25 April 2008

There's Always a Back Door

I have never thought I would enjoy teaching elementary level students. I like kids, but I can't quite get past the idea of being contained with the same group of children all day every day.

The simple truth, however, is that having an elementary certification would provide more opportunities. Although instructional coaching is about working with teachers, it would be good to have the flexibility to work with small groups of young 'uns now and then.

My problem is that Washington is not particularly friendly where certification requirements are concerned. Adding endorsements is typically a time and budget intensive process. In theory, the state would like me to have 45 hours of elementary specific coursework and do a practicum (student teach...again...after 17 years...). That's not going to happen, no matter how nice having an official elementary cert would be. Another route would be to get National Board Certification at the elementary level---which the state would then recognize. Um, not interested in a 400 hour project that is nothing more than a crapshoot.

And then I remembered that in Texas, once you have one cert, you can add others by taking tests. Hmmm. I have a lifetime teaching certificate for Texas...so I'm eligible to add on an elementary endorsement. But will Washington recognize it if I do? Why, yes they will. I do have to get someone from Texas to verify that I've met the requirements...and then take another test here (Praxis II) in elementary ed. Not a bad deal---I spend ~$200 on testing and certification fees and very little time and energy acquiring what I need. Poof! I'm a certifiable elementary teacher.

For those of you reading this in horror---not to worry. I won't be your first grader's teacher. Although Washington's certification hoops are a real pain in fanny, they're there for a reason---so people with specific training end up in specific classrooms. It's the right thing for kids. On the other hand, with nearly two decades of experience (and almost an EdD), I also don't think it should be so blasted difficult to expand my certification. Good thing I've found the back door.

No comments: