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Old 12-30-2010, 08:39 AM
 
206 posts, read 695,053 times
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Hi,

I am a recent U.Va grad with a B.A in English Language & Literature. I don't have an education degree but am seriously getting excited about the thought of teaching English. I've read some about alternative routes of teacher licensing but the first step is to get a school system to sponsor me. I have no idea how to go about this...does anyone have any experience or know about this process? ANY info and advice would be really appreciated!

Please and Thank You!
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Old 12-30-2010, 08:48 AM
 
1,759 posts, read 1,746,971 times
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I only know how alternate route works in NJ, and that includes going through a college program, not just getting a school to sponsor you. Hopefully someone with VA info will respond.

Not to be a downer, but years ago I too was "excited about teaching English." Got my Master's in English ed and went for it. Well, it really wasn't what I thought it would be in the current educational climate (in public schools). Everything is very PC, you can't remove disruptive students, you have so many kids on meds for one "disorder" or another, and even with English sometimes the use of a red pen is not allowed (never mind it makes it easier to see mistakes, it apparently "is not good for student self-esteem!).

Don't get me wrong, there are many wonderful and rewarding things about teaching, they are just much harder to come by now. You also have less parent support than in past generations (and I'm a parent now, and very supportive of teachers in every way), where you get so many parents who won't let you correct their Special Snowflakes at all (even in h.s.!)

Also, you are at the mercy of the administration, the board, the school system, etc for many things. Your hands are tied.

Again, not to be a downer but I just wanted to throw those things out there. My hat is off to all teachers b/c it is a MUCH harder job than anyone outside the system realizes and yet they get so much criticism. If only people had to walk in their shoes for a day!
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Old 12-30-2010, 09:27 AM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
4,489 posts, read 9,538,285 times
Reputation: 3656
Quote:
Originally Posted by mariagostrey View Post
Hi,

I am a recent U.Va grad with a B.A in English Language & Literature. I don't have an education degree but am seriously getting excited about the thought of teaching English. I've read some about alternative routes of teacher licensing but the first step is to get a school system to sponsor me. I have no idea how to go about this...does anyone have any experience or know about this process? ANY info and advice would be really appreciated!

Please and Thank You!
I looked into alternative licensure paths when I wanted to switch from IT consulting to being a secondary math teacher. The Virginia DOE has the requirements listed on their website:

http://www.doe.virginia.gov/teaching...ure_routes.pdf

Basically, you can either have 5 years relevant work experience in the field you want to teach, or you can be hired by a school who then vouches that you are a good candidate to get a license (which is what it sounds like you're trying to do). Good luck with that--Fairfax County public schools will not hire people without their credentials. I am currently in a graduate program getting my M. Ed, and one of my classmates has a degree in English, was a practicing lawyer, has been a para pro for 3 years, and is 75% completed with his masters. They still wouldn't hire him as a teacher until his coursework was completed.

You do have a chance at being hired by a private school. They do not have the same requirements to teach--many of my classmates are currently teaching in parochial schools, religiously affiliated schools, or prep schools. Then, you may be able to transition to a full license. No school is going to sponsor you without having seen you teach at least a few years though.

I'd highly, highly recommend taking some education coursework though. In the area, Marymount, Mason, GW, and Georgetown all offer night/weekend classes towards your masters. I start my student teaching next week (YIKES!) and am so much more prepared than I was 2 years ago when I was looking into these programs. I feel like I actually have the tools and understanding to be successful.

If you REALLY want to teach immediately, there are programs in DC and PG County, MD that will put you in Teach for America type schools. Google them...and then google blogs and messageboards to find out the participants' experiences. I had interviews lined up with each before I had my eyes opened to the realities of DC city schools and chickened out.
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Old 12-31-2010, 05:15 PM
 
97 posts, read 280,977 times
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You are going to have a hard time getting a job teaching English in a northern virginia school system without a teaching license. Those jobs are in high demand, and there are usually more than enough licensed applicants to fill the open slots.

I have no idea if this is the case with DC public schools, but I would imagine (I could be totally wrong) that they might be more willing to work with you.

If you want to teach in nova, I'd look into licensure programs. George Mason has one, I think. Another option would be to apply to private schools where licensure may not be required.

Best wishes to you!
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Old 12-31-2010, 05:50 PM
 
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Check out this program at Shenandoah's Leesburg campus. One year in the college classroom and observing and the second year is paid teaching on a provisional. Problem is ytou need the five years of work experience. Shenandoah University : Career Switcher Program
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Old 01-04-2011, 08:24 AM
 
2,612 posts, read 4,743,937 times
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I got my teaching license through an alternative route in VA about 6 or 7 years ago. I am not sure if the requirements have changed, but it really wasn't that difficult to do - just takes some perserverance and research. The first thing you have to do is decide what kind of certification you want. Teaching English in HS may seem like the obvious choice, but it's also somewhat competitive and gives you limited opportunities. Teaching English as a Second Language (or English for Speakers of Other Languages) is related and would give you many more opportunities in the NOVA area, even beyond just the public school system (except for private schools, which don't usually need ESL, but do hire English lit teachers).


