Alternative Certification - Secondary Ed. (Texas) Questions

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by Green-Eyed_Lady, Jul 23, 2012.

  1. Green-Eyed_Lady

    Green-Eyed_Lady Rookie

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    Jul 23, 2012

    Hi All,

    I've skulked around this forum long enough, trying to gather some facts and to get a good idea about how the job market for teaching is sizing up lately. Truth is though, I really am getting mixed reviews by reading the posts. :confused:

    I'm located in Central Texas. I am a business professional seeking to move into secondary education through alternative certification. I have already passed my TExEs certification examinations for two content areas (Business Ed. 6-12; English 8-12) and do not have any classroom experience in the public or private school setting (though I do have employee training/corporate seminar prep & delivery experience) and I have done the pre-service hands-on hours required by the State of Texas, but I am seeking employment for the 1 year paid internship to gain my permanent teaching certificate. There are multiple positions posted (to date) by approximately 5 surrounding school districts (which encompass about 8 different high schools) for which I have applied.

    After reading some of the posts about the alt. cert route, I am reeling. :eek: I have seen such negative remarks like "don't even bother" and "they won't hire" that I am starting to wonder if my decision to go into teaching is something that is feasible. My pre-service hands on hours were all done with a teacher that was certified and hired in a school district near me and her husband was also employed last year as an alt. cert. route teacher at the same high school. I felt, then, that my odds were fairly decent in making this career change at the time. Now, I'm not so sure... Granted, some of you are in regions that are experiencing fierce competition, so I can understand those previously referenced remarks in posts.
    However, I'd like to know - those of you who ARE in TEXAS (possibly even Central Texas) - what are YOU experiencing? What do you believe to be the best avenue for me to make this change would be? Any tips, suggestions, or feedback is appreciated. :help:
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jul 23, 2012

    I'm not Texas or Alt Cert or English, but I'm going to step in anyway.

    My first reaction is that I read some of those responses. If you had been here longer, I would caution you to "consider the source." Since you're new, I'll simply ask you to take the worst of the responses, and ignore them. We have a couple of members who are totally disenchanted with teaching, yet inexplicably remain in the classroom... and continue to spend their spare time posting on a teacher's forum!

    OK, now that THAT'S out of the way: welcome. Know that the market for English has always been rough in many parts of the country, and the economy has made it tougher. There simply are not enough jobs for all the very well qualified applicants.

    I would give you the same advice I've given everyone else: right now, on Monday afternoon, begin to email your cover letter and resume to every single public, private, religious and charter school within an hour's commute. Don't wait to hear of an opening, apply EVERYWHERE. Not because you're alternate cert, but because jobs are scarce and it's the end of July.

    Best wishes!!
     
  4. 3littlemonkeys

    3littlemonkeys Comrade

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    Jul 23, 2012

    I was just at a job fair last week...and it does NOT look good AT ALL. I swear we're not being mean--it really is this bad. At the job fair, what I heard from districts was that they were looking for people with teaching experience. Some districts are flat-out refusing to take first-year teachers at all, let alone those participating in alternative certification. The thing with alternative certification is, you don't have a degree in education and you don't have the same student teaching background. While an education degree does not in itself make someone an excellent teacher, or a better teacher than someone who's been in the workforce, it does look on paper like the candidate has more of a background in education. Which means people who go the traditional route are going to have an edge.

    It's hard right now. There are so many teachers competing for spots. The larger, "popular" districts are being extremely picky, and the districts that perhaps in the past fewer people would consider are being deluged with applications as well. At least that is my experience. I'm in San Antonio...
     
  5. 3littlemonkeys

    3littlemonkeys Comrade

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    Jul 23, 2012

    Keep in mind though that I am elementary...I don't know the outlook for high school. I'm trying to get anything elementary or even middle school and I have 5 yrs experience and it's still rough...
     
  6. Green-Eyed_Lady

    Green-Eyed_Lady Rookie

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    Thanks for the info. I am actually from San Antonio and my brother currently teaches/coaches there now!

