Friday, March 31, 2006

Where Things Stand Now

So here's where I am on the road to my new adventure. Because my bachelor's degree is in Communications, I needed 9 additional credits to meet the Maryland state requirements for teaching English (luckily, I had taken a lot of English classes as electives in college). So in the Spring and Fall of 2005, I took four online classes with UMUC, which I loved, to bring myself up to code, so to speak. I even voluntarily took a math class in case I decide to teach in PA some day. (Maryland only requires 3 credits of undergraduate math to teach at the intermediate level; PA requires 6.)

After completing these classes, my original plan was to enroll in UMUC's Resident Teacher Certification program this Spring. Two other requirements for this program were to take and pass both the PRAXIS I and PRAXIS II exams. I took both last year and passed (I was sweating bullets on the math section of the PRAXIS I), even earning a certification of excellence from ETS for my score on the PRAXIS II in the English content area (props to me!). I sent in my application for the RTC program, but much to my disappointment, this year they changed how the program was organized and there was no way I could work it into my schedule. Previously, you enrolled in online certification classes for the Spring, culminating in two weeks of student teaching. You could then begin teaching in the fall as a fully paid teacher, but the teaching experience was a mentored, supervised experience. And this experience could take place in one of several counties in MD or in Baltimore City. After the year-long teaching assignment, you would be certified, However, the new program eliminated the two weeks of student teaching and now the supervised year of teaching only takes place in Prince George's County. Living in southern PA, I just couldn't commit to driving to PG County every day for a year.

So this Spring semester was a lost semester. I applied to the teacher certification program at Loyola College and was recently accepted. I have also sent in an application to the College of Notre Dame's Accelerated Certification for Teaching (ACT) program and I'm waiting to hear about my acceptance there before I make my decision where to enroll. With both programs, I can start taking classes this summer. I think I will be able to complete the Notre Dame program more quickly. ND offers two summer sessions instead of one, so I could complete six credits out of 21 before the fall semester starts. Also, ND only requires one semester of student teaching. Loyola's program is more credits and requires one semester of observations one day a week and then a whole semeseter of student teaching (I need to keep working my regular job for as long as possible before I make the transition to teaching - and a lower salary). Believe me, I created a whole chart comparing the two programs! And both programs offer the opportunity to put the certification credits toward a master's degree, which is another long-term goal.

So between now and May, I'm just in a holding pattern, waiting to hear from Notre Dame before registering for classes in one of the two programs. But I'm very anxious to begin!