals. Every positive teaching experience will help you, and your future students, in the long-term.
Resources for Students and Professionals
Education Licensing and Certification Options
For most varieties of classroom, there is a specific licensure. For instance, if you want to teach social studies to middle grade students, you must pass a subject test and qualify for that specific license. Though each state has its own requirements for licensure, the basics are fairly universal. That is, you'll need a degree in education from a teacher preparation program that has been approved by the state board. That will include some form of experiential learning and specific coursework. Then you'll have to pass a general knowledge test, often the PRAXIS-I test, which is not unlike the SAT. You'll also need to pass your subject test and then receive a job from a school principal.
There are also alternative routes to licensure that you can pursue with a college degree. They allow you to start teaching while you complete the required education courses. These programs are often available for teachers who specialize in high-needs areas, such as science and math. However, different local school districts may have broader needs.
- English as a Second Language
- Special Education
- Language Arts Education
- Social Studies Education
- Science Education
- Mathematics Education
- Gifted Education
- Vocational Education
- Elementary Education
- Middle Grades Education
- Secondary Education
- Physical Education
- Music Education
Whether you're new to the field or seeking a job change either in your area or in a new town, temporary staffing agencies can be a lifesaver. These human resources professionals know the industry and can help you land in the best classroom or principal's office for you. In particular, staffing agencies are very helpful for new graduates striking out into the professional world.
That's because when the agency is able to place you in a short-term position you can get a feel for the school before you try out another position in a new school. Before you know it, you have accrued a healthy list of contacts and colleagues. Soon enough you'll have full-time, gainful employment. Peruse the options listed below but also check out your state's board of education website, which surely has job listings.
Resources for Educational Leadership Professionals
Professional Education Leaders Associations
Education is an ever-changing institution. The professionals involved work hard to perfect their best-practices and standards for instruction. They also need to contend with political shifts that impact the rules and budgets that turn the educational wheels. Thus, when you are a professional educator, it will be vital to join an organization of like-minded leaders.
Many professional associations lobby on behalf of educators, on top of enhancing the profession with periodicals, newsletters, and learning opportunities. They are thus your voice in both your state legislature and Washington, DC. Their lobbying efforts help educate representatives to the realities that teachers face in the classroom, as well as other issues.
You'll also want to join a professional association so that you can network with your fellow educators. There are even national conferences where you can learn from top educational leaders and perhaps even participate in a panel discussion.
Even educators need to keep learning. Educational leadership journals will keep you informed of current news and trends in your field. These journals publish and report on current research and legislation, too. Thus, reading one or more journals should be a part of you weekly, if not daily, routine. Since many have a web presence, you can likely access them from a mobile device or a laptop computer.
You'll also find that many of these journals receive submissions from the field. Thus, you might have an opportunity to write an article and have it published. Such publications can sometimes count towards CEUs and are always a great feather in your cap when it comes time for a job review.
Industry Conferences for Educational Leaders
Everyone needs to get out of the office from time to time. Conferences provide an opportunity to get out and meet your fellow educational professionals. These weekend getaways are loaded with information from top scholars and everyday principals, teachers, and administrators like yourself. They also provide an opportunity for professional development.
Prior to the conference, you could apply to lead a panel discussion or maybe be asked to lead your own seminar. If this is a goal of yours, you might consider writing articles for your association's journal or otherwise producing some scholarly work. Conferences open up a world of opportunity so you should consider attending them as often as possible.
- Educational Leadership Conference:
This event is a must for everyone in educational leadership. Each conference has a specific theme, but you're sure to find panels and other events that cover other topics.
- ASCD Conference on Educational Leadership:
You might one day present a paper or lead a panel discussion at this top conference. This weekend is full of special events and social hours, all of which will enhance your career.
- Women in Educational Leadership Conference:
This conference is an excellent opportunity for women educators to meet and share professional insights and guidance. You'll walk away from their conferences with a fresh, invigorated point of view.
- Yale SOM Education Leadership Conference:
The Yale School of Management started this conference in 2007 but now it's considered one of the top conferences for educational leadership. Make sure to plan your weekend well because there are simply too many great workshops, panel discussions, and keynotes.
- NEA National Leadership Summit:
As the leading educational association, the NEA's leadership summit is sure to be an amazing weekend. You'll return to your career full of newfound enthusiasm and inspiration.