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Old 02-04-2010, 01:55 PM
 
9 posts, read 16,051 times
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Greetings all,

I've found some pretty helpful information on this very topic in this forum, so I decided to register and post myself. I would really like to secure a certified teaching position in the area. I don't really mind where as long as it is in the city limits, or I suppose at a reasonable distance. I'm not being picky to the point where I would only apply to Northside and such. A little about myself: I have a science degree and am in graduate school working on a PhD at the medical school, but I am looking for a career change.

That being said, my main concern is with the alternate certification program (ACP) route, which I will inevitably be doing as a new teacher. My hope is to teach grades 8-12 science. I will be able to get the required certificate by the time the next school year begins, and will pass the required texes exam. I hear science teachers are in demand, but to me it seems that it is usually just people guessing, or the ACP people trying to swindle me into joining them right away by "guaranteeing" me a spot. Might anyone have any practical advice or suggestions, such as when to apply, where (or more importantly, how) to look, etc.? For instance, I was told that I can apply for the next school year this spring, after passing the required test, on the presumption that I will have the necessary certification by the time school begins. Would anyone like to expand upon that, or offer anything else for someone like me undergoing the alternate route to teaching?

Thank you very much for reading, and I look forward to hearing from you.

David
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Old 02-04-2010, 02:10 PM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX, USA
5,142 posts, read 11,453,181 times
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San Antonio offers best chance of landing EDUCATION JOBS in 2010-2011?
We have many folks who are wanting to get into teaching in S.A.
The link above is a previous thread on the happenings for 2010-2011. Good luck!
PS If you can do Teach for America, that's the way to go at this time!
Edit: In case you didn't catch this thread. If you did, good for you!

Last edited by skeet09; 02-04-2010 at 02:43 PM..
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Old 02-04-2010, 02:38 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX via San Antonio, TX
6,151 posts, read 8,611,676 times
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I know I've posted in a few of the threads that you have probably read and have spoken out against the change in career, alternative certificate program because I know a few people who have never actually gotten jobs out of the program.

However, I think with your background you'll probably have a leg up in the process. Just make sure to emphasis that in your resume with keywords and all that good stuff when you do apply at any district. Ask the alternative certificate programs about their placement rates and their placements for people with specific degrees too.

Good luck!
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Old 02-04-2010, 03:15 PM
 
9 posts, read 16,051 times
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Thank you very much for your suggestions already!

Skeet, I'm glad you reminded me of Teach for America. I didn't think about it, and the application deadline is in 2 weeks! I'm getting on it.

Ashbeeigh, my thoughts were similar to yours, but I'm still always skeptical about programs like that. They want money up front, but make no guarantees. Then if you actually land a job, they want $4000 more or so. And it's also very interesting that you actually know people who didn't get jobs after the alt. certification. Unfortunately, I don't know of any other way if you don't do student teaching, besides Teach for America or things like that, which are painstaking application processes themselves.
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Old 02-04-2010, 04:59 PM
 
Location: Mid South Central TX
3,183 posts, read 7,419,478 times
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You can go routes other than alt cert, and still do an internship (which is what alt cert people do).

Incarnate Word, OLLU, and Wayland all have master's programs which lead to initial certification. You can either do student teaching (one semester, about 14 weeks, unpaid), or do an internship (full year teacher of record, paid).

HOWEVER

Getting the internship is another story. Once you have certification, most districts/principals don't care. The major districts do not hire interns any more at almost any level.

The alt cert programs fail to mention this!
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Old 02-04-2010, 07:29 PM
 
Location: San Antonio
2,216 posts, read 3,985,611 times
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I do believe with any of the Alternative programs you have ( by state law) three years to complete your testing/certification process. This would allow you to search and obtain a job with any district.
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Old 02-04-2010, 07:53 PM
 
Location: WA
2,871 posts, read 3,961,919 times
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With your background do the Alt Cert. I don't know which is the best program to enter in SA. I did my Alt Cert in Waco 3 years ago. You definitely want to do it through a local community college or the TEA Regional Office and not some private operation.

Now is the time to do it and this coming year is probably the best year ever to find 9-12 science teaching jobs in SA. The State recently increased the HS science graduation requirements from 3 years to 4 years. Next year's senior class will be the first cohort to graduate with the 4 year science requirement. This means that every HS in Texas is now scrambling to come up with relevant courses to offer their entire 12th grade class. The typical progression in Texas is 9th-biology, 10th-chemistry 11th-physics 12-elective (AP science classes etc). My own HS is looking to add 8 to 10 new science classes next year to accommodate all the seniors who now need another science class.

