March Has Arrived

Posted on Saturday, March 06, 2010

I have essentially stopped substituting at this point because I have begun a quarter of "grad" school in order to obtain an additional endorsement (in Social Studies) on my teaching certificate. I'll be spending most of this month assembling a portfolio (read "group of hoops to be jumped through") and observing the two classes that I will be teaching during most of the month of April (two sections of 10th grade U.S. History & Government). I'll be teaching a unit on Civil Rights and the 60's. All this so that I can be observed a grand total of two times by my program supervisor in order to prove I qualify for the endorsement. A privilege for which I will be paying $1500 in tuition while losing the opportunity to make any money over the next two months. All this just so I might more reasonably seek a teaching job for the coming school year. If I'm successful? Then that triggers what amounts to a Master's Degree requirement to be completed in the next couple of years so that I can continue to teach. At, of course, my own expense.

I'll also be taking the state test in mid-level mathematics because, unlike English or Social Studies, math is a high demand field. If I pass, I will not be endorsed to teach math; however, I will be "highly qualified" in that subject, meaning that I could teach it in a Washington middle school as long as I teach 60% of my day in my endorsed subjects. Cost of the math test: $120. Cost to pursue a full math endorsement (since my current English endorsement is entirely unrelated): approximately two years of undergrad tuition, including a full term of student teaching. No thank you.

In order to prep for the math test, I considered taking a course or two at my local community college, conveniently located less than a mile up the road. However, it turns out that most community college classes are now 5 credits (3 credits was the norm back in my day); tuition is running right around $100 per credit. So there would be an additional $500 if I decided to go that route. Instead I went on eBay and found some old algebra texts. It's pretty difficult to work through these things on my own, but, luckily, I have a 15-year-old daughter who is a math genius. Yes, she's been tutoring me. Although this makes me feel slightly pathetic, at least I'm making progress in filling in the holes in my own spotty math education.

These are the sorts of issues that caused me to step away from education for as long as I did. Although I've been in pretty constant contact with teens in educational settings all along, it had been more than 20 years since I had taught in a public school classroom setting (when I started subbing last school year). The major changes in that time have been in requirements for teacher accountability/education/training. I certainly understand those concerns. But why is it that, in every case, any proof of these qualities comes at the teacher's expense? The number of hoops that teachers and potential teachers have to jump through is plain, old-fashioned ridiculous. The fact that each hoop comes with a price tag attached--to be paid by the teacher, always the teacher--is just one reason why it is so difficult to attract quality candidates to the field.

4 Response to "March Has Arrived"

Margaret Says:

AMEN!! The number of requirements and hoops AND expense has grown over the years while the pool of teachers has(not surprisingly) shrunk. It's all a big CYA anyway; many wonderful teachers have just a BA or aren't geniuses in their subject matter, but they can teach KIDS. That's what it's all about. How many professors at UW did I have who were loaded up with credentials and couldn't teach their way out of a paper bag?? Anyway, thank you for letting me vent on your blog. BTW, where is all this student teacher stuff happening? I assume KSD and not ASD??

Pernicious Panda Says:

Yes, KSD. Didn't I tell you? They knew exactly what I was requesting and even had a form to fill out to request a field experience. Unlike ASD where, so far, they still haven't pulled their heads out of their posteriors long enough to even officially decline my request. Jerks.

And, please, vent away! That's certainly what I'm doing today!

g'd Says:

Oh my! Some things don't change...regardless of years. The "teachers" I taught at OCE were usually useless in the classroom. Has to be a better way to recruit good "facilitators of learning" ... if not in the public system, at least in the private sector. Any parochial schools around who would LOVE to have you join them?

JoJo Says:

Guess what else will come out of your pocket? School supplies. Many of my teacher friends end up spending several hundred $$ during the summer to get supplies to help less fortunate children.

Good luck w/ the math though. *shudders* I'm glad to hear your daughter is so good at the subject though!

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