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The effectiveness of the Non-traditional teacher certification training program in Arkansas based on interviews by supervising principals and Non-traditional teachers from the 2006--2008 cohort

Author: Vicki LeeAnn Hall
This qualitative study was done to determine the effectiveness of Non-traditionally trained teachers in Arkansas. Interviews of 12 Non-traditionally licensed teachers (NTLs) and their supervising principals were recorded, transcribed and analyzed. Findings revealed that NTLs are as effective in professionalism and classroom management as traditionally trained teachers (TTTs). NTLs reported the greatest challenge of the NTL program was budgeting time. Principals were impressed with NTLs willingness to accept constructive criticism and the diversity NTLs brought into the classroom. NTLs all reported they would go through the program again. Reasons included they could earn a paycheck during the training process. NTLs entered the program because they felt called to teach. Overall, principals had no hiring preference between NTLs and TTTs.

TABLE OF CONTENTS vi CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION 1 Background of the Study 1 Statement of the Problem 2 Research Questions 4 Significance of the Study 6 Theoretical Sensitivity 7 Definition of Terms 9 Summary 10 CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW 11 Purpose of Non-traditional Certification 11 Advantages of Non-traditional Certification 14 Effectiveness of Non-traditional Teachers 16 Concerns of Non-traditional Certification 18 Arkansas Recruitment / Retention Programs 22 State Teacher Assistance Resource (STAR) 23 Teacher Opportunity Program (TOP) 23 Delta Teaching Corps 24 High Priority Districts Incentive Bonus 24 Minority Teachers Scholarship Program (MTSP) 25 Minority Masters Fellows Program 25 Arkansas Geographical Teacher Scholarship Program 26 Non-Traditional Licensure Program Grant Awards 26

vii Non-traditional Certification in Arkansas 26 Traditional Certification in Arkansas 31 Policy Implications of Teacher Training 33 Summary 37 CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY 38 Introduction 38 Selection and Description of Participants 38 Data Collection 39 Methodology.... 40 Typological Analysis 41 Summary 43 CHAPTER 4: PRESENTATION OF DATA 45 Supervising Principal Responses 47 Table 1. Supervising Principal Data 48 Table 2. Classroom management 49 Table 3. Professionalism 49 Table 4. Principal hiring preference 51 Non-Traditional Licensed Teacher Responses 51 Table 5. Non-traditional teacher data 52 Table 6. Why NTLs chose to teach 54 Table 7. Career / life experiences prior to teaching 55 Table 8. Would you go through the NTL again? 56

viii CHAPTER 5: FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 59 Summary of the Methodology 59 Recommendation for Improved Practice 66 Conclusions 69 Delimitations of the Study 70 Recommendation for Future Research 71 APPENDICES 80 A. Informed Consent 81 B. NTLP Interview Questions 83 C. Supervising Principal Questions 84 D. NTLP Application 85 Personal Information 87 Legal Information 88 Education 89 References 89 Work History 89 Criminal Background Check. 89 NTLP Fee 90

1 CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION The United States will need to hire two million teachers over the next decade due to increasing student enrollment, increasing teacher retirement rates, and increasing rates of attrition for beginning teachers. It is expected that only two-thirds of these teachers will be traditionally trained teachers, with the rest coming from teachers who are returning to the classroom after taking a break from the profession for personal reasons and alternative certification programs. High poverty urban and rural schools face difficulties in recruiting qualified teachers in critical subject areas such as physical science, mathematics, bilingual education, and special education. More minority teachers are also needed to create a teaching force that reflects the growing diversity of U.S.schools (Darling-Hammond, 1999). Background of the Study A historic turnover is taking place in the teaching profession according to Ingersoll (2005). It is hard to get people to enter the teaching profession and it is a challenge to keep them in the profession. Student enrollment is rising and more than a million veteran teachers are approaching retirement. It is predicted that more than 2 million new teachers will be needed in the next decade. Teacher recruitment is a problem in urban and rural schools and in certain subject areas including special education, math and science, and teachers of color. One of the main reasons for the teacher shortage is low compensation for the job as compared to other professions requiring comparable education and skills. New teachers are

