Empowering Educators: Adapting Modern Teaching Degree Programs to Current Education Policies

Teacher.org Staff
Lesson Plan Team

Empowering Educators: Adapting Modern Teaching Degree Programs to Current Education Policies

Educating children requires individuals with a special set of abilities to undertake the delicate process. It is also a process that is constantly changing and evolving. We continue to learn more and more about how children learn best, and school policies are frequently updated to conform to that new information. Therefore it is important to consider how current education policies can influence teaching degree programs.

Understanding the Impact of Education Policies on Teaching Degree Programs

The COVID-19 pandemic touched everyone worldwide, but teachers experienced its impact in their line of work more significantly than almost any other profession, except for healthcare workers. One day, they were teaching as normal, and the next, they discovered that classes had been suspended indefinitely and that they might soon need to transition to virtual teaching. None of the teachers were provided with a heads-up or even proper training about how to do this. They had to learn how to educate their students on the go.

A teenage girl attends online classes at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, emphasizing the impact of education policies on teaching degree programs.

Understanding the impact of education policies on teaching degree programs

Numerous education policies were already at some stage in the process before the pandemic struck, but the pandemic introduced even more issues to consider such as:

  • If classes would be held in-person or not (some places forced teachers and students into classrooms faster than others)
  • Major changes to attendance policies to allow for more leniency for those who get sick
  • Health and safety policies overall

These are just some of the policies that have shifted because of the COVID pandemic. Many others have changed for other reasons or are in the works to change right now.

All of this must be addressed by teaching degree programs. Educating educators means informing them about these changes and how they are likely to impact their day-to-day life and career. Therefore, schools that offer a program to provide teaching degrees must keep their students up to date on these changes.

Adapting Curriculum and Instructional Approaches

Pandemics are hardly the only thing that has an impact on educational policies. These policies are also subject to politics and to the way that the world is evolving all around us. The curriculum needs updating to address issues like:

  • Technological Developments - The technologies used by students today far outpace the technologies used by students in years gone by. Teachers are sometimes informed about how to use modern technology, but that isn't always the case. Adapting the curriculum to inform new teachers about the latest technologies and how they can use them to educate students is highly critical to creating a successful educational program.
  • School Safety - The Washington Post reports that there have been 386 school shootings since Columbine. That horrific statistic further emphasizes the importance of prioritizing school safety in the curriculum for training new teachers and teaching them how to keep everyone safe.
  • Classroom Size - We continue to learn more about the impact of factors such as classroom size on children. Every piece of evidence that we have on the issue right now indicates that keeping classroom sizes under control is the best way to provide an optimal educational experience to students.

Curriculum adaptation will continue to play a vital role in educating our children effectively.

Understanding the impact of education policies on teaching degree programs

Technological development education

Emphasizing Professional Development and Continuing Education

Among the education policy changes that we have seen in recent years is an emphasis on professional development for educators. It was once acceptable to obtain a teaching degree and then teach for as long as one wanted. However, teaching degree programs now highlight the need for continuing education. This is because it is so obvious that the best way to educate students continues to evolve. Renewing one's skills and education regularly about how best to serve your students is the best way to make yourself a highly marketable and talented teacher.

Supporting Future Educators in Policy-Informed Classroom Management

There is no getting around the fact that policy has an impact on how one can teach in the classroom. At the same time, policy-informed teaching strategies can help a teacher do their work as best as possible. For example, classroom management in a policy context comes into play for many teachers. They want to ensure that they can control the size of their classrooms to some extent to provide a more individualized approach for each student.

Students learn best when educators offer them an approach specifically tailored to their individual learning styles and preferences. Teachers that work within the framework set up by policymakers to help control the size of their classroom will often see better outcomes for their students.


The process of becoming a teacher is not something that one simply decides to do one day. Instead, one must meet all of the certification and licensure requirements that are created by policymakers. The specific requirements that an aspiring teacher must meet to begin teaching vary from state to state. However, there is a traditional path that many individuals take to begin teaching, the steps of which include:

  • Earn a Bachelor's Degree and Complete a Teacher Training Program - This provides you with the baseline of education and information you need to begin teaching others.
  • Meet the Student Teaching Requirements - Examine the student teaching requirements in your specific state to determine what you must do to cross their thresholds.
  • Consider Getting a Master's Degree if Necessary - There are some programs and subject matters that require teachers to obtain a Master's Degree to do their work. If that is the case, one should take this as their next step.
  • Pass the State Exam for Teachers - There are state-specific teacher's exams that you might have to pass to begin teaching.
  • Apply for Teaching Certification - Finally, teachers need to apply for teaching certification in many states to begin practicing their craft. Make sure you check on this as well.

These are some of the ways that licensing requirements play a role in the changing curriculums for teachers as well.

Collaboration Between Teaching Degree Programs and Education Policy Stakeholders


It is more important now than ever before that we foster collaboration between programs and policymakers. It is often the case that policymakers are at least somewhat disconnected from the process of educating students. They may have children in the school system, but that is typically the extent of the connection between policymakers and the education system. Therefore, educators need to collaborate with policymakers to help them understand their needs and how to best serve students within the system.

Ideally, more policymakers will also come from the ranks of educators. However, even if that does not immediately happen, it is still possible for current educators to work with the policymakers that serve now. When they do so, they can inform those individuals about the needs of students and better inform policy moving forward.

Successful Adaptations in Teaching Degree Programs Require Us All to Buy in

Amazing advances in the world of education have occurred in recent years. We have seen teachers adapt to the new world brought upon them by the COVID-19 pandemic. We have also seen educators begin to advocate more for their students with policymakers. The process of creating the best education experience for students requires buy-in from all of us. When we all pull in the same direction in this way, students can begin to reap the benefits.

For more information on how educators and policymakers are working together check out our blog. Teacher.org provides you with the tools and resources to help you research various degree options and to learn how to become a teacher.