For those of you adding certifications.....

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by newbie0809, Aug 25, 2009.

  1. newbie0809

    newbie0809 Companion

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    Are you just going in and paying to take the tests or are you taking the required college courses THEN taking the test? This is something I debated with over the summer. I know that I want additional certifications but which way should I do it?

    This summer I took 2 ESL classes out of the four that are required. I only passed one and ended paying alot of money that could've went for just paying for tests.

    My reasoning is I think I should take the courses to have the knowledge. I don't want to have a certification and get asked about it in an interview and not know how to answer the question. BUT as I was taking my courses this summer I found myself thinking this stuff is common sense and things you should do anyway BUT it was all good information and I did learn alot of good things from it such as tips and strategies.

    So what do you think? I really don't want to dish out all this money again for school when I can just take a test but I dont know.
     
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  3. emmakate218

    emmakate218 Connoisseur

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    I don't think admin expect you to be an "expert" in your certifications. I don't think anybody thinks passing a certification test means you have definitive knowledge on the subject matter. There are always going to be areas of the subject matter that you need to learn more about and certain areas that you already have knowledge in.

    If you have a lot of field experiences and other experiences in education, you probably already have all the knowledge and skills to pass the certification exam, which essentially shows that you have the basic knowledge and skills on that subject matter. If you're new to teaching, admin will know that due to your lack of experience, your depth of knowledge on that subject matter may be limited.

    I took the ESL certification exam this past January without every having any formal education in ESL, but I had a load of field experiences throughout my undergrad program that included working with ESL students and staff. I learned just enough from those experiences. Does that mean I'm done learning about ESL instruction? Definitely not. I think of it as a professional duty to continue learning everything and anything I can about ESL, SPD, etc.
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    In my state we don't have the option of just taking the test. :( We can only add certifications by actually taking classes and earning credits. :(

    If I had the option to take a test without having taken graduate-level coursework, I'd absolutely go for it.

    If you don't mind my asking, why/how did you fail one of your ESL classes?
     
  5. newbie0809

    newbie0809 Companion

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    Pretty much its a summer class which means they're cramming in a whole semester worth of work and reading into one month and it was online. At the time I could really only focus on one but took two neway. An assignment was due at least every other day for each class. The assignments weren't simple. They were lenghthy, detailed, and particular just as you would expect a graduate course to be
     
  6. McKennaL

    McKennaL Groupie

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    Ok.. I'm not sure if this is what you are asking for...but I will tell you and you can hear me out or pass this post by.

    My original certification is in music K-12 (two certificates. one K-6, and one 6-12). Later, i went back to become certified in Elementary Ed. I went to the university and they had to take my transcripts and analyze them. What was still acceptable or transferable to the new certificate. i didn't want some half-baked notation that would amount me nothing. I wanted to be as certified and worthy of employment as anyone else applying for an elementary job.

    After analyzing the transcripts...they came up with a plan for me. It would require certain classes to be taken. As I went through that list... I came to the decision that i MUST also student teach in that area of the field if i wanted to be taken seriously (who is going to hire you without ANYTHING to hang your hat on?). That - with all the pre-service things included...added another year and a half to my time (all the while taking courses... I think there were 3 classes that i didn't HAVE to take, but wanted to add since i was taking the time to stay in school).

    Before student teaching there was the rush to take the tests. I was first told that since i taught previously-I didn't HAVE to take the tests (sort-of grandfathered in). THANKFULLY, with more (and faster) research than the university counselors were doing, I found that I DID have to take the tests in order to qualify for student teaching. I had to pay "last minute" fees to take the test...and in order to stay on schedule - I needed to pass the tests the first time out. LOTS OF STRESS! But i made it.

    Here in Illinois...I don't think you can take tests and say you ar certified without taking all the courses and everything that leads up to it!

    Total, I was back in school (including student teaching) from January 2006 to May 2008.

