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The International Baccalaureate program, comparable to the Advanced Placement program, was developed in Switzerland in the 1960s for motivated students doing above-average work. According to Newswise, as of March 2013 about 1 million IB students attended 3,500 schools in 144 countries to study the internationally-recognized two-year curriculum. To teach IB students, candidates are usually teachers who have earned an IB Certificate in Teaching and Learning.
Become a Teacher
Most IB teachers start out by teaching traditional classes to high school students. Public school teachers must have a minimum of a bachelor's degree, and most private schools have the same requirements. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that public school teachers in all states must be licensed or certified, though licensing requirements vary from one state to the next. College graduates who aspire to become teachers typically complete a period of student teaching under the supervision of an experienced teacher to earn certification.
Know Your Stuff
Not everyone is cut out to be an IB teacher. For example, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics notes that IB teachers must be able to lead classrooms where students draw on skills, information and imagination to confidently approach different situations with the expectation of success. Teachers must be resourceful, determined and skilled enough to step outside of standard textbook lessons. Additionally, they need advanced knowledge on the subject they teach. For example, IB math teachers should know more than basic mathematics. They must understand more complex topics such as two-dimensional vector geometry, calculus and financial mathematics.
Get IB Certified
Several universities offer certification programs recognized by the IB organization, but eligibility requirements vary. For example, Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan only accepts candidates who have a bachelor's degree with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0. Certification is available in various subjects, including language and literature, mathematics and computer science, administration and coordination, the arts and sciences. Programs cover basic topics such as teaching and learning, assessment in classrooms and curriculum processes. Instead of a final exam, candidates are eligible for certification upon completing the program.
Continue Your Education
Continuing education is an important part of being a successful IB teacher. In fact, some districts may require IB teachers to take continuing education courses. Professional development requirements mirror those of public school teachers and vary by state, but generally require teachers to take courses every five years. Anthony Tait, the Director of IB Professional Development, noted in Newswise that IB teachers must be committed to professional development throughout the duration of their careers. Continuing education options range in content from basic course subjects like geography or biology, to workshops such as managing extended essays and moving theory to practice.
- California State University San Marcos: Global Teacher Studies: International Baccalaureate
- University of South Florida: Course Detail: Teaching IB Spanish B
- Texas Education Agency: Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Information
- Michigan Department of Education: Facts on Educator Certification
- Foothill High School: International Baccalaureate Diploma Program
Based in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, Megan Torrance left her position as the general manager for five Subway restaurants to focus on her passion for writing. Torrance specializes in creating content for career-oriented, motivated individuals and small business owners. Her work has been published on such sites as Chron, GlobalPost and eHow.