This one's for the good folks running around in Schools of Ed. If you plan to leave your state, venture out into the great wide open and teach the children far away from the homeland, you should have an idea by now of how you're going to do it. One of the big things you're going to need to know is what kind of certification you'll need to teach in your state of choice.
My road to certification was a long, perilous one that ended with a phone call from the city saying "Nick James will not teach tomorrow if his certification is not complete." Yep. My paperwork had not gone through by the day before school, which meant I had to take a trip down to the headquarters of the NYC Department of Education to see what was going on with the paperwork I had submitted in a timely fashion many weeks prior to the beginning of school. I'd actually begun the process more than six months prior to the beginning of school.
Going from Kansas to New York things can be tricky. States often have what's referred to as certification reciprocity, meaning that some states only accept teachers from certain other states. Now, I believe New York got rid of excluding certain states from reciprocity, but the process a year and a half ago left my head spinning enough that I'm not really sure what New York State wants from it's teacher candidates before they teach. They wanted me to pass four certification exams, take trips to the NYC DOE offices numerous times, call the state office in Albany a few times, dance around with a tutu, sweat for the several weeks leading up to school and finally pull strings most people don't have to push my certification through in time to teach. Pretty sweet, right?
Some good advice I took away from my advisor at the School of Ed was to go ahead and get the certification my home state offered at the end of my teacher program. While I applied directly to New York State, having a Kansas certification helped the process along considerably, even though it was impossible to tell that would be the case by reading the certification requirements. If my certification had not gone through and my principal had kept me in the classroom anyway, things would have gotten way worse if I'd not been certified in any state. Getting certified in two states ended up costing more money of course between processing fees and three additional certification exams, but it was worth it.
If you haven't checked out what you'll need to be able to teach you should still have plenty of time, but get on it. You can find most certification requirements online. I was contacted recently by the journalist working for the website certificationmap.com, which is a pretty decent starting point for anyone leaving their state to teach. You can find some preliminary information and links to state's certification requirements.
The site also has a blog on which they're interviewing teachers about their craft, why they went into the field, etc. The man who contacted me asked me to fill out a few questions and then put my answers up as a post on December 28th. Nice!
Today's Wine: Franciscan Cabernet 2006. This one was recommended by Betty in an earlier post. I couldn't find the Cabernet in New York, but I found it on a trip back home. While a bit more expensive than what I usually buy, it was a great bottle of Cabernet. Very well-balanced and complex on the palate. Between the recommendation, the great bottle and the fact that my father picked it up for me, I was living large last night.