So here I am, still trying to find a way to make the job scene work.
Don’t get me wrong, I really like my college student tutoring, and special education paraprofessional, and noncredit instructor positions. It’s just that I’d rather have one job that paid decently, rather than three jobs cobbled together into something that leaves me overworked but seriously underpaid. (“underpaid” = $11/hr for someone with a MSc)
Lots of schools need teachers. No matter what employment resource I search, there are lots of positions for secondary science and special education teachers. School districts in every state need them, not just in the US but also in the UK. But to teach I need certification, and for certification I need a college degree in teaching. Having dug through the Web sites of well over a dozen universities, I can find lots of programs for current (licensed) teachers to get MEd degrees in special education. What I’m finding very little of are resources for degreed people to get initial teaching licensure. At the risk of sounding whiny, I don’t want to have to get a second Bachelors (in secondary science education) before getting a second Masters (in adaptive special education). No, I’m not confused about that process; that’s what the head of the SpEd program of the state’s major teacher’s college said I would have to do. That’s also what similar department heads at other universities said I would have to do. Two more degrees.
Lots of people want to be teachers. I applied for a transition-to-teaching program in a nearby urban county, and was one of over 200 applicants for a mere 25 positions. There are also a couple of universities that offer programs for people to get restricted teaching licenses, for those degreed-yet-uncertified people who are offered positions by districts that cannot find certified people to fill the positions. Such districts are usually way-the-hell-out-and-gone in the hinterlands of the rural corners of the state. I don’t have any problem with teaching in such districts, but I’m not wholly independent to just up and move — we have a house in need of repairs in an area with a poor seller’s market, and I’ve a high school junior with special education needs who is struggling, and also a husband who would need to find new employment. In other words, the usual messy details of life keep me from being free to simply jump ship. (And of course, two main impediments to the whole house fix-it-up issue are my rather unsurprising lack of both time and money.)
In any regard, all these initial certification programs require two years of classes. The classes and training I’ve already had in college teaching and exceptional students and Asperger’s et cetera don’t even show much promise of being transferable; every school wants their “nine pounds of flesh” at the tuition till. (Well, here in the States; apparently I could get the secondary education degree at Uni Birmingham UK in just 36 weeks. But again there’s the whole moving scenario, plus the horrible $2 : £1 rate, plus visa issues. Or I could take an online distance education MEd in autism or EBD students from that school, but those won’t get me a teaching job here.) Then it would take me a third year to get the second SpEd certification. Somehow, with one student already at college, and those fabulous low-paying jobs, I don’t have a lot of money for another three years of college for myself.
I’m not quibbling about the need for qualified professionals in the world of education; of course we need people who know both the subject material and the process of education. It’s just that there’s such a need for teachers, and such a large number of people who want to work in the field, but there seem to be so many things in the state’s Department of Education’s system that are blocking the transition process*. ::sigh::
* Don’t get me started on the whole “Intelligent Design” and state science standards rant … it only increases the urge to emigrate.