I teach at a suburban HS with about 2,0000 students and we'll probably hire 6 new science teachers next year. 2 to replace 2 teachers who are leaving and 4 new ones. Now most of the new classes and advanced AP type classes will be snatched up by veteran teachers meaning that most of the new teachers will be hired to teach standard biology, chemistry and physics. But it gets you in the door. I've taught all 3 and I like physics the best because it is juniors who are just more serious and mature than 9th or 10th graders. In any event, every school in SA will be looking on how they are going to be expanding their science offerings next year. Every single one.

Now for the Alt-Cert programs. My wife is a doctor and I was working as an environmental consultant out of a home office when I decided to take the cut in pay and go into teaching. So I was in no great hurry and could be deliberate about doing all the Alt-Cert coursework and certification exams before applying for jobs. I entered my Alt-Cert program in the fall of 2006 and didn't apply for teaching jobs until the spring of 2007 at which point I was only lacking one certification exam. I applied to 10 different districts in the spring of 2007, got 12 interviews (multiple schools in one district) and got 9 job offers within 2 weeks time. I ended up accepting a job at my first choice school and am still there.

I did the program through my local community college in Waco. What I did was phone-interview a couple principals about Alt-Cert hires and asked them which program in the Waco area was most respected by principals. They told me the community college one so that's where I applied. And the instructors were all excellent. They were all top quality veteran teachers and principals from the area so I was very happy with the program. Quite a few of my classmates started their intern teaching year at the same time they started the Alt-Cert program. You can do that easier in science as they are more desperate to find science teachers. You really need to ask around.

My advice would be to try to set up a short phone or in-person interview with one or two of the principals of the schools closest to where you now live. Ask them about Alt-Cert hiring and ask them which program they think has the most respect in their area. And that's where you apply. The most respected program is also going to be the one that does the best job placement of its candidates.

Alt-Cert programs mostly have all their classes in the evenings and weekends so you can get started as soon as possible and still keep working in your current field if you want.

In any event, you are in exactly the right field at exactly the right time to be thinking about science teaching. If you were talking about elementary ed it would be an entirely different story. No shortage of elementary teachers anywhere in the state that you might want to work.

One last word of advice. Definitely get the composite science certification. That's the cert that allows you to teach all science subjects. My school and many others won't even look at an applicant who is not composite science certified because they want the flexibility of being able to have them teach any of the science subjects.
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Old 02-05-2010, 06:20 AM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX, USA
5,142 posts, read 11,453,181 times
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Here's the link for the local community college alt teacher program:
Center for Educator Preparation (http://www.alamo.edu/sac/ce/cepp/ - broken link)
NVC Educator Preparation Program (http://www.alamo.edu/nvc/programs/ed_prep/default.htm - broken link)
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Old 02-05-2010, 07:32 AM
 
Location: San Antonio
437 posts, read 776,982 times
Reputation: 282
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamatotex97 View Post
I do believe with any of the Alternative programs you have ( by state law) three years to complete your testing/certification process. This would allow you to search and obtain a job with any district.
I have a friend who got the job (as a science teacher) with the condition that she would complete certification within a certain number of years.

Have you thought of private school? Your background sounds perfect for it, and they're not required to hire folks who are certified. I taught mathematics at Saint Mary's Hall for 11 years and loved it - the students, teachers, class size (average of 12 with a range of 8 to 16). And the pay is comparable to public school.
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Old 02-05-2010, 10:36 AM
 
Location: WA
2,871 posts, read 3,961,919 times
Reputation: 3489
Quote:
Originally Posted by sshurgot View Post
I have a friend who got the job (as a science teacher) with the condition that she would complete certification within a certain number of years.

Have you thought of private school? Your background sounds perfect for it, and they're not required to hire folks who are certified. I taught mathematics at Saint Mary's Hall for 11 years and loved it - the students, teachers, class size (average of 12 with a range of 8 to 16). And the pay is comparable to public school.
You will not get a job at St Mary's Hall without being certified and having a stellar resume. It's a great school. I've done summer AP workshops there and know some of the science teachers. None of them are going anywhere and when they do have openings they have their pick of applicants.

Of course there are plenty of small private christian schools all over Texas that are not nearly as selective. Lots of them are staffed by uncertified teachers and pay sometimes only 1/2 of what public schools pay. But the elite prep schools like St. Mary's Hall in San Antonio, Trinity Valley in Fort Worth, St. Andrews in Austin? Those kinds of schools can afford to hire the very best teachers and are far more selective than any school district in their hiring.
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