Author Topic: Easiest way to become a high school teacher?  (Read 4233 times)

rhadams1988

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 28
Easiest way to become a high school teacher?
« on: September 10, 2016, 10:22:19 AM »
I'm currently an engineer working for a big corporation, but I have dreams of becoming a high school science teacher over the next 5 years. I've always loved science, educating young people, and I'm envious of my wife's work/like balance as a middle school teacher.

Anyway, does anyone have advice on the easiest way to become a high school science teacher? I live in Illinois (Chicago) and I know there are certificate programs as well as MA programs at a few universities, but these take about 2 years to complete and a fair amount in tuition. One way around this is to work for a private institution like my wife does, but I figured someone else might know a better way. Thanks a lot!

meandmyfamily

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 211
Re: Easiest way to become a high school teacher?
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2016, 12:48:09 PM »
At our local community college you can get a post grad certification to teach high school (if you already have a Bachelors) for $6900 and it takes just over a year.  Check out your community colleges.

NV Teacher

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 455
Re: Easiest way to become a high school teacher?
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2016, 01:10:15 PM »
Check with your state DOE and/or local districts to see if they have an Alternative Route to Licensure proagam.

We have two new teachers that did this at my school this year.  One is a retired police officer and the other has a degree in Agriculture Science. 

They had to take a six week course and spend another four weeks working with a teacher in a classroom.  Now that they are in the classroom they have three years to complete their education course work which will then give them a Masters in Education.  They will get a stipend/grant to pay for about half of the course work for the Masters.  Not a bad deal if they can handle being beginning teachers along with taking classes at the same time.

westtoeast

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 353
  • Location: East Coast City
Re: Easiest way to become a high school teacher?
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2016, 02:06:49 PM »
I'm a teacher near Boston and I was able to get my certification & MAT degree through a fellowship at a charter school. I paid 1/3 of traditional tuition and received a living stipend that was large enough to cover my rent and basic expenses. There are multiple such opportunities in my city and I would guess Chicago offers much of the same!

Knapptyme

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 222
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Florida
Re: Easiest way to become a high school teacher?
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2016, 02:28:20 PM »
Some states and school districts allow a certain number of faculty to be non-certified teachers on their way to certification. There's a window of opportunity to then get certified while teaching in the public sector. This varies by school district. I suggest looking into it. Otherwise, go private.

Side note: I tried it in Michigan, the public school didn't want to use one of their limited number of spots on me, so I went to a private school. My guess is the school was rationing those spots to make room for coaches of certain varsity sports they cared about more than education.

Bartleby_the_Scrivener

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 101
Re: Easiest way to become a high school teacher?
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2016, 06:49:31 PM »
Just so you know, you're not going to have a work / life balance as a high school teacher in mathematics or science (or English, for that matter). You'll be doing more stressful work for longer hours and less pay. Middle school may be a different story. However, I would really, really consider this carefully without the romanticized notions of teaching promulgated by movies like Stand and Deliver.

I just left teaching after seven successful years, and I don't plan to return. My current job requires fewer hours and pays more.

MustardTiger

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 180
Re: Easiest way to become a high school teacher?
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2016, 07:21:04 PM »
In Texas you can do an alternative certification program if you already have a Bachelors.  I started in May, started applying before my first class, and had a full time job that August.  The first year was an internship but I still made a full salary minus the college fees.

MustardTiger

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 180
Re: Easiest way to become a high school teacher?
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2016, 07:22:45 PM »
Just so you know, you're not going to have a work / life balance as a high school teacher in mathematics or science (or English, for that matter). You'll be doing more stressful work for longer hours and less pay. Middle school may be a different story. However, I would really, really consider this carefully without the romanticized notions of teaching promulgated by movies like Stand and Deliver.

I just left teaching after seven successful years, and I don't plan to return. My current job requires fewer hours and pays more.

What job did you transition too?  I am a middle school teacher of 5 years, but I don't think I can do it until I retire.

Pigeon

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1173
Re: Easiest way to become a high school teacher?
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2016, 07:35:19 PM »
Just so you know, you're not going to have a work / life balance as a high school teacher in mathematics or science (or English, for that matter). You'll be doing more stressful work for longer hours and less pay. Middle school may be a different story. However, I would really, really consider this carefully without the romanticized notions of teaching promulgated by movies like Stand and Deliver.

I just left teaching after seven successful years, and I don't plan to return. My current job requires fewer hours and pays more.
Agreed.  Dh is a high school science teacher.  Talk to a variety of high school science teachers to get a realistic idea of what you are getting into.   Work/life balance is not at all the way I'd describe it. 

crazy jane

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 226
  • Location: Northbrook, Illinois
Re: Easiest way to become a high school teacher?
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2016, 07:47:02 PM »
Middle school math teacher in the Chicago area. It's Saturday, I put in four hours today, I need to do another few hours tomorrow. Last Wednesday I worked a fourteen hour day. I will trade my job for your job. That might be the easiest way for you. Seriously, keep your engineering gig and volunteer to tutor. If you really have your heart set on this, check out a program that certifies you and gives you a master's degree. Be sure to spend some time as a sub if you want to get a sense of what it's really like. FWIW, I do enjoy my job.

Bartleby_the_Scrivener

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 101
Re: Easiest way to become a high school teacher?
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2016, 08:39:39 PM »
Middle school math teacher in the Chicago area. It's Saturday, I put in four hours today, I need to do another few hours tomorrow. Last Wednesday I worked a fourteen hour day. I will trade my job for your job. That might be the easiest way for you. Seriously, keep your engineering gig and volunteer to tutor. If you really have your heart set on this, check out a program that certifies you and gives you a master's degree. Be sure to spend some time as a sub if you want to get a sense of what it's really like. FWIW, I do enjoy my job.

