For years now, Texas has accounted for a quarter of the nation’s population growth. New residents need jobs, homes—and school for themselves and their children.

That said, Texas is looking for teachers—lots of them—and that means opportunities for individuals who love people and sharing what they know.

Across the state, tens of thousands of vacancies need to be filled. The demand and competition between districts has pushed starting teacher salaries to record highs—above $50,000 in many districts.

That means there’s never been a better time to explore teaching as a meaningful, rewarding career.

So, what makes a good teacher, anyway?

Public school teaching today is complicated, for sure. It requires knowledge of the subject matter, state and school district policies, a mastery of classroom management techniques—and a caring, supportive attitude that engages minds and causes people to be interested in what you have to say.

Here are characteristics of great teachers, as listed by GreatSchools Staff:

  • Great teachers set high expectations for all students. They expect that all students can and will achieve in their classroom, and they don’t give up on underachievers.
  • Great teachers have clear, written-out objectives. Effective teachers have lesson plans that give students a clear idea of what they will be learning, what the assignments are and what the grading policy is. Assignments have learning goals and give students ample opportunity to practice new skills. The teacher is consistent in grading and returns work in a timely manner.
  • Great teachers are prepared and organizedThey are in their classrooms early and ready to teach. They present lessons in a clear and structured way. Their classrooms are organized in such a way as to minimize distractions.
  • Great teachers engage students and get them to look at issues in a variety of ways. Effective teachers use facts as a starting point, not an end point; they ask “why” questions, look at all sides and encourage students to predict what will happen next. They ask questions frequently to make sure students are following along. They try to engage the whole class, and they don’t allow a few students to dominate the class. They keep students motivated with varied, lively approaches.
  • Great teachers form strong relationships with their students and show that they care about them as peopleGreat teachers are warm, accessible, enthusiastic and caring. Teachers with these qualities are known to stay after school and make themselves available to students and parents who need them. They are involved in school-wide committees and activities, and they demonstrate a commitment to the school.
  • Great teachers are masters of their subject matterThey exhibit expertise in the subjects they are teaching and spend time continuing to gain new knowledge in their field. They present material in an enthusiastic manner and instill a hunger in their students to learn more on their own.
  • Great teachers communicate frequently with parentsThey reach parents through conferences and frequent written reports home. They don’t hesitate to pick up the telephone to call a parent if they are concerned about a student.

Teacher Education at COM

College of the Mainland offers the Associate of Arts in Teaching (AAT) degree, the first two years of a four-year baccalaureate degree and leading to Texas teacher certification.

While the degree is designed for transfer purposes, the Associate of Arts in Teaching meets the “No Child Left Behind” requirements for paraprofessionals if students decide to stop after completing the degree.

Associate of Arts Teaching – Leading to Initial Texas Teacher Certification EC-6

This degree prepares students to ignite the imaginations of the youngest learners. Students learn in hands-on classes with professors with years of experience teaching children.

Associate of Arts Teaching – Leading to Initial Texas Teacher Certification 4-8, EC-12 Special Education

This degree trains students to spark a love of learning in fourth through eighth grade students or special-needs children in any grade. Students train in small, hands-on classes and conduct observations in the COM Child Development Lab School and local school districts.

Associate of Arts Teaching – Leading to Initial Texas Teacher Certification 8-12, EC-12, other than Special Education

This degree prepares future teachers to guide eighth to 12th grade students. Students enjoy small, hands-on classes, observations in the COM Child Development Lab School and teaching practicums at local schools.

COM is Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers

According to Robert Castro, director of Child Development and Education, COM graduates work as aides, assistants and paraprofessionals in local school districts, and many transfer into bachelor’s degree programs at surrounding universities.

“One of the nice things about being a COM student is getting the opportunity to familiarize yourself with local school districts and build professional relationships that could potentially lead to a future career,” Castro said.

COM’s AAT Program has a flexible schedule that meets a variety of student’s needs. Classes are offered face to face, hybrid and online. Students have hands-on experiences and learn about current practices used today’s classrooms.

For more information, contact Castor at 409-933-8442 or