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Monday, April 6, 2009

Teaching as a Second Career

So You Would Like to Become a Teacher
by Dr. Claude Cunningham, Associate Superintendent Curriculum & Instruction

The current economy has caused many of our local businesses and industries to make work force reductions. The employees displaced have skills and knowledge which may be of great value to the children of our community. If you are in this situation, you may have decided that it is time to look seriously into teaching as a possible career. Teaching is not easy. Teaching is very time intensive and requires a lot of emotional energy. If it is a fit for you, teaching is one of the most rewarding professions in the world. To make this career change, there are some things that you need to know:

Entering the teaching profession as a public school teacher requires that you become certified by the State of Texas. There are two primary routes to certification; the traditional certification route and an alternative certification route.

Traditional Certification
The traditional pathway to certification is to enroll in the Teacher Education program at a local college or university. Typically, you will be required to take 18 hours of professional education course work. These may include a field experience or internship. Many of our local colleges and universities have special programs for individuals who hold a bachelor’s degree who are looking to change professions. The requirements for these programs may vary, but the number of courses is about the same.

Alternative Certification
There are several programs which offer alternative routes to certification. Some of these are proprietary programs; others are offered through colleges and universities or the regional Educational Service Center (FYI, Mansfield ISD is in ESC Region 11). These programs typically offer intense, short term instructional programs in the summer followed by regularly scheduled follow up sessions in group or individual settings. Alternative certification often allows you to become a regularly employed classroom teacher while completing the certification program.

Either route will result in the receipt of a Texas Standard Teaching License. The State Board of Educator Certification (SBEC) has a very helpful web site which lists all the approved teacher certification programs in the state, traditional and alternative. It will be to your benefit to “shop” the various programs as each has unique requirements. Identify the one that best fits your needs before you commit to any particular program.

Next Steps
If you are interested in determining the opportunities available to you in this area, go to the SBEC Web site and pick the region in which you would like to pursue a certificate. You will be given a list of programs and links to each program.


Dr. Claude Cunningham said...

If you are interested in making a career change into education, then you and I have a lot in common. I began my career as an industrial microbiologist doing exobiological research for NASA while working on my M.S. at the University of Houston. I entered public education as a short term career change while waiting to be drafted ans sent ot Southeast Asia...I am still waiting.

I am pleased to have been asked to monitor this blog and respond to questions that may come in through the question site above. My experiences in making this move myself should provide me with some meaningful insights into your situation.

I look forward to seeing your comments and responding, as appropriate.

Anonymous said...

I have heard that Mansfield ISD WILL not hire alternative certification people until they have worked in another district for a year. What's the point of applying for this District if that is the case?

christy said...

At one time, MISD Personnel stated that they wouldn't hire a teacher that had just completed alternative certification; is this still their policy?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Cunningham,

I am currently going through the certification process through ECAP. I look forward to taking the exam very soon. We have lived in this district for 6 years. I have three children attending three different schools--Legacy, Donna Shepard, and Mary Jo Sheppard. I would love to teach in this district as well. It is my understanding, however, that MISD does not hire alternatively certified individuals until they have had some experience. Is that correct? I would appreciate your response. Thank you.

Elaine Johnson

militaryspousetransfer said...

Dr. Cunningham,
I am a previous military member and student graduating in 4 weeks with a Bachelor’s in Business Management. I have decided to pursue a career field in Teaching in hopes of being a Marketing Education teacher and Girls Softball Coach. We are transferring out of the military and I’m looking to get started teaching in the fall, but unlike most states, Texas doesn’t seem to have an emergency certification program. What would you suggest for an out of state resident to do, to get started? I’m willing to relocate as soon as June 1st, prior to my husband’s PCS, if there is a paid position available for me. I’m willing to do summer training from June till the school year begins.
Military Spouse Transfer!

Marie Medina said...

Dr. C,

What are the rules on student loan forgiveness? Could someone teaching at a Title I school get some help paying pack loans? even if they were for a science degree and you were teaching English for example?