    People continued to encourage me forward when I doubted the outlook last year because of the budget cuts. Even teacher friends of mine insisted that districts would hire 1st year or alt. cert. teachers because they had to pay them less than someone who has, say 5-7 years of experience, and in the long run that makes a huge budgetary difference. Of course, that's just hearsay and I am extremely far removed from the decisions of upper adminstrative officials other than what I read in the newspaper, so... I don't know how much truth there is to that.

    I also considered the 12 week unpaid internship through the ACP program I am in. Wondering if that is going to be my only option in the near future if I don't hear anything.

    All the jobs I have applied for are still posted, and I have gotten ZERO calls, inquiries, etc. When do I go into panic mode about this? When the postings start disappearing and I have still heard nothing? I feel as though I am reaching the point of no return for this school year very quickly.
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jul 23, 2012

    You might consider posting your cover letter, minus any identifying info.

    A good cover letter can work wonders, and some here have had a lot of luck with AtoZ rewrites.
     
  8. 3littlemonkeys

    3littlemonkeys Comrade

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    Jul 23, 2012

    I would think it would make a lot of sense for districts to hire new teachers! Especially new-to-TX-with-previous-experience teachers...ahem...lol. I was actually shocked to discover that the biggest district here isn't taking new teachers, nor were they even present at the job fair.

    There was a district from Houston at the job fair that supposedly had 200 openings. Why they came this far, I'm not sure, but one of the people in charge at the job fair indicated there were 200 openings if we were willing to relocate. Hardly anyone visited that table. Instead they swarmed the tables of the larger local districts...there's apparently a lot of competition.

    I have heard that schools hire all through August--even the first week of school, as they are working out class sizes. This is my first year trying to get hired here as a resident with current TX certification, so on some of this, my guess is as good as yours.

    Can you ask the district HR offices if they are accepting applications from alt cert candidates? If you're not in such a populated area, maybe your experience will be different than here?
     
  9. CJandSA

    CJandSA Rookie

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    Jul 23, 2012

    I am in the DFW Metro area, and I will be starting my 3rd year teaching MS Science this fall. I got my alternative certification and had no problems with the fact that I did not have any official teaching experience or education. At my campus, I know of at least 5 others teachers that have been hired from similar programs, so I really think it depends on the principal and his/her attitude.

    My large district (and many others in my area) has had tons of openings this spring and summer, at all levels. I think Texas is a decent place to be in terms of availability of jobs. I don't think your career change is unfeasible at all - you've just got to search hard and find a way to showcase your skills!
     
  10. Green-Eyed_Lady

    Green-Eyed_Lady Rookie

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    Most of the postings say (under experience requirements) "One year student teaching or approved internship"... I take that to mean I am eligible for the positions that have this listed.

    As for the San Antonio market and your job fair experience, that is really shocking to me. Unfortunately, my husband's job is too good (in Austin) to relocate for a teaching position. We just won't consider that. (And as a born & raised Texan, you couldn't pay me to move to Houston anyway! :p)

    I don't know where you are looking in San Antonio exactly, but have you looked in some of the outlying areas like SCUCISD, NBISD, etc? Toward the north side of the city?
     
  11. Green-Eyed_Lady

    Green-Eyed_Lady Rookie

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    That is great to hear! Does your school district hire well into the month of August, up until school starts? Just trying to get an idea on a time frame of when these positions that I see posted actually begin to be filled. My most preferred school district has had multiple postings at ONE high school (which will be the largest in our school district with an enrollment of 3000+ kids next year) for an English teacher since Feb of this year. I have applied, dropped off my resume personally, name dropped, talked with other friends who are faculty there, did my pre-service hours there, and have gotten ZERO feedback on the jobs open there in my content area - All very frustrating since I consider myself to be extremely likeable, very professional, above average intelligence, and able to sell myself positively!
     
  12. Green-Eyed_Lady

    Green-Eyed_Lady Rookie

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    Thanks for the tip! I've had my cover letter and resume scoured by every teacher I know, just for some advice and feedback. However, I may post it here in a day or two once I get familiar with everything!
     
  13. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Jul 23, 2012

    Hi and welcome! I'm around the DFW area so I know nothing about the Austin area...however, I do know that even though it might be HARD to get a job being alternatively certified, it is not impossible. My sister is going on her 5th year and she was alternatively certified coming from the science sector. It could be that you have to go to some of the smaller districts around Austin. Good luck!
     
  14. 3littlemonkeys

    3littlemonkeys Comrade

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    Schertz and New Braunfels would be about an hour+ commute...I haven't checked into them for that reason but I may have to consider a terrible commute if nothing comes of the closer districts. I'm stuck in the Lackland area--I shouldn't say "stuck" as I am happy to be there, lol, but I can't consider moving at this time. Kinda funny, I came all the way from CA, but now can't move a matter of hours away...go figure!
     
  15. 3littlemonkeys

    3littlemonkeys Comrade

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    Also--did you already do your one-year internship? Or is that what you're looking to get? I thought you still needed it...it may be easier then if that's not the case.
     
  16. CJandSA

    CJandSA Rookie

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    As far as openings still being filled, I'm not sure. At my campus, the administrators started their vacation around June 25th and came back to work last week. I know there were at least 1 or 2 positions that had to be filled upon their return, so I'm sure there are districts that are still looking to fill holes as people move, accept other offers, etc. Good luck!
     
  17. Green-Eyed_Lady

    Green-Eyed_Lady Rookie

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    No. I have not done the one year internship yet. That is what I am trying to get hired for, so my probationary certificate will become permanent after that year (and after passing the Pedagogy exam for Texas). I have only passed my content area tests and done the pre-service hours thus far.

    Lackland is a long way from the NE side then! Yikes! I completely understand the commuting issue. That's why we ultimately moved to Austin because my husband was commuting from NE San Antonio to S. Austin everyday for about 4 years. Once gas started going up we pretty much bit the bullet and moved our family north! People don't understand how big Texas is, until they're here and have to drive crazy distances to work! Have you considered the Devine/Lytle Floresville areas? I know they're smaller and more rural, but...it's worth a shot if you haven't considered it.:)
     
  18. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Austin and the surrounding areas have always been tough to get into. I remember visiting a blue ribbon school and they had lots of certified teachers working as aides. This was the mid-nineties.

    If you go farther out to the smaller districts, then I think you have a better chance, especially with the business certification. Unfortunately though, it's awfully late in the hiring season this year. Get on the service center's website and plaster the area with applications and cover letters. Email all principals, even those without openings as they may find themselves with one unexpectedly.
     
  19. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Jul 23, 2012

    I wouldn't let what you hear discourage you. I went that route over 10 years ago and had some difficulty finding a job even before budget cuts, etc. But what was meant to be happened and I ended up at a really good school.

    We hired an alt cert teacher last year. The fully certified, experienced teacher quit after a week-so we needed someone fast to fill the slot. We also added a class after the year started because of over-enrollment.

    I don't know about the qualifications they had, but I just got an e-mail today from my district saying they were looking for volunteers to help at a new teacher in-service because we have hired 1500 teachers this year (usually our turnover is about 800-900). It is a large district and not in Central Tx, but it's double what they originally expected. So you may get lucky.
     
  20. 3littlemonkeys

    3littlemonkeys Comrade

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    I checked them out at the job fair, they didn't seem to have much that matched up with me then, but just re-checked a website and whaddya know, they have a posting up as of today...applying now, emailing after! I think that commute would be close to an hour as well, but with less traffic, so at least not over an hour...? Worth checking out at least. Thanks for the reminder :)
     
  21. chasisaac

    chasisaac Comrade

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    Jul 23, 2012

    I will give you what happened to me.

    I have a degree in a non-certifiable field. I was teaching at a private school. Love teaching. See writing on wall for RIF.

    I started WGU to become certified. Choose Social Studies and working on second degree.

    In 2006:
    I had a BA degree.
    Passed Praxis.
    In the middle of Teacher Education.
    Tried Alt Cert.

    No one talked with me about with alt cert in progress. I was willing to move anywhere.

