Need some advice

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by LisainCalif, Feb 3, 2011.

  1. LisainCalif

    LisainCalif Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 3, 2011

    Hello,
    I am looking for some advice, and would appreciate any help you could provide.

    I graduated with preliminary credential (k-8) 17 years ago. I actually had a job offer in hand when I graduated, from the school that I student taught at in San Francisco. I was pregnant when I graduated, and planned on taking 3 months off, and then starting my new job. Well, I had my son and realized soon after that I simply couldn't take that job, and my husband and decided that I would take a few years off and be a stay at home mom. We then had two more chidren, and I continued to enjoy being at home with them. Our middle child has special needs (autism) and being at home seemed to be the best choice for all of us.

    I went back to work part time last year as a special education aide. I love this job, and it works perfectly with juggling the schedules of my kids. I have enjoyed getting back into the work force, and have been so encouraged by the positive feedback I get from the teachers I work for and administration. I work in a classroom with primarily severely disabled children (most have autism, but one is blind). This is a public school in California.

    I contacted the university that I graduated from, and discovered that although my credential is expired, it will only take 3 (online) classes to clear my credential. This will cost about 1,500.00. I am now thinking about taking those classes, but am at sort of a crossroads.

    I would love to teach and have my own classroom one day, but I have been told by everyone (and their brother!) that there are no jobs in California for "regular" elementary teachers. There are special education jobs (resource teachers), reading specialists, and other specialized jobs available, but that is it. I go on edjoin.org all the time to look, and realize that what they say is true.

    I asked the teacher I work for and a few others I respect at the school I work at, and they all say the same thing---that there are no jobs to be had. They all encourage me to get my special educ. credential, but honestly--I am 46 years old and just feel that it is too much money and time to put into it. I love special education and feel I have a knack for it, but I do NOT want to go back to school for a year or more.

    I wonder if it is even worth it to clear my credential at this point with the state of hiring in the California educational system? I cannot relocate (3 kids all secure in their schools, and a husband with a secure job) so I would need to find a job within driving distance to our bay area home. I love being an aide, but obviously that job is very low paying--and we could certainly use a "real" income coming from me. My husband has always worked very long hours, and for the last 2 years travels Mon-Friday, so I am on my own with the kids.

    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
    Lisa
     
  2.  
  3. forkids

    forkids Cohort

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    519
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 4, 2011

    Lisa, don't let your age be a factor in your decision. I started college at 37, graduated at 41 and began teaching. It was the best thing I ever did for myself and my family.
    Only you can decide what is best for your family, but I would encourage you to consider the other factors and not to let age enter into it.
    Best of luck with whatever you decide.
     
  4. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    6,678
    Likes Received:
    1,615

    Feb 4, 2011

    If that is your dream, go for it. Everyone says there are no jobs, but teachers are still hired every year. Even after going to school for a year, you can still teach for 15-20 years if you want. Can you keep your part time job while you are in school? That would give you a foot in the door. Good luck with your decision.
     
  5. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2007
    Messages:
    4,442
    Likes Received:
    1,452

    Feb 5, 2011

    What they're telling you is completely true, Lisa!!! Even those of us Californians who've been teaching 5-6 years are FIGHTING to keep our jobs! Just keep that in mind!!!
     
  6. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2010
    Messages:
    10,924
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 5, 2011

    It is true that it is difficult to get and keep a teaching job, but there are people being hired. If the district you are in thinks you are worth it, they will find a place for you! It might be an aide for awhile...but someone will retire or leave to be a stay at home parent or for another job! If you don't renew your certificate, you might not be ready when the time comes.
     
  7. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

    Joined:
    May 27, 2009
    Messages:
    2,972
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 5, 2011

    Don't be one of those coulda, woulda, shoulda people. If you want to do it, do it. You will be surprised how doors open up when you least expect it. And since you are already in the system, there may be a class with your name on it just waiting to happen.
     
  8. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

    Joined:
    May 10, 2008
    Messages:
    1,592
    Likes Received:
    4

    Feb 5, 2011

    If you really want to go back and get the credential go for it. Although it is true about the hiring freezes things will change sometime in the next few years. Even though there are the hiring freezes there is the turnover in some of the Bay Area districts that open classes in October or later every year.

    This will be a challenging year in California. I am hoping the ballot measure gets put up for vote and goes through, since it just holds taxes as they are. I work in a district across the bay and we have been told they are upping class size in most schools to the contract maximum (around 30 for k-5th). Our school will probably have two of the teachers moved to other schools because of it and combination classes.
     
