Borderland Journey

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jan 17 2011

Transition Call # 2: Certification Overview

This call was all about certification and testing. We went over a “certification overview” as well as discussed the next steps that we will be taking.

For certification in the state of Texas, you can get a preliminary certification for one year after passing the content exam (see previous post). In addition, you must have an offer of employment, and be teaching in the area that you are pursuing certification in. During that year you must complete 300 hours of professional development (including the 116 hours you must complete before you start teaching- which I will complete at the Houston Institute), teach for 180 days in a classroom, have an on-campus mentor, pass the Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities Exam, which is to test your ability to teach at any grade level, using strategies that are not unique to any level of teaching. After the one year probationary certificate, you can get a standard certification that is  good for 5 years, so long as you document 1500 hours of professional development over those 5 years. OF course, all this costs lots of money too.

Then we discussed the climate of education in Texas. TX is facing a multi-billion dollar educational shortfall like most other states. Of course this is going to affect hiring. However, the school districts have a legal contract with TFA-RGV saying they will hire X teachers. Over 80% of all TFA-RGV teachers are hired by Day 1 of the school year. If you are not, they will help you until you are hired.

To help us with the hiring process they have set up alumni contacts. We will contact our assigned alum for both resume help and a mock interview. I sent my resume to my alum on the 15th, and should hear back by the 24th. Then I need to revise it and send it to the RGV staff so that they can send it out to the principals to try to hire me! J It was actually very hard to write a resume that said “I can teach!” without showing any level of teaching experience. However, we shall see how I did!

We will receive another email on the 31st telling us about interview preparation. That should be good. We will complete the mock interview in mid February, after the Summit!

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