Supply Your School with Highly Qualified Teachers

Are your teachers preparing students for the 21st century? Photo: lisapics/

Trinity University-International School of the Americas (ISA) formed a partnership to recruit and train new teachers.

The International School of the Americas, based in Austin, has a mandate to teach about the world and to afford all students global perspectives and experiences. This goal cannot be met without a faculty of experienced teachers. Since very few schools of education focus on developing new teachers' global knowledge and skills, the Trinity-ISA partnership designed and implimented its own program.

The university and school work closely to establish an educational vision. For several years, ISA's principal was also a professor in Trinitiy's school of education. Teacher supply and demand was well communicated between the two institutions.

When Trinity's Masters of Arts in Teaching students graduate, they two tasks over the summer: (1) create curriculum with an emphasis on international content and developing student global competencies and (2) take part in ISA's teacher retreat (usually in another country). The next school year, the graduates serve as appretices to master teachers at ISA.

The result is that when a new teacher steps into his or her own classroom, he or she is backed up by several years of training and experience. There exists a professional relationship with the rest of the faculty and familiarity with the student body and larger community.

The Trinity-ISA partnership is one of very few partnerships. But there is evidence that teacher preparation institutions are becoming more international. For example, The University of Wisconsin Madison requires all pre-service teachers to take a 3-credit Global Perspectives course, drawn from a list that includes courses from departments throughout the university. An optional 21-credit Certificate of Global Studies is available to students who are interested in focusing more intensely on global education. And Michigan State University’s College of Education is launching a new Global Educators Program for prospective teachers interested in bringing global knowledge and perspectives to their teaching practice. It will include globally oriented professional education courses, extracurricular activities, and international experiences.

Reach out to your local teacher training institutions to explore partnerships. A useful tool to have is The Longview Foundation's Teacher Preparation for the Global Age. The report is informed by dozens of experts in the teacher training field. It includes a basic framework for internationalizing teacher training, plus practical strategies across academic disciplines. 

If your school does not have the option of a direct partnership with teacher training institutions, there are other organizations that can help. Many returned Peace Corps volunteers go into teaching and bring a wealth of international and cross-cultural experience to their classrooms. The Peace Corps also partners with universities around the country to offer support to volunteers for graduate school. Another possibility is visiting teachers. Teachers from outside of the United States who agree to serve at a U.S. school for a year or more can bring the world directly into a classroom, while exposing other teachers to international knowledge and best practices.  The Visiting International Faculty Program in North Carolina has brought teachers from all over the world to classrooms across the country. The College Board has been sponsoring teachers from China to teach Chinese in U.S. schools.