  9. LisainCalif

    LisainCalif Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 6, 2011

    Thank you all for taking the time to reply.

    It is a lot to think about. I am really struggling with this decision, but you all have helped. It is hard to even think about spending the 1,500 to pay for the classes at this point, let alone the work involved. I know once I started taking the classes I would do fine with them--as I have always thrived in school (with a little attention to detail and hard work!). But I hate the thought of taking the classes and then not utilizing the credential. I suppose if I choose to do this I need to just be very persistent, and assume that eventually I will find work as a teacher.

    For the last year and a half I have tried my best to be a "great" special education aide--for my teacher (whom I love!), my students, and myself. I am always on time, have only missed one day, and really tried to give 100% each day. I will just keep on doing that, and hopefully after I take my classes there will eventually be a change in the ecomony and more opportunities will come my way.

    Take care,
    Lisa
     
  10. mrs a

    mrs a Companion

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2006
    Messages:
    186
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 6, 2011

    I saw the other day that Special Ed teachers are one of the top 5 happiest professions! How about that! You stayed home all of those years and scrimped and save. One year, when it is all said and done, will be nothing. If you are good at what you do, those kids need you. It's hard to find truly genuine special ed techers. I believe god calls us to our vocation. Pray and see what happens.
     
  11. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2009
    Messages:
    2,841
    Likes Received:
    321

    Feb 6, 2011

    I think you should totally do it! Investment in yourself is never a waste. :)
     
  12. tortega

    tortega Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2010
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 7, 2011

    Look into Western Governors University it's all on-line. It cost about 3000 for a six month term and you can do as many classes as you can complete. If you are good at school and have prior knowledge you can accelerate through the classes.
     
  13. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,094
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 7, 2011

    I am also a mid-life career changer. I had considered trying to become a teacher for years, but my ex-wife always said we didn't have enough money or time for me to go back to school. After we divorced, I decided NOW was the time to pursue my dream. I contacted my alma-mater to determine how many classes I would need to get my license. In my case, I needed 6 classes in addition to my student teaching. I was able to take 5 of those classes online (most through my former university) and one at a local community college. My substitute teaching experience exempted me from the part-time student teaching and allowed me to go straight to the 2nd-term full-time student teaching.

    I completed my student teaching assignment at the age of 46! There were no full-time teaching prospect available, so I relied on substitute teaching and took a part-time job as a hotel desk clerk. I expected to continue doing that this school year, but 1 week before teachers returned to school, I was offered a part-time teaching job with the school where I did my student teaching! I couldn't have been happier!!!!!

    Like you, I have no intention of moving to a different area. As a divorced parent, I will be staying as close to my boys as possible. Fortunately, I also live within driving distance of two neighboring states. I took the middle school math test in Georgia and recently received my certification to teach there as well, so that opens a few more prospects. Now I need to send all of my information to TN and see if I can get my certification there as well.

    I agree with the others, do NOT let your age be the determining factor. You have personal and professional experience that few special ed teachers could match. Check with your alma-mater to see if you can take the 3 courses you need online. This makes it SO much easier to get them out of the way. Don't worry about the length of time since graduation. I enrolled in the licensing program 20 years after getting my undergrad degree. I know $1,500 is a lot of money up front, but it is still a relatively small investment overall in your future and you can always apply for financial aid (I did ;) ).
     
  14. bunches3614

    bunches3614 Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2010
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 7, 2011

    I just got my Bachelor's degree at the age of 37 in Elementary Education. There are teachers that say it will take forever to get a job, and then there are others that say that the baby boomers are getting ready to retire. I worked for three years in the school district where I will sub, and have been told time and time again to hand in there, it will turn around. If you really have a passion, then go for it. Substitute salary is usually better than aide salary, so it wouldn't be that bad, and since you already have a Bachelor's you can do that while you take classes. Good luck!
     
  15. H2H

    H2H Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2011
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0

    Feb 7, 2011

    I say definitely get your CLEAR credential. It will be pretty much mandatory (it became mandatory in my district a year ago) and allows you to have more available options. The job market is terrible now, as you know, but that can't maintain forever. Teaching a special education class doesn't have to mean you will spend the rest of your career there. Use that as a tool to get your foot in the door if you need it and then transfer to a regular education setting when you have the opportunity. I hope all works out well for you. Teachers who are there for the right reasons are always in demand.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. waterfall,
  2. MissCeliaB
Total: 176 (members: 6, guests: 151, robots: 19)
test