2 overwhelmed by the scope of the job and do not get enough help to survive in the profession (Ingersoll, 2005). Ingersoll (2005) believes teacher retention must begin with recognizing the complexity of teaching. Teachers should be given time to plan and meet with colleagues. Mentoring, professional development, and a reduction in the pupil/teacher ratio are essential components to retaining veteran and novice classroom teachers. Statement of the Problem Classroom teacher shortages in Arkansas are a result of rural geographical location and subject area. Act 101 of the Second Extraordinary Session of 2003 of the Arkansas General Assembly was established to provide recruitment and retention incentives for high priority districts. The six high priority districts in Arkansas for the 2006-07 school year were Augusta, Brinkley, Dermott, Earl, Marvell, and Turrell. New teachers in these high priority districts could receive a $10,000 bonus over a three year period providing teachers fulfill the obligation of teaching in the district for three years. Four thousand dollars is paid after the first year, and three thousand for each of the next two years. Subject areas that have created teacher shortages in Arkansas include art; foreign languages (French, German, and Spanish); gifted and talented; guidance and counseling; library media; mathematics (grades 7-12); middle childhood mathematics/science (grades 4-8); middle childhood English/language arts/social studies (grades 4-8); life/earth science (grades 7-12); physical earth science (grades 7-12); deaf education; visually impaired education; and special education. Many schools in Arkansas have difficulty recruiting certified and highly qualified candidates to fill teaching positions. Each year, the Arkansas State Department of Education awards teacher

3 licenses to between 1,200 and 1,300 graduates of Arkansas' 18 colleges of education as well as to another 450 to 600 persons through its non-traditional licensure program. These numbers still fall short of the expected retirement rates of Arkansas teachers, which will exacerbate the teacher shortage. Arkansas faces a teacher shortage. The Arkansas Department of Education established a non-traditional licensure program in 2000 which allows a candidate with a bachelor's degree or higher to be employed as a classroom teacher while completing necessary requirements for a Standard Arkansas Teaching License. The non-traditional teacher certification program is a two-year preparation track which includes assessments, teaching and portfolio development. The training consists of three weeks of preparation during both summers and one Saturday per month for eighteen months during the two year period. Four modules are taught in the training sessions which cover the broad areas of learning that are the key components of the mentoring model used for all new teachers. The modules are Standards, Assessments, Accountability, and Professional Knowledge. Each candidate is assigned a Pathwise certified mentor for two years who provides support and focused feedback which helps non-traditionally trained teachers improve on their teaching skills. Participants receive a three year Initial Arkansas teacher license while they go through the two year training track. After successful completion of the two-year program and passing the Praxis-Ill (P-III), participants receive a five year Standard Arkansas Teaching License. The P-III is the culminating exercise which determines whether a candidate receives a standard teaching certificate. The P-III is based on a one time evaluation by a trained assessor. Candidates are advised to take the P-III during the second semester of

4 their second year of employment. It consists of a pre-observation interview, a classroom observation, and a post-observation interview. The passage rate for the P- III in Arkansas is 99% (Arkansas Department of Education-A, 2007). Ezell (2005) compiled a study on the effectiveness of non-traditionally trained teachers in Arkansas based on the Pathwise/Praxis III 19 essential teaching criteria as compared to traditionally trained teachers. She surveyed 86 NTLPs from the 2003 cohort of non-traditionally trained teachers and their principals. Frequencies and percentages were calculated to determine responses. Four independent samples t-tests and Chi-Square tests were conducted in order to determine whether NTLP teachers differed from TTTs on Praxis III ratings in any of the four Pathwise/Praxis III domains or criterion. Her findings revealed no significant difference between traditionally trained and non- traditionally trained teachers on P-III test scores. However, chi-square analysis of principal surveys revealed a difference in classroom management and instruction in favor of the traditionally trained teachers. Many of the non-traditionally trained teachers passing through the training modules have not had any prior experience dealing with professional expectations and non-academic aspects of the teaching profession. Research Questions The primary purpose of this study is to determine the effectiveness of the 2006- 2008 Arkansas Non-traditional Teacher Licensure Program (NTLP) completers who have completed two years of teaching in Arkansas Public Schools compared to traditionally trained teachers. Non-traditionally trained teachers and supervising principals will be interviewed to determine effectiveness based on their perceptions. Non-traditional candidates will be interviewed in order to gain their perceived information about the NTL

