I'm really confused about this "teacher" thing and I need help PLEASE!

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by TheatrenotTheater, Jul 5, 2019.

  1. TheatrenotTheater

    TheatrenotTheater New Member

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    Jul 5, 2019

    So listen, I know that title maybe makes me sound incompetent, but I swear I'm a great teacher. I don't know if any of you can relate, but I was one of those kids in school that got pushed into being a teacher. Not that I'm complaining, I genuinely love what I do, but I'm so lost when it comes to making this my full time career.

    I went to college and got my degree in Theatre, since that is primarily what I want to teach. I also got minors in Education and English. I have many years of experience working in schools. Most recently, I've worked in an after school program for the last three years running of own classroom and I've loved it.

    However, I can't work there forever. I really want to break into the world of full time teaching, but I don't know how to get there. Google results seem to point me in a million different directions. Everyone that's a teacher that I've talked to has either given me mixed advice or became a teacher a while ago when the certifications and rules were less strict. I've already passed the Communication and Literacy MTELS, but now I'm stumped on what to do next. I know I need to take the subject test for what I want to teach, but other than that I'm completely lost. I'm trying to avoid going back to school right away, if I can because I don't have the money and already have so many student loans to pay off. At this point, I'd be happy to just break into the full time teaching world, even if it isn't necessarily as a theatre teacher right away. I am honestly so confused and worried of burning out before I even get to really start. I know I have the power to make a difference to my students as cheesy as that sounds, so any advice would be greatly appreciated!
     
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  3. whizkid

    whizkid Cohort

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    Jul 5, 2019

    Just talk to the dean of education or an advisor in the education department at your college or the state department of the state you want to get certified in.
     
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  4. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Jul 5, 2019

    “The type of license for which you should apply depends upon your educational background, experience, license(s) already held, whether you have taken and passed all required Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL), whether you have completed any required performance assessments (ex. PAL), and whether you hold the Sheltered English Immersion Endorsements (SEI) (if applicable).”

    http://www.doe.mass.edu/licensure/become-educator.html

    Licensure Requirement Tool for MA:

    https://gateway.edu.state.ma.us/elar/licensurehelp/LicenseRequirementsCriteriaPageControl.ser
     
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  5. whizkid

    whizkid Cohort

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    As far as those student loans, you'll qualify for PSLF as long as your place of employment qualifies, so that won't be much of a concern.
     
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  6. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Though, the vast majority of graduates (>90%) with student loans that qualify for PSLF get denied when they apply to have their loans discharged after 120 qualifying payments. I would not count on PSLF with the current state of affairs with the Federal Department of Education.

    I’m so glad I paid off all of my student loans in 1.5 years after graduating back in 2014...
     
  7. whizkid

    whizkid Cohort

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    They didn't take the proper steps to get them discharged. The steps are clearly outlined on how to do it.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/27/business/student-loan-forgiveness.html
     
  8. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Not to be a contrarian, but I read through the article and did not find the “steps [that] are clearly outlined.” The article itself even says the forgiveness process is complex and that student loan providers have trouble and difficulty interpreting the correct steps.
     
  9. whizkid

    whizkid Cohort

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    Nah, I mean the steps are available on how to do it. The article was posted only to highlight why most of those loan forgiveness applicants were denied.
     
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  10. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Gotcha. And I hope OP knows that only Direct Loans apply for PSLF programs. A Perkins loan would not apply, for example.
     
  11. whizkid

    whizkid Cohort

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    https://www.forbes.com/sites/robert...ed-for-student-loan-forgiveness/#2b6aca225a1c

    You may be wondering how so few applicants are approved for this program — a program that seems easy enough to understand. Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Education sheds some light on the most common reasons over 70,000 people have been denied access to loan forgiveness through PSLF. Reasons for denial include:

    • Lack of qualifying payments (53%)
    • Missing information (25%)
    • No eligible loans (16%)
    • Employment dates (2%)
    • Employer not eligible (2%)
    Those that have entered the program in the last 7 years or so have much more information available to them than those who entered in 2007.

    https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/pslfFlow.action#!/pslf/launch

    It literally tells you what you need to do. Many just overlook the details, not to say the system is perfect, but borrowers can take the necessary steps to get them to the finish line.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2019
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  12. whizkid

    whizkid Cohort

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    Right, exactly. That's what's messing these people up, they're not following the clearly stated guidelines set forth by the department of education.
     
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  13. tchr4vr

    tchr4vr Companion

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    Jul 6, 2019

    So, not being in your state, my advice might be a little off, but it should help.

    1) More than likely, you will not get a theatre position right away. I have been working for 20 years, and have never gotten a theatre only position. I have always had to teach English and theater, so get certified in another subject. Since you have a minor in English, that would probably be easiest. Most schools,if they have a theatre teacher, they only have 1, and if the program is strong, it takes a force of nature for those teachers to leave. For example, we have two districts in this area that are known for their support of their theatre programs--top notch facilities, budgets, etc. When a new school opened up in one fo those districts that needed a theatre teacher, they had 400 applications for 1 job. I have been on the list for both districts for almost 10 years, and don't think I'll ever see the light--I'm waiting on two retirees.

    2) Find out which additional subject you can be certified for and take whatever tests are required for that certification. Again, English would be the best. Not sure the requirements in your state, but you should be able to take the test and get at least a provisional. Depending on how many credits you have in English, you may need to go back to school and take more credits to keep your license.

