Monday, February 25, 2008

back to school

It looks like I will soon be pursuing my dream career: professional student. Truly, if there were a way to make being a student lucrative (or at least free) I would so be all over it! I love school, which is what makes my news so exciting, at least to me. I am going to be going back to school to get my teaching certificate. I have my Master's in Education and I taught high school for 3 years, but I never did get my certification, which in hindsight, I realize was a mistake. The thing is, when I was in grad school, I was convinced I only wanted to teach adults. Up until that point I had only ever taught adult ESL classes, and I loved it. I had no desire to teach teenagers. And you don't need a certificate typically to teach adults.
It was only later when I had such difficulty finding a full-time college teaching position, that I reconsidered. I gave teaching teenagers a chance and ended up loving it even more than teaching adults! It was so surprising, especially in light of where I taught. Austin Career Education Center is an alternative school in one of the worst neighborhoods in inner-city Chicago. I taught people who had dropped out or were kicked out of high school. That first semester was tough and the students and teachers alike were laying bets on how long I would last. But not only did I not quit, I ended up loving that job. I still miss it. (A gratifying side note: when I quit my job to move with my husband's new job, my replacement lasted one day before resigning!)
Anyway, so now I have decided that I need to bite the bullet and get my certification. I only need about 2-3 undergrad classes (including chemistry) and a couple of graduate-level education classes. The only requirement I need to fill that might be tricky is student teaching. With student teaching, you basically pay tuition to work as a teacher for a semester. This was one reason I never got my certification before: I couldn't afford to go an entire semester not making any money. I am not sure what I will do with the kids during my student teaching, but since I don't plan to take more than one or two classes a semester, I have time--I will cross that bridge when I come to it.
I am not so much doing this in order to immediately get a teaching job. To me, it is more of an insurance policy. With the whole No Child Left Behind legislation, I don't think anyone would hire me without my certification. So, if I ever really needed a job, I could be faced with some problems.
It is so exciting to me the prospect of being back in school, even if it means taking a chemistry class!

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