5 program. Supervising principals will be interviewed so their perceptions may be gained regarding the effectiveness of the Non-traditional Licensure Program as compared to traditionally trained teachers. Non-traditional candidates will be asked the following six questions: 1. What are some challenges you faced while going through the Non-traditional licensure program? 2. Why did you choose to enter the field of teaching? 3. Describe your career / life experiences, (i.e. former career, family, sought new career) 4. If you had it all to do over, would you choose to go through the NTLP or would you take the traditional teacher training route? Why? 5. How did your mentor help you? 6. What could the NTL program have done to better prepare you for the teaching profession? Supervising principals of NTLPs will be asked the following six questions: 1. How much experience have you had working with Non-traditionally licensed teachers? 2. How much experience have you had working with Traditionally Trained Teachers (TTTs)? 3. How do NTL teachers and TTTs compare in the areas of classroom management and professionalism? 4. Would you recommend hiring NTL teachers? Why or why not? 5. Would you recommend hiring TTTs? Why or why not?

6 6. What else should I know about the NTL program? Significance of the Study Information collected from these interviews will be valuable to the Arkansas State Department of Education, prospective Non-traditional licensure candidates, school boards and administrators. Specific strengths and deficiencies of the NTLP program will be identified by the candidates who have passed through the program. Principal interviews will provide feedback in order to show a better understanding of how teacher candidates are viewed by administrators. The Arkansas Department of Education has requested a copy of the findings from the study. Feedback from the NTLPs and administrators may be used by ADE to identify weaknesses and suggestions on how to improve the program will be provided. Challenges faced by NTLP candidates will be identified and shared with future prospective candidates in order to help prepare them for the program. These challenges may be professional, personal, financial, or any number of problems. It will be interesting to find out why these candidates chose to enter the teaching field and whether or not they feel the two year process was worth the effort. NTLPs will provide feedback as to how mentors helped them through the process. Candidates may choose extra professional development training to help develop skills which are lacking in specific areas as identified by mentors and self-evaluation. Supervising principal interviews will provide information regarding the effectiveness of NTLPs as compared to traditionally trained teachers (TTTs) regarding classroom management and professionalism. This information will be valuable to other

7 administrators and school boards as to whether there is a preference in hiring TTTs or NTLPs. Scope of the Study In the spring of 2008 I will interview two Arkansas NTLPs in the 2006-2008 cohort and their supervising principals from each of the six geographic regions of Arkansas. There will be 12 NTLP interviews and 12 supervising principal interviews for a total of 24 formal interviews if possible, depending on availability and willingness of potential participants. NTLPs will be asked questions regarding the two year training program and supervising principals will be asked questions about the NTLP candidates. A summary of the findings will be shared with any participating candidates, the Arkansas Department of Education, Arkansas School Board Association, and the Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators and any other person interested in the information. Theoretical Sensitivity I am a 22 year veteran in Arkansas's educational system. Fourteen of those years were spent in three elementary schools in Arkansas; one year at Ashdown as a third grade teacher, four years at Hartford teaching third and fifth grades, and nine years at Mansfield teaching first and fourth grades. I was elementary principal at Hackett for two years, assistant superintendent at Mansfield for five years, and superintendent at Johnson County Westside where I am currently employed. Johnson County Westside was consolidated in 1983 and was formerly comprised of Hartman and Coal Hill. It is a Provision II school, which means that 100% of the student population eats free breakfast and lunch. The teacher turnover rate is approximately 25% annually. There is a solid core

8 of veteran teachers in the school who are willing to recalibrate annually to provide quality mentors for new teachers. I completed the rigorous P-III assessor training and completed eight assessments for the state. I served as mentor project director at Mansfield for five years and for the past seven years have had the opportunity to work with novice teachers and experienced teachers as they go through the two year mentoring process. I have worked with some non-traditionally trained teachers who were outstanding candidates for the program. There was one NTLP who did not make it through one semester in the classroom. As an administrator, I have had opportunities to visit with superintendents, assistant superintendents, principals, federal coordinators, teachers, school board members and parents during formal and informal settings over the past eight years. Many times the topic of non-traditionally trained teachers has arisen. There is a concern among fellow administrators who are addressing professional challenges with non-traditional candidates which is why this study is needed. It is my desire to find out how effective NTLP candidates think the training process is and how supervising principals view NTLP candidates as employees compared to traditionally trained teachers. It is a challenge trying to fill a teaching position with a quality teacher. However, it is important to prepare non-traditional teachers in all areas of teaching, not just the academic portion. Non-traditionally trained teachers have expertise in academic content and life experiences to share in classrooms, however, with the federally mandated No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 legislation, and the adequate yearly progress accountability from the state, states cannot afford to trade quantity for quality when it comes to putting a teacher in the classroom (Wright, Wright, & Heath, 2003).

9 Definition of Terms Non-traditional Teacher Licensure Program The Non-traditional Teacher Licensure Program is a two year program established by the Arkansas Department of Education to train college graduates to enter into the teaching field. Candidates have not passed through a traditional teaching preparation program while attending college. Provisional Teaching License In Arkansas, NTLPs are granted a one year provisional certificate which is renewable up to a period of three years, providing all program requirements are met. Standard Teaching License After an NTLP candidate has completed the two year training program successfully and passed the Praxis III assessment, a standard five year teaching license is issued. Traditionally trained teachers also receive a standard license after successful completion of the Praxis III assessment. Novice Teacher NTLP candidates who are in charge of a classroom are considered novice teachers until they obtain a standard teaching license. Traditionally Trained Teacher A teacher who completes a four year program specifically designed to prepare one for the classroom. Generally, this includes a one semester internship in a classroom under the direct supervision of a certified practitioner. Mentor Novice teachers are paired up with a mentor for a period of two years. Mentors must have had a minimum of three successful years of teaching and have gone through the three day Pathwise training program. Mentors and novice teachers are required to spend and document a minimum amount of time together. This includes an average of one hour per week contact time between the mentor and novice teacher outside the regular school day for 20 weeks plus 25 hours per semester during the regular

10 school day of contact time between the mentor and novice teacher for a total of approximately 45 hours per semester. Praxis III assessment This is the summative assessment which ultimately determines whether the NTLP and TTT candidate receives a standard teaching license. It is site based and is conducted by a Praxis III assessor trained by the Arkansas Department of Education. High Priority District A school district that has less than 1000 students and the free and/or reduced lunch rate is 80% or greater. Summary This qualitative study will consist of formally interviewing NTLPs and their supervising principals using a convenience sample. NTLPs will provide information regarding challenges they faced while going through the program and describe how the NTL program could better prepare them for the teaching profession. Geographic locations and subject areas have been identified as needing more, quality teacher candidates in Arkansas. Ezell (2005) conducted a study of the Non-traditional Licensure Program in Arkansas based on the Pathwise/Praxis III 19 essential teaching criteria and her findings agreed with the literature in that NTLP candidates are as effective in the classroom as traditionally trained teachers except in the area of classroom management. Supervising principals will provide information regarding their perceptions of NTLPs.

11 CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW This chapter describes literature that is related to the topic of alternative certification. It is divided into six sections: (1) purpose of non-traditional certification, (2) advantages of non-traditional certification, (3) effectiveness of non-traditional certification, (4) concerns of non-traditional certification (5) Arkansas recruitment / retention programs and (6) non-traditional certification in Arkansas. For this study a search was done using the University of Arkansas electronic library. The search was completed on the EBSCO database using "Alternative teacher certification program" with no date restriction and resulted in 44 pages of findings. Articles were selected based on relevant titles. Using the same University of Arkansas electronic library, a search was conducted using "alternative teacher certification" in the theses and dissertation database restricting the search to full text only, for the last five years which resulted in 90 findings. Google was used to search "teacher training programs." Purpose of Non-traditional Certification Forty-seven states now have some form of alternative certification route for teachers. Purposes for these programs vary. Shortage of teachers and concern regarding teacher quality are among the most common reasons for non-traditional certification programs (Birkeland, 2005). By 2013, 2.2 million teachers will be needed to fill teaching positions (Feistritzer, & Chester, 2003). More than four million people who are qualified to teach choose not to do so. There has to be some reasons this many people do not teach after spending the time and money getting certified. The Arkansas Department of

12 Education needs to determine how many certified people in the state left the profession and determine why they left. School districts search for ways to attract and retain highly qualified individuals in America's schools (Morris, 2002). The University of Southern Maine developed an alternative teacher certification program in 1983 to try to improve the quality of secondary education teachers, then, expanded to help meet elementary quantity needs (Broyles, 1992). The National Education Association states that enrollment is rapidly rising and more than a million veteran teachers are getting close to retirement age. It is predicted that the United States will need more than 2 million new teachers in the next ten year. The shortage is more severe in urban and rural schools and for high needs areas. Areas identified included special education, math and science, and minority teachers. IngersolPs data indicate that teacher shortages are not due to an insufficient supply of teachers, but to the large turnover of teachers leaving teaching before they are eligible to retire (Ingersoll, 2005). The purpose of the alternative certification program is to attract talented and experienced individuals into the teaching profession which helps to address the teacher shortage. It also provides diversity in the classroom. The process of alternative certification includes holding a bachelor's degree in the subject to be taught, passing a certification test, intensive teacher training, completing a supervised internship, then becoming employed by a district. Teachers are certified without going through formal teacher preparation, but are competent in the subject matter. The goal is to attract talented people with a desire to change careers to the teaching profession to help address teacher shortages (Otuya, 1992).

13 Hayes (2004) conducted a study through Kansas State University. The program in Kansas was developed to respond to teacher shortages, needs of local districts, state and district curricula, and professional development. The State Department of Mississippi implemented new certification strategies because it faces a 30 - 50% reduction in the teaching force over the next two years, due to retirements (Whiting, & Klotz, 1999). Mahatha (2005) stated reasons for the alternative program in Louisiana included the need for teacher quality, quantity, and the mandate for highly qualified teachers. Michigan Department of Education created an alternative route to certification to address teacher shortages, especially for minority students in urban schools (Folio, Hoerr, & Vorheis-Sargent, 2002). Missouri developed an alternative teacher certification program to address the perceived shortage of teachers (Heinen, 2004). New Jersey began the first alternative teacher certification program in the United States in 1985 in order to hire liberal arts students as teachers. Teachers had to hold a degree in the subject area being taught and have a mentor teacher during the first months of employment. Traditionally trained teachers in New Jersey had a mentor teacher during the last months of college (Klagholz, 2001). Hillsborough County, Florida created the alternative certification program to address the shortage of qualified teachers. Since it began in 1989, 1,327 teachers have been accepted into the program. The retention rate of the 530 teachers who began teaching in 1998 is 87 percent. Secretary Paige said "We must tap the energy, experience and eagerness of individuals from other fields and bring them into the teaching profession" (Babyak, & Yudof, 2004).

14 Advantages of Non-traditional Certification Goals and designs of alternative certification programs vary by different subject areas and geographic locations. Non-traditional programs are usually less expensive than a four year teacher training program, compress training into five to eight weeks of summer training, and allow candidates to become full time teachers while earning certification. Programs are developed to recruit under-represented subgroups such as men or minorities. They also attract people from other professions who might not otherwise enter the teaching field (Birkeland, 2005). Alternative certification and post baccalaureate programs now produce over half of Texas's new hires annually. These programs create a path for certifying teachers who would not otherwise have joined the profession (McWhorter, 2005). Findings from Peske (2005) revealed that candidates were attracted to alternative programs in Louisiana and Massachusetts because they were inexpensive and could be completed quickly. It is important to recruit and train teachers in a timely, effective, reasonable manner. Alternative certification is one solution is to attract people who have definitive expertise, allowing them to share their content related knowledge with great numbers of students (Whiting, & Klotz, 1999). Klagholz (2001) reports that New Jersey was hesitant to raise cut off scores on certification tests because it may reduce the passage rate. A 1990 report shows that 321 self-identified minority alternate-route applicants had higher scores and passing rates than white and minority graduates of traditional teacher education programs in New Jersey. Bowen (2004) surveyed 131 principals in Southeast Texas and results revealed the alternatively certified program had a positive impact on the teacher shortage and also