    3) Check out your state's Board of Education website. Most have a section for becoming a teacher or something like that. Usually, there are all the requirements. Again, not in your state, but this was my process:
    1) Had a degree in Theatre with a Minor in Music and Literature
    2) Started grad school for M.F.A., quit.
    3) Worked in professional theatre, then decided to go to teaching.
    4) Needed an English certificate, so enrolled in my teaching classes and my additional English credits, and rolled right into my masters. Quit my full-time job and worked 3 part time jobs and went to school full time
    5) Graduated with my teaching credentials and my Master's in English
    6) Took my NY teaching exams, became certified in English, got a job in NYC public schools
    7) Wanted to move out of state, took all Praxis exams in English, Teaching and Theatre and got certfied in Theatre as well.
    8) Moved out of state, have been teaching for 20 years. Currently also certified in History. Don't teach theatre at all--my school did away with drama 2 years ago.

    Board of Ed is the best resource. I'd start there.
     
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  14. RainStorm

    RainStorm Aficionado

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    Jul 6, 2019

    First things first. You need to become a certified teacher in order to teach full time. Use to, you could find other ways to get your foot in the door for full time teaching, but that is not true anymore. It hasn't been for a long time. And even if you found a place that would even consider it, they would only consider it for very hard-to-fill positions. Theater isn't a hard-to-fill area. It is a saturated area.

    Getting a job as a Theater only teacher is not realistic. Schools only have one of those (if that,) those positions don't come open very often, and competition for them is fierce.

    A minor in English and Education won't help much -- you will need to get your degree in one or the other, or take a certification program in either high school or middle school. (probably high school.) Those are available both in brick-and-mortar schools and online schools. Your competition for a full-time teaching position has a degree in these areas -- more than likely, a master's degree. Be forewarned.

    The internet is not going to be your friend in this process. Everything is based on what state you are in, and the only real way to find out for sure is to contact your state's department of education, send in your transcripts and test results, pay the fee, and have them evaluated. You will get a letter stating what you are lacking. That letter is worth its weight in gold. You will then know exactly what you need to become a full-time teacher.

    You don't really want to rely on local or online colleges to tell you what you need, because they are notorious for telling you something that later turns out to have changed or to not be exactly accurate. They are in the business of getting tuition from students. They won't tell you things like -- there is a glut of certified teachers in that subject and you'll never get a job, or that your current experiences won't even count as experience when you apply for a job as a certified teacher.

    Go straight to the horse's mouth -- the department of education, licensing division, for your state. Don't rely on what they tell you over the phone, actually go through the evaluation process to get accurate information in writing.

    And even then, realize that the requirements change all the time, with very little warning, and you may still end up needing other classes or tests to actually get employed. Some times, at this point, you can get a provisional license, and have a year or two to meet new changes. But the days of having any college degree and then passing a teaching test to become a full-time teacher are long gone.

    I had a Master's of Science in Education, and still had to go back to school for a year to take specific classes and do student teaching to get certified in my state -- and we had a HUGE shortage of teachers in my area because it was an inner-city school district. The local districts, even with the huge shortage, would only hire you as a long-term substitute without the certification, and it was day-play, with no benefits.

    I managed to get certified in one year, but it was a hard year -- I had a huge class load, and lots of practicums. I couldn't work at all during that time because the course work was so rigorous (and offered at all hours of the day and evening,) so I couldn't hold any job while doing it. We had to be available when classes where offered (which was in the morning, late afternoon, and early evening.) We had to be available at least 2 days per week during school hours for practicums, and full-time during school hours for our 12 weeks of student teaching. At least online programs have taken away some of those issues. However, even with online, you need to do student teaching if you want to be a top competitor in the job market.

    I'm not trying to discourage you, just to show you the reality of it. Teaching is a profession, and as such, there are certain requirements for licensing that have to be met. It can take time, and money, to obtain these required skills.

    Good luck in the future! I hope you can find a way to work it out.
     
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  15. TheatrenotTheater

    TheatrenotTheater New Member

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    Thank you to everyone who posted advice. There's a lot of information here to go through so I definitely have lots to think about! I just want to specify that I understand how impractical it is to believe I can just be a theatre teacher. That is part of my end goal, however I understand that it will have to be in conjunction with something else, if it ever happens at all. I have some experience with teaching English, as well as a little experience with special education. Although from what I have learned both in this thread and in the teaching world, experience means nothing if you can't back it up with schooling and certificates. So I'm just trying to figure out what my actual next steps should be.

    From what I have seen both by looking at my state's department of education website as suggested here and by looking at current job listings to get an idea of what's being asked for by schools, it seems like I need to get a bunch of MTELs done to qualify for a DESE license and also get my SEI endorsement. However, everywhere I look, there seems to be a new test to take or a new certification to get so I'm not really sure. And these tests add up in cost so I really don't want to go study and take everything if I don't have to. At this point, I just really want to get closer to a full time teaching job, regardless of the fact that I know it wont be in theatre. Thanks for all of the advice, it really is helping.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2019
  16. Unetheladyteacher

    Unetheladyteacher Rookie

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    Jul 6, 2019

    If you have experience but don't want to go back to school, look into private schools. I have a family friend who teaches at a private school in MA and she is not certified. They will sometimes hire people without teaching certificates if you have the experience. Some private schools might also have more freestanding theater programs that are more than just after school programs.

    Every public school I have worked in considers theater an after school program that you get paid to run.

    I am certified to teach in MA and you need some sort of endorsement of your teaching credentials from a university or through your student teaching program. If you haven't student taught, you might not be able to get certification unless you have extensive coursework at the graduate level. Someone already posted the link to the Massachusetts Department of Education Website, and it looks like you need SEI endorsement to ensure you can teach students who are learning English as a Second Language.
     

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