Anonymous said...

I am very interested to see if Mansfield ISD has changed their hiring policy. I have cautioned several people from applying due to the fact that MISD has NOT hired alternatively certified teachers.

Anonymous said...

I have also heard that MISD doesn't hire those who have went through alternative certification. I have a BA and am part of the ECAP program...I have worked as an aide for MISD for over a year but I have been informed that I'll have to work for another district for a year before I can get hired as a teacher for MISD. Is there any truth to this Dr. Cunningham? What are your suggestions?

Anonymous said...

Dr. Cunningham,
I am currently going throught Ecap to get my Certification. Is it true that MISD does not hire teachers who go throught an Alternative Program.

Dr. Claude Cunningham said...

WOW!! Good comments and questions. Two themes run through the most recent comments; 1 Does MISD hire alternatively certified individuals, and 2 How does working in a public school impact federal student loan repayment.

Let’s look at the first theme, “Does MISD hire alternatively certified individuals?”. Well, I was hired by MISD and my original certification was earned through the 1960’s version of an alternative certification program. So, the general answer is, “Yes, MISD does hire folks who were certified through an alternative certification program”. There is a caveat, however. Historically, MISD has not hired individuals who were not certified. That means that we have not hired alternative certification program interns. We do not have agreements with any alternative certification programs to accept their interns. So, I guess the real answer to this question is that MISD hires individuals who are certified regardless of the program through which they were certified. Make sense?

The second theme is related to the impact of teaching in public school on federal student loans. This one can be a bit tricky. If you are hired as a teacher in a federally identified school, your federal student loans may be reduced or forgiven completely. In MISD, our Title I campuses qualify for this cancellation, I believe, but I am not the expert on federal student loans. This is a question best answered by the loan officer on the higher education campus which awarded you the federal loan.

Anonymous said...

In Fall 2007 I was a student teacher in MISD as part of my traditional certification, which I received in Dec. 2007. Beginning in Feb. of 2008 I began substituting in the district with hopes of becoming a full-time teacher. Every May MISD host teacher interviews which I attended last May. I was not successfully hired last May, so I thought maybe I could try again this May, but for some reason individuals can only interview once for the district. Why is this so?


Anonymous said...

Dr. Claude Cunningham,

I just want to make sure I fully understand...the only way MISD will hire alternative certification teachers is if they work for another district first? Are there any exceptions the district will make, like if someone has been working as a sub or an aide for MISD?

Venetia Sneed, Coordinator of Personnel (Recruiting and Retention) said...

In response to the question regarding repeating attendance at the MISD Job Fair...

The Mansfield Job Fair is but one avenue perspective teachers have for interviewing for a position in the district. The annual Job Fair is limited in the number of applicants that can be interviewed during this event; therefore, we reserve the space for those who are first time participants. We want to interact with as many perspective candidates as possible and increase the opportunities for applicants to interview and have their information registered by the district. Previous Job Fair scores are kept on file in the recruiting office and Principals can always refer to these scores when considering prior participants. Applicants who have had the opportunity to interview at the Job Fair in the past are encouraged to apply online and forward their updated resume and letter of interest for campus openings. There is no limit to the number of times they can be interviewed by campus teams. We hope that this overall process affords more people the opportunity to interview with the district and continues to build our database of individuals interested in MISD.

Anonymous said...

FOrgive me Dr. Cunningham but your response was very confusing. Do you hire individuals who go through an alternative certification program? So, for instance, I take the test and I pass and am considered a highly qualified individual (according to ECAP). At this point will MISD hire me or will I have to go to another district first, get some experience and then try again with MISD?

Anonymous said...

I not sure why they are beating around the bush with this alternative credential hiring question. Yes, they have hired people in alternative crendential programs. However, for the most part this was a campus choice, not through the traditional online/interviewing process. MISD wants other districts to train the teacher and then they will consider hiring them in MISD.