    Fast forward to today. It is even worse out there. There is NO teacher shortage in any area. The schools have been producing teachers through the nose for years. More people have gone into teaching with the bad economy.

    The reality of the situation:
    P thinks: Alt Cert? Ick. More work for me.
    P thinks: Doing actual ed program more work for you.

    The one area where I live that has lots of openings is on the Indian Reservations.
     
  22. MsB2012

    MsB2012 Companion

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    Jul 24, 2012

    Have you considered applying to charter schools? I am a first year teacher and was hired in May to teach third grade at a charter school this coming year (There are many campuses all over Texas for the charter school system I was hired for. They go up to grade 12 though. PM me if you want more specifics on how to apply for them! I helped another friend of mine with details on where to apply and she was just hired too!)
     
  23. Green-Eyed_Lady

    Green-Eyed_Lady Rookie

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    Thanks for the advice. I know the market certainly varies by state and even by region, so I have to consider the people locally and weigh their feedback a little more heavily in my considerations.

    As for the ed. program - my course of action has been to go throught the ACP program and get my certified in my content areas. In addition, I enrolled in an M.Ed program at a Texas University as an effort to continue down this path and display my committment to this career change. I began the M.Ed program in the spring semester this past year, and have done well so far. However, in order to continue with that - I need to be employed in an educational setting as well. So - catch 22, so to speak.
     
  24. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    I think this is probably the best advice, too. Private schools and/or charter schools in Texas are much more likely to hire people who are going through the alt. cert route. It's a great way to get your foot in the door and build experience.
     
  25. Green-Eyed_Lady

    Green-Eyed_Lady Rookie

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    Thanks for the advice! I did send MsB2012 a message to get more info on charter school insights, as I was a little hesitant about applying to those. Still awaiting feedback on that... :)
     
  26. MsB2012

    MsB2012 Companion

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    Green-Eyed : I responded early this afternoon! But, it doesn't look like it's showing up in my sent items box, so I'm unsure if there was a glitch and it just didn't send. Did you get my reply? I can retype if not! :)
     
  27. nyteacher29

    nyteacher29 Comrade

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    I do not live in Texas, but what about private schools? or even a tutoring center to just get your foot (And experience) in the door?
     
  28. suzerich

    suzerich Companion

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    Jul 26, 2012

    Hi, I went through an ACP. I could not find a teaching internship, so last fall, I completed a 12 week Clinical Teaching assignment. I am now certified in 4-8 Generalist and 8-12 History. It has been very hard. I started the process in 2008, gunho, but kind of late, thinking I would get something pretty quickly. But, it was late in the year, so I started subbing. In the spring, I went to all of the local job fairs, had maybe 1 or 2 interviews,but nothing. I subbed for the last 3 years, but I could not even get an interview for aide positions. This year, I subbed a lot in the spring, had one interview, and just had an interview on Monday. I think it's me, every interview has asked different questions, and I had difficulty answering them. I'm getting discouraged. I will be finding a full time job somewhere this fall, I've looked at schools over an hour away. I would suggest to do the Clinical Teaching if you can. It is definitely worth it. I am looking in the area between South Dallas County/Ellis/Navarro/Hill Counties. So, the districts are smaller, but I've seen jobs listed at schools that I haven't seen them listed before, so it is possible. I think there's something that I personally am doing wrong, either in completing applications, writing or communicating with principals, etc. It's totally out of my comfort zone, because I am a very shy person, and don't like to "bother" people. The people on this website are great, and I would look at their experience and assistance before any of the other "teacher forums".
    Good luck.
     
  29. Believeachieve

    Believeachieve Rookie

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    Aug 8, 2012

    Clarification, PLEASE!!!

    My ACP has been less than helpful. Would anyone be willing to answer a few questions regarding NCLB? Currently, I am HQ in SPED 7-12. I failed EC-6 on Monday. :(

    I have called my ACP a few times but have not received a response. I will definitely take EC-6 in 60 days. Is there another exam that I should take would make me more marketable? My undergrad is in occupational education and MA in Counseling. At this point, I am willing to take any position offered. Thank You in advance!
     

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