Very sensible. By the way, there are a lot of teachers like crazy jane, except they don't like their jobs. There's a reason that forty to fifty percent of teachers leave teaching within five years. I'm surprised it's not higher.

SwordGuy

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5028
  • Location: Fayetteville, NC
    • Flipping Fayetteville
Re: Easiest way to become a high school teacher?
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2016, 08:48:15 PM »
My guess is the school was rationing those spots to make room for coaches of certain varsity sports they cared about more than education.

Sad but likely true.

pbkmaine

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8261
  • Age: 62
  • Location: The Villages, Florida
Re: Easiest way to become a high school teacher?
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2016, 09:01:50 PM »
Why not get your masters and teach engineering or math at a community college?

MrMathMustache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 54
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Florida
Re: Easiest way to become a high school teacher?
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2016, 06:53:02 AM »
Like others have mentioned, your first step is investigating the programs recognized by your state's department of education.  Wild guess here, but I imagine there are more, and higher, barriers to entry in Illinois for career switchers than there are in states like Texas and Florida, given that the south is generally right-to-work, while the northeast and midwest have stronger union influence.

Keep in mind too that the likelihood you'll be given something like AP physics when starting out is quite low, and to do the job well will require many hours of outside preparation and planning.  I love teaching high school mathematics & couldn't imagine doing anything else, but make sure you know exactly what you're getting into first, and good luck!

radram

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 934
Re: Easiest way to become a high school teacher?
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2016, 08:41:32 AM »
I lived this decision in 2001.  Was an IT manager on a Friday, walked into my boss's office and said my last day was Monday. Took a Computer Science teacher position on a 1 year emergency teaching licence, issued immediately.  LOVED it for the first 5-7 years, though I never worked harder or more in my life.  Then things slowly began to change.  I FIRE'd last June. When I did, I no longer loved what I did, and it was definitely time for me to get out. I would summarize my experience as worth it, but I would not begin the process today with what I know now.

Here is an incomplete list of why I left last year(copied from a past post)

Teaching from 2001 through about 2009 or so I loved very much.  After that, things just changed and it was no longer the same.  FIRE'd  in 2014.  Some day I might have returned to the 2001 teaching.  I would never return to the 2014 teaching.

Maybe if things change again I would return, but not because I need to.  Time will tell.

Was this a NCLB/Testing thing, or something else?  What did you teach?

Computer Science in High School.  It was not 1 thing, it was a long list of things that accumulated with time.  Some of them:

Class size increased from 24 to 30
Added responsibilities not related to teaching
Less prep time
Leadership change that was not necessarily bad, but was not better.
Reduced benefit package
Elimination of a clear path to increased financial compensation
Turnover rate of faculty/staff (about 80% in 4 years)
A subjective review plan tied to compensation
Fatigue and total burnout (BIG TIME)
Moral of faculty/staff
I hit my FIRE #
The fact that I could not set classroom management plans to dictate student phone use
Social promotion.  One story:

I taught an AP (college) course with students that were not qualified to be there.  The limitations were not in programming, that was why I was there.  They ALL had programming limitations. Many had deficiencies I was untrained to address. In April, I taped 10, three digit numbers to my wall, in random order. One month before the college exam  I told the 22 students to place the 10 numbers in order from least to greatest on a sheet of paper to collect.  I then asked them to raise their hand if they thought everyone in class turned in a correct sheet.  No hands went up.  First thing they got right all year :)  I was unable to teach college concepts to students that were not ready for 5th grade, yet there they were.


I do not mean to sound bitter.  It was a great career for quite a while, but I would not recommend starting now. I still talk with existing staff. I do not see policies that are making things better, just different. I left when I should have, and I was very grateful and lucky to have that experience.





My path was 5 years under a Master of Arts in Teaching(MAT).  I became certified after 3 years, and was then 8 credits away from a masters.  I went from a BS with no teacher certification to a Certified 6-12 grade teacher with a masters.

If you really want to do this, I recommend you just start teaching.  You will have a path to certification and can begin to do it immediately. We have a tremendous teacher shortage in the sciences in Wisconsin. It was proposed that core teachers would no longer need teaching licenses.  It did not pass last year. It was also proposed that non-core subjects could be taught by people without a HIGH-SCHOOL degree.  That meant a freshman could take a course and then teach it as a sophomore. That proposal also did not pass.
http://archive.jsonline.com/news/education/late-night-budget-action-dillutes-teacher-license-rules-b99508103z1-305176951.html

If you looked, I bet there is a position you could take TOMORROW in Wisconsin, though I would not recommend starting in week 3.  Begin looking next spring.  Schools might hold off on hiring non-certified staff until mid-summer, but you never know.    If it is not for you, you can go back to engineering without spending the money for the degree.  Of course, you could also go the private school route.  They are not required to be certified, though most are. I know of people that transitioned from public teaching.  They enjoy it more and are paid about half of what they were paid in public school.

Keep us posted.

notactiveanymore

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 212
Re: Easiest way to become a high school teacher?
« Reply #15 on: September 11, 2016, 04:24:09 PM »
As previous posters have suggested, search for alternative licensure or alternative certification programs with your state DOE.

ABCTE is one that many states recognize and is fairly cheap. Another easy master's option if your state participates is the Western Governor's University.

Something you might want to look into as you're exploring options is volunteering with a FIRST robotics team. Engineers who want to work with teens and share their expertise are great mentors with FIRST: http://www.firstinspires.org/ways-to-help/volunteer

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 27552
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Traveling the World
Re: Easiest way to become a high school teacher?
« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2016, 09:41:27 AM »
Are you willing to change locations, or only stay in your area?

Answering that first makes the question much easier.  :)
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.