Currently attending a Teacher Certification Program

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by tips4Teaching, Feb 14, 2008.

  1. tips4Teaching

    tips4Teaching Rookie

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    Feb 14, 2008

    I really need advice/guidance. I am currently enrolled in a Teacher Certification program in Texas. The certification is to teach EC-4 Generalist/ESL. My concern is: I have never taught before, I have no experience what so ever in education. I have always worked in a Business Administration environment. I have always wanted to teach and now that I’m in my mid thirties and my children are a older, I have decided it was my time to fulfill my dream to teach and enrolled in the certification program.

    My question is, how do I get started? Where can I apply to gain teaching experience until I become certified? I don’t know who will hire me without experience. Can someone give me some insight on how they began their teaching career? I am both confused and scared and any bit of information provided will be a big help for me.

    Thank you
     
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  3. TxHopeful

    TxHopeful Rookie

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    Feb 14, 2008

    I can relate. I have done the same thing and I am having a hard time getting started in the Austin area. Good luck and stay strong.
     
  4. positiveautism

    positiveautism Comrade

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    Feb 14, 2008

    I'm not sure what hours you have available, but you might want to check school district's websites to see if they are hiring teacher's aides. This would be a good way to get some classroom experience while you are completing your program. While I was in college, I volunteered one morning a week in a Pre-K classroom (public school). It was a great experience, and I gained a lot of great teaching ideas. Good luck to you!
     
  5. Noggin

    Noggin Rookie

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    Feb 14, 2008

    Hi Tips,

    I did exactly the same thing- career changer from the corporate world to the classroom through a TX alt cert program. So there's hope! :D

    Here are the steps I took:
    -Apply to every ISD website that you're interested in so you'll be in their "official" HR system (there are options on the apps to click not certified and write in your alt cert program name),

    -send a brief, super polite "I exist, want a job, am excited about switching to a career in the classroom, and would be very interested in interviewing for any opportunities you may have" email to principals directly at every school you are considering with your resume. Many jobs don't post before filled or HR and the actual campuses don't connect well. Every interview call I received was directly from a principal I emailed. I was never contacted once by HR. The principals activated my HR file for the position after I had already met with them.

    -talk to your alt cert program people. There may be a point in the program where you are eligible to start job hunting officially well before you finish the program. For mine it was after having completed a certain number of observation hours, completing a certain number of classes and passing a certain test. Most programs allow you to complete the second half of the program while you're teaching your first year. Trial by fire! :lol:

    - don't feel intimidated by not being traditionally certed. I was VERY stressed about this when I was job hunting and found that it is not uncommon at all and most districts are very familiar with all of the alt cert programs. Of course, they will hire certed teachers prior to an alt cert applicant (makes sense!) so first choice options are realistically fewer, but the fact that you're certing in ESL should be a big plus in your corner. I'll be honest that the job hunt was grueling- I sent more principal emails that I can count, but it worked! You just have to get your name on their radar without being a pest. :)

    Good luck!! :D
     
  6. love_reading

    love_reading Comrade

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    Feb 14, 2008

    If you can, apply to sub...even if for only one day a week. I subbed for one semester before I student taught and I was able to visit with staff in almost every elementary in our town and also you get great ideas and realistic classroom management ideas. Good luck!
     
  7. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Feb 14, 2008

    I was going to suggest subbing, too.
     
  8. Noggin

    Noggin Rookie

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    Feb 15, 2008

    Forgot to mention in my earlier post- I was still working full-time at my corporate job and doing the cert program at night and on weekends so subbing wasn't an option for me. If you are in the same boat, then don't be afraid to go ahead and apply without experience.

    Schools having trouble filling a slot will consider you even without experience once you've passed your TeXeS content exam. And you do not have to shoot low- I landed a job in my first pick of districts. It was just a matter of making sure they knew I was looking when they happened to be stuck for a job I could fill.

    Something else that might help is if you could do volunteer work with the age group you are trying to teach. All apps have portions for that community service info and it will show you do have experience with the target age group. The main concern I saw from admin in interviews as an inexperienced teacher was whether or not I had a realistic view of what working with kids at this age would be like.

    Basically, it was them wondering if I was overly idealistic about the job and would be gone a month after they hired me. So anything you can do- even on a volunteer basis - to show you are sure this is the age you want to be working with will help. I'd mention that in emails to principals, too.... Something like:

    "I am mature and possess a great deal of experience in the business world, but I found my true calling after the opportunity to work with 4-6 year olds in Yada Yada program. I am currently working on EC-4 / ESL certification completion and would greatly appreciate the opportunity to interview for any openings you may have in this area."

    Good Luck! :D
     
  9. tips4Teaching

    tips4Teaching Rookie

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    Feb 16, 2008

    Thank you

    Noggin:

    Thank you so much for all the information you have provided. You have no idea how much better i feel about everything. I now feel like there is hope for me in entering this new field. I will definitely follow the steps you outlined in your email.

    Thank you again, God Bless you
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2008
  10. tips4Teaching

    tips4Teaching Rookie

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    Feb 16, 2008

    Thank you Everyone

    Thank you for everyone that responded to my post. I really appreciate the time you took to give me your advice. It's great to know there are people that care and are willing to give advice to those that really need it.

    Thanks and i will definitely follow all of your advice.

    God Bless you all
     
  11. KinderMissN

    KinderMissN Companion

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    Feb 27, 2008

    Since TX is a charter school state, look at Charter schools (as long as they are recognized by the TEA) I am completing my internship in a charter school this year.
     
  12. TampaTeacher

    TampaTeacher Comrade

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    Feb 28, 2008

    I'm also in an Alternative Certification Program, early 30's, from a corporate background. In Florida, depending on your degree, you can get a temporary teaching certificate and begin teaching right away. The agreement is that you have to complete all your certification classes within 3 years of being hired.

    It was scary just jumping into the career with little experience, but I did it. I'm positive it would have been easier if I'd had an education degree, but I have to admit that I'm really proud of how well I'm doing, how much my students are learning, and how supportive my principal and fellow teachers have been.

    Do you have any friends who are already teachers? My best friend teaches 1st grade and has been a great supporter and cheerleader. That has made a huge difference.

    I know that teachers who come to the field traditionally are academically better prepared for the career, but my teammates have all told me that no amount of schooling can teach you what you learn in your first year of actual classroom experience.

    My biggest worries were that I would be doing a disservice to my students because of my inexperience, and that the other teachers would look down on me because I don't have a degree in education. i shouldn't have worried so much. It has really been an amazing journey - a dream come true. My kids seem to be doing as well as the other 4th graders at my school (I guess we'll know when all the standardized testing is completed and scored), and the teachers have been great.

    Congrats on taking this awesome step. You'll be so happy.
     
  13. tips4Teaching

    tips4Teaching Rookie

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    Feb 29, 2008

    Thanks

    Tampa Teacher: Thank you so much for your advice. Everything you have mentioned in this post is what i have been feeling. I cannot thank you enough for clearing things up for me. I too was feeling that the other teacher would look down at me for not having a degree in education. I'm glad to know that there are teachers out there that warm and welcoming of someone that received their certification from an advanced program. I was also worried about stepping into the classroom for the first time with no teaching experience but i know now i can do it. My aunt is a retired teacher and she has been giving me a lot of advice on what to do when i enter the classroom. I think that with the support of my family and friends coupled with this forum i will be okay.

    Thank you for taking the time to post your experience and opinion. It is greatly appreciated.

    Have a great day

     

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