Friday, March 02, 2007

Definitive Reasoning behind Teacher Shortage

Robert Frost is my absolute favorite poet, ever! I could read about mending fences or swinging on birch trees or yellow woods for days on end. I should have followed his advice and taken the road less travelled by, because the one that is well trodden has led to nothing but dead ends, red tape and frustrations.

4 years ago, I decided that I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up. I had thoughts about it earlier in my life, applying to only 2 colleges with specific majors in mind (USC as psych and BC as education, for those keeping score at home), and after a lifetime of other roads taken, I found myself back where I started.

So, how, exactly, do you go about being a teacher after a lifetime of other roads taken? Certainly at my age, going back for a BA in ED is out of the question. Too costly in both time and money for a degree that would, in essense, make me repeat the same classes I took at SC. I was not entering into this phase of my life empty handed - I had my BA plus my MA in Counseling. 7 years of schooling. Certainly, someone would find me qualified to teach, right?


Ok, fine - I get this - play along... I go back for a second Masters. I hear my father cringing from many zipcodes away... will this child EVER get out of school??? My program promises me, before I attend my first class by the way, that at the end of it all, I will be able to be certified in both Special Ed as well as Regular Ed. Cool. Kill two birds with one stone. Great!

The classes are boring, mundane and make me long for the ivy covered walls of some wonderful Jesuit institution (I've attended two, and loved both) but I go through it. Jumping through hoops. Get it.. playing along...

I graduate. Yipee!! I get my first job as a special education teacher. Yipee. That was 3 years ago. In that time, I have had to prove myself qualified 4 times, been observed 8 times, been asked to submit transcripts 2 times, and had to deal with the most frustrating population of students on the planet. If I am lucky, I teach the same thing only 5 times, in 5 different ways, until they get it.

Now, I would like to see how the other half lives. I'm not exactly burned out in special ed, but definately smouldering.

Again, let's review - (1) 4-years degree, (2) 3-year masters' degrees and now (3) years in the classroom. With me so far? Now, in order to prove myself "qualified" to teach regular ed kids, because evidently they require more than special ed kids do (????), I have to take another state test, to the tune of $135 (remember folks, we are still paying off the Masters that started it all, and I've already paid to take 2 of these tests, as well as 3 additional classes).

I pass. Yippee!!! (truly, it was not hard. If I had not passed, I'd have crawled under a rock)

I take my new test score sheet, my contracts showing hire date, my additional $120 to pay the state for the certificate and march down to Dept. of Ed.

Do I walk out with my certificate??


I now need additional original transcripts as well as letters from the Superintendant or his designee, stating exactly when and where and to whom I have been teaching for the last 3 years. Maybe then, MAYBE, I will get my certificate to teach regular ed.

And we wonder why we can't hire competent teachers. Seriously.

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