Hello everyone, I am new to the forum and need some advice. I received my degree in elementary ed. in 2011, but I did not get my teaching certification (EC-6 in Texas) until last year. This was because a year before I graduated I lost my mother who was literally my best friend. I pushed my way through student teaching to graduation, and after that I just needed time to myself to grieve and heal and it just took me a lot longer than I anticipated. During this time I remained in the field by substitute teaching, that way I could go at my own pace but still maintain my knowledge and skills, etc. I did this while slowly prepping to take the cert. exam. I'm fine now and I'm working as a full time pre-k teacher at a private center, wanting to get into a district. How can I explain this briefly in a cover letter to explain the gap between obtaining my degree and my certification while being professional and it not hurting my chances? Would simply noting (but not necessarily elaborating on) a "tragic family event" as the cause be bad? Or is that even too personal? I'm so worried I could say the wrong thing and this could hurt me.