15 attracted ethnically diverse teachers into the workforce. Heinen (2004) data reveal that the alternative teacher certification programs emerged to satisfy short term goals including alleviating the perceived teacher shortages, rather than long term goals, which include teacher quality. It may not be advantageous to student learning, yet necessary, to have teachers who are certified in alternative programs in order to be legally certified with the state department. Alternatively certified teachers in Louisiana believe their support network provided by their principals, mentors and teachers is necessary to have an effective program (Sorapuru, 2005). Chapman (2005) conducted a self report survey to investigate the attrition and minority certification rates between the alternative certification route and the traditionally trained candidates. A Pearson Chi-Square was used to compare the findings. No significant attrition rates were revealed, but there was a strong relationship between the alternatively certified teachers and minority certification rates. Wade (2005) conducted a qualitative study on ten alternatively certified teachers in rural, suburban, and urban Wisconsin to determine how well they were prepared as beginning teachers. Teachers identified the mentoring component as a strong area and noted they were provided adequate preparation training. The quality of students' education could be adversely affected because alternatively certified teachers may lack proficient pedagogical skills. Teachers who cannot organize content leads to less effective instruction. Alternative certification may be perceived by some to undermine the professionalism of teaching (Otuya, 1992).

16 Effectiveness of Non-traditional Teachers Colorado had 44 alternative licensed teachers employed during the 1992-93 school year in sixteen districts. These forty-four teachers were evaluated over a three month period. Thirty-six were rated above average and eight were rated in the average range (Rollins, & Campbell, 1993). Principals in Southeast Texas rated traditionally trained teachers significantly higher than alternatively trained teachers in the areas of instruction and assessment, and classroom management. Principals also reported that they would choose to employ traditionally trained teachers as opposed to alternatively certified teachers (Bowen, 2004). Laraway (2003) compiled a study comparing 25 first year alternatively certified teachers and 32 first year traditionally trained teachers in Broward county Public School District in Florida. The purpose was to compare the efficacy and performance evaluations of the two groups. Results of the study revealed no significant differences between the two groups of teachers. These findings add to the research base in support of alternative certification as an effective pathway into teaching. Hayes (2004) results show that the program in Kansa produces effective teachers. The study examined the history, setting, and culture of the program service area; the demographics of the students; the structure, organization, and management of the program; the training support, and assessment of the field experience base; and the alternative candidate and peer consultant perceptions of the program. The program is aligned with the Kansas State Department of Education frameworks and NCATE requirements.

17 Mahatha (2005) results revealed traditionally trained teachers were more effective in the domains of content knowledge, classroom management, instructional planning, and professionalism. Alternatively certified teachers were more effective in human relation skills. Shea (2006) conducted a study on the perceptions of mentor teachers of traditionally and alternatively trained high school science teachers. Results revealed a statistically significant difference in favor of the traditionally trained teachers in the areas of general knowledge, content knowledge and professional growth. There were no differences in the perceptions of mentors in content knowledge. Harvey (2005) correlated mean scores on the Principles of Learning and Teaching in South Carolina between 768 traditionally trained and 164 alternatively trained teachers. There was a significant difference between the mean of the two groups. Traditionally trained teachers had a mean score of 74 and alternatively trained teachers had a mean score of 169. There was a significant difference in performance between teachers who had a master's degree and teachers who had a master's with additional graduate hours or a doctorate, in favor of education. This difference was true for both traditionally and alternatively certified teachers. Mixed results were found when comparing data on TTTs and NTLPs in the Dallas Independent School District. Non-traditional teachers scored higher on standard measures of teaching ability and performance and were rated higher by principals and mentors than TTTs. The standard measures were the NTE for teachers and the SAT and ACT for students (Otuya, 1992). New teachers, regardless of their training, were inadequate for effective instruction (Ball, & Wilson, 1990). Students taught by NTLPs achieved as well

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Abstract: This qualitative study was done to determine the effectiveness of Non-traditionally trained teachers in Arkansas. Interviews of 12 Non-traditionally licensed teachers (NTLs) and their supervising principals were recorded, transcribed and analyzed. Findings revealed that NTLs are as effective in professionalism and classroom management as traditionally trained teachers (TTTs). NTLs reported the greatest challenge of the NTL program was budgeting time. Principals were impressed with NTLs willingness to accept constructive criticism and the diversity NTLs brought into the classroom. NTLs all reported they would go through the program again. Reasons included they could earn a paycheck during the training process. NTLs entered the program because they felt called to teach. Overall, principals had no hiring preference between NTLs and TTTs.