Unless things have changed, you can begin working in a public school on a provisional license after taking a certain percentage of the required courses. You then have a couple of years to finish the rest while you are working. This is the "sponsorship" you are talking about. Almost no one will hire you without at least having taken a portion of the coursework, regardless of the actual rules. It looks bad for the principal. Take the courses at the Northern Virginia Center of UVa if you can - it is cheaper than other schools. Mason is also popular, but I think the courses are a little harder and more expensive.

Finally, forget trying to figure all that our for now - here is my real advice: Get a job in the school system now, but not a teaching job. Either sign up to substitute teach or apply for a job as a teacher's assistant. Do not be picky about what level or school you go to. You may find you like what you didn't expect to like. Once you are in the system, you will meet principals and people will get to know you. At that point opportunities will begin to present themselves and job offers may even appear. You will also get some help and advice through the the certification process. This is by far the best and easiest way to become a public school teacher. Many many teachers started out as assistants or substitutes. I started out as a sub myself, took a few classes while subbing, and ended up getting the provisional license and a job offer when the teacher I was subbing for never returned.

I can't recommend this route strongly enough - not only will you have the chance to see what the system is like before you invest your time and money, but you will most likely have a job waiting for you when you finish the necessary coursework.

You will also get a steep discount on class tuition at the Northern Virginia Center if you are already working in an educational position.

Check the fcps.edu website for openings for assistants and to sign up to substitute. They may not be hiring assistants right now, but you can sign up to sub anytime. After you sign up, you can also walk right into your local school and introduce yourself and give a copy of your resume to the principal and secretary. Schools are always absolutely desperate for a good substitute teacher, and showing your face and making a good impression will almost certainly get you a phone call.
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Old 01-04-2011, 09:22 AM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
4,489 posts, read 9,538,285 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marie5v View Post
Unless things have changed, you can begin working in a public school on a provisional license after taking a certain percentage of the required courses. You then have a couple of years to finish the rest while you are working. This is the "sponsorship" you are talking about. Almost no one will hire you without at least having taken a portion of the coursework, regardless of the actual rules. It looks bad for the principal.
I don't know about other counties, but in Fairfax it is no longer possible to be hired without full credentials as far as I know. One woman in my program was hired by the principal this past August as a third grade teacher (she'd been a para pro/aide at the school for 4 years). The first week of school, she had to give up her classroom and become a substitute, as the state would not approve her having her own class. At that point, her masters was over 50% completed, so it wasn't a lack of course work.

I think this "highly qualified" restriction is really forcing teachers-to-be to go through more traditional routes (or at least check ALL the boxes) before getting their own classrooms.
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Old 01-04-2011, 01:14 PM
 
2,612 posts, read 4,743,937 times
Reputation: 3943
Quote:
Originally Posted by CaliTerp07 View Post
I don't know about other counties, but in Fairfax it is no longer possible to be hired without full credentials as far as I know. One woman in my program was hired by the principal this past August as a third grade teacher (she'd been a para pro/aide at the school for 4 years). The first week of school, she had to give up her classroom and become a substitute, as the state would not approve her having her own class. At that point, her masters was over 50% completed, so it wasn't a lack of course work.

I think this "highly qualified" restriction is really forcing teachers-to-be to go through more traditional routes (or at least check ALL the boxes) before getting their own classrooms.

I checked - it is actually a little easier than it used to be, not harder. A teacher on a provisional license is considered highly qualified. The criteria vary depending on the subject area, however. There is information about the specific requirements here:

http://www.doe.virginia.gov/teaching...nsure_regs.pdf

It's difficult to figure out, however - I only managed it by emailing the department of ed repeatedly, and by getting advice from the people in fcps instructional services. Some of the requirements are things you have to be in the system to know about, which is why I recommended getting a job in the school system first.

I can't speak to the situation above, but it's not how much coursework you have, it's which coursework, and it is very specific to the area a person is teaching in. I think classroom teachers (versus specialists, who don't have their own rooms) have more requirements.
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Old 01-04-2011, 01:20 PM
 
857 posts, read 998,790 times
Reputation: 541
maybe you should check with private schools in the area? a friend of mine took a position teaching history at a private school in NoVA and makes more than a new teacher in FFX without jumping through the hoops.
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