    At the end...i do NOT have another "degree"...but I have what, in Illinois, is considered a Subsequent Certificate. Included on my K-6 music certificate it now says that I am also certified "self-contained, general classroom K-6".

    Not sure if that helps...but that's MY story.
     
  7. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    I think you probably want to consider who you will be up against for jobs. I can easily add physics, chemistry and math. I'm only 3 credits short for full free-standing endorsements in math/chem, but I can add on any of those endorsements just by taking Praxis exams. But for physics, I've only had 10 credits total, so I'm pretty sure I would need a super compelling other reason for anyone to hire me to teach physics, endorsement or not.

    If you have enough on your resume to make you a strong candidate in the area, I probably wouldn't worry about the coursework, but if you don't have a demonstrated history in the subject area or nicely complementing skills, it would probably help in the job hunt given all the competition.
     
  8. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    I am in the same boat. i have to take a bunch of classes for an additional certification. I think there are 1 or 2 tests I have to take but I would never think of taking them unless I was almost done or totally done with the classes. That just seems the more logical way to go for me to focus on the classes first.
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sorry, Emmakate, I disagree.

    I think that, if you're going to put the certification on your resume in the hopes that it gets you hired, you SHOULD be an "expert" in that field. That certification means you're qualified to teach the material, so the very first step in that process should be knowing the material.

    Passing a 3 or 4 hour test in a subject is a whole different matter than spending 180 days teaching it to kids who are relying on you. Learning on the job isn't an option, and it most certainly isn't fair to those kids.

    Picking up extra information along the way to keep informed is wonderful. But becoming certified means you should be an expert.

    Take the classes, then take the test.
     
  10. Kangaroo22

    Kangaroo22 Virtuoso

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    Here you usually have to take courses and a test to become certified in another area. For my additional certification in math I had to have 30 credits in math (which I had since that was concentration for my childhood education degree and I had to pass the Math CST).
     
  11. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    This is a bit long so bear with me as I have two view points on this.

    My personal experience with this was to take two classes then take the test in FACS (aka Home Ec). I was hired with just the two classes and having the add-on. I'm in a hard to fill subject area due to fewer and fewer people going to school for it and only 5 universities in my state even offering the full program for certification (and only 1 of those 5 is within two hours of where I live). So with my particular subject area where I live it's not that unusual for people to be certified and hired via an add-on.

    So for me more or less just taking the test worked great as far as getting hired. Was I an expert in my field last year as a first year teacher? Definitely not! However due to my personal interest in nutrition and food I certainly had enough knowledge to teach the material and learn it as I went along. I think any struggles I had last year I would have also had if I were a first year teacher in say 5th grade which is what I went to school for (K-6 certification). Will I be a better teacher this year when I know the subject matter better after having taught it for a year? Of course. But did my students suffer from me as their teacher last year? I don't think so. Could they have gotten more out of it with someone who had taken more course work in the subject area? Sure, assuming of course that that person was also a good teacher.

    Do I see just taking the test as a good way of doing an add on for every subject area? Definitely not, and I would think for ESL not having the course work could make it very hard to get a job. I also know that a middle school I worked at as a 6th grade teacher would not hire "add on" certification applicants for any of their 7-8 grade openings unless for some reason they had no qualified applicants who had gone the full certification route (so they probably would for FACS due to a small applicant pool, but not for SS, math, English and other core subjects). The principal felt it was not enough of proof of knowledge of the subject area. But then again, for me, just taking the test worked great and saved me two additional years of school.
     
  12. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    MsMar would you mind a PM question about your FACS cert?
     
  13. emmakate218

    emmakate218 Connoisseur

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    When I stated "expert" it meant one that knows everything and anything about the subject matter. I don't think admin or anybody else would expect a teacher to be an "expert" on a particular subject matter/certification unless they've had that certifcation plus experience for numerous years and even then, they still would know everything and anything about it.
     
  14. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I'm not sure there are lots of people out there who know "everything and anything" about any given topic.

