Sunday, May 3, 2009

New York Private School to New York Public School: A Teacher Certification Travesty

There was a time when I was a happy but angst ridden private school teacher. Teaching is teaching and kids are, ever and always, just kids. And so, guilt about the injustice of it all aside, I was quite happy meeting the daily challenge of trying to offer a genuine education. Still, the years passed, and my guilt grew, and I decided that enough was enough - I needed to become a public school teacher.

At this point, I had a BA in History from a top college, four years of successful teaching at an accredited private school, a newly acquired MA in Teaching from Teachers College, and the enthusiastic support of all of my supervisors. So it was with great disappointment that I left my first meeting with the certification specialists at the New York Board of Education, having been informed that I was deficient in several ways:

  • I needed 3 more credits in the teaching of reading
  • I needed 3 more credits in basic math
  • I needed written proof that my MA in teaching was, in fact, related to teaching
  • I ALMOST needed 3 credits in music, but I was saved by the recorder lessons I had taken on a lark during my junior year at college
I was, like I said, angst ridden in the private school world, and I had gone to the trouble of the Masters. I certainly was not going to let these last obstacles stand in my way. And, so, in addition to the nearly 30K I had shelled out for my masters, I invested in the following:

  • Approximately $500 for credits by examination in basic math
  • Approximately $500 for credits by examination in basic reading education
  • $40 for written evidence of my success, as a high school senior, in BC calculus
And so it was that, after 6 years of higher education, 4 years of successful full-time teaching, and a handful of post-graduate credits at top notch online universities, I found myself worthy, in the eyes of New York State, of a preliminary teaching credential.

1 comment:

  1. I am also interested in getting my teaching certificate for NY and have been a private school teacher for 10 years. I have a MA in Environmental Science and have 18 credits of Ed courses, but have NO idea how to navigate the certification process. Should I begin with a meeting with someone at the Board of Ed? Any advice would be so appreciated!!