    But there's a world of difference between that and the original post-- someone who had passed only 1 of the 4 necessary classes. And, yes, as someone who used to interview teachers, I DO think that certification should mean that you "have definitive knowledge" of the subject matter.

    I stand by my assertion: that certification should imply that the teacher is ready, willing, and able to teach all and any classes within the area of certification, not merely interested and prepared with "common sense" answers to questions on it. My kids, and ALL kids, deserve more than that from their teachers.

    This isn't about the interview, it's about the kids who will be sitting in front of that teacher, and about the education they'll receive.

    If the only way to ensure a teacher knows his or her content is experience, then why on earth would anyone hire an inexperienced teacher?
     
  15. fratermus

    fratermus Companion

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    The individual states' laws about HQ status trump any of our assertions.

    For my kid, I would greatly prefer an engaging teacher who had passed the exams, had common sense, and was interested in the topic over a bitter, passionless academic that cares more about peer-reviewed journals and impending retirement than the kids in the classroom.
     
  16. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    No problem, I just sent you a PM.
     
  17. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Why must "an engaging teacher who had passed the exams, had common sense, and was interested in the topic" and a teacher who " have definitive knowledge on the subject matter" be mutually exclusive? I would like to think that I'm both.
     
  18. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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  19. bryanmj

    bryanmj Rookie

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    I completely agree with Alicaacc. You need to take these classes and put in the work to pass them before taking a test to certify that you are competent in that area. Experience is great but in my opinion you have to understand the foundation of a subject area in order to teach it well. Emmakate, if you have a certification on your TEACHING LICENSE you better bet that you need to know what you're talking about. If I were an admin. and I was interviewing someone with a specific certification and I asked them about it and they really didn't have the background knowledge to answer the questions, I wouldn't hire them. I am working on my K-12 Reading License currently and we're expected to know our subject area inside and out. In Minnesota our school has to verify that we passed all of our classes in order to even take the test. In the end, I think you'll feel much better about yourself as a professional educator if you put the work into completing the classes. Your knowledge base will grow and you will feel like the expert you should be when you walk into your school with that extra certification.
     
  20. emmakate218

    emmakate218 Connoisseur

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    I'm not encouraging getting certifications that one knows nothing about and if you read my posts more carefully, you won't see any indication of that. If you want to believe that I know nothing about a particular subject matter because I've had no formal education for it, alright. Keep in mind though that you know nothing about me personally, what my field experiences throughout my undergrad program included, etc.

    I would also like to add that adding on ESL certification in the state of Texas is beyond common because of our population and some districts won't even consider you as an applicant without it. Every teacher that graduates from my university is required to take the ESL certification exam with only having one course in ESL instruction. Why just one? With the nature of the population of Texas, ESL instruction occurs in every classroom and throughout field experiences, you're seeing it and doing it without even knowing it, so to speak. Also, all of the other required courses in education, reading instruction, early childhood edu, etc. - ESL instruction and dealing with ESL populations was always covered.

    It's clear that the way things are done in Texas in regards to certification - adding on certifications by exam as well as ACPs - make others feel uncomfortable. That's just the way it is in Texas. :whistle:
     
  21. bryanmj

    bryanmj Rookie

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    Emmakate, I was simply disagreeing with your statement about not needing to be an expert in a field that you hold certification. I never once said anything about you personally, if you took it that way, I apologize. We have different opinions because our states have different requirements for adding certifications. I quite liked your end bit of your original post about continuing to seek knowledge in all subject areas. You are right that we can't be experts in every subject, but if you're certified in a specific subject matter, I believe you should be an expert of sorts. If I can openly say that I'm a reading teacher, others should be able to ask me anything about the subject. If I don't know the answer, I should know where to find it. Complete the courses and then take the test.
     
  22. Jlyn07

    Jlyn07 Comrade

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    Aug 26, 2009

    I'm pretty sure that NY requires course work in addition to the tests before you can get additional certifications. I was able to add B-2 certification by only taking one class but to add any more I would have to take several classes.
     

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