Author Topic: Has anyone transitioned to teaching from another field?  (Read 458 times)

Stachetastic

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Has anyone transitioned to teaching from another field?
« on: July 12, 2019, 11:59:15 AM »
I have worked in the social work realm for 17 years, the last 4 in a school setting. I would like to expand my options within education, so I have decided to pursue my teaching license. I've got a few options that would take me there. The state offers an alternative pathway to licensure, which involves passing the state exams prior to being able to enroll in the "crash course on teaching," Which seems a little backwards to me. Has anyone taken such a pathway? Perhaps a different one? I'd love some insight.

CatamaranSailor

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Re: Has anyone transitioned to teaching from another field?
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2019, 02:15:20 PM »
I did the opposite..transition from teaching to tech. Still, I'd be happy to answer any questions. Sent you a PM.

Neustache

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Re: Has anyone transitioned to teaching from another field?
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2019, 02:45:32 PM »
I did the ABCTE program.  Not sure if that's the one you are looking at or not, but it's an alternative path in my state.  I had a bachelor's degree in psychology.  I paid for a study guide and materials and then gook the test to get certified to teach grades 1-6 regular education.  Then, using that certification, I added SpEd K-12 through testing in my state.  I'm not pursuing a proper master's in teaching (earth science) so I will move up my district's pay chart and to have a degree in teaching.  I think I would have had a hard time getting a job in reg ed with my route, but they always need SpEd teachers and I've gotten two SpEd jobs since getting certified.  Are there any specific questions you have?

AMandM

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Re: Has anyone transitioned to teaching from another field?
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2019, 04:59:22 PM »
My daughter is currently taking subject-specific certification tests ("Praxis") even though she doesn't have a teaching degree. It doesn't seem backward to me to test whether you know the material first--I mean, if you don't know it to begin with, please don't try to teach it to kids!

Stachetastic

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Re: Has anyone transitioned to teaching from another field?
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2019, 09:16:24 AM »
Thanks for responding! @Neustache Psych majors unite! That sounds a lot like the program I'm looking into. I am specifically looking at special ed, which I've been told will allow for a lot of opportunities. Once I have the alternative license and teach for 4 years, I can apply for the standard licensure. Did you have difficulty passing the exams without much exposure to teaching? Did the study guide provide you with enough material on the basics of teaching? I found some really good material on study dot com I think I'll try.

@AMandM In my state, we have State Exams for Educators, which I believe is comparable to the Praxis. I'm all on board for testing in the content areas, but 50% of the primary test is focused specifically on teaching: assessment, instruction, and learning environment. Things I have had very limited exposure to, and I cannot enroll in the "crash course" on teaching until I've passed the exams. I was curious how people gain the knowledge needed to do well in the exams. I will also need to pass a secondary exam specific to the fundamentals of reading.

Neustache

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Re: Has anyone transitioned to teaching from another field?
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2019, 06:07:26 AM »
Yes, you will get hired in Special Ed somewhere.  Maybe not the best districts, but not the worst, either. 

So...I went ahead and bought a bunch of used textbooks and read them.   Did your program include a reading list at all?  If so, you might want to just buy the texts or see if you can get them from the library. 

Education has also been a hobby of mine, so I've read lots of articles over the years.  I might not be a great example of really switching careers. I'm also a really good test taker, so I have passed everything the first time (and I am certified in three areas).  Also, as part of my program, I needed sub hours or para (IA) hours.  I went the IA route and was in a school for a year while I took my tests.  This was the best thing I did.  Will you have student teaching or some sort of school hours as part of your requirement?  My school was amazing and let me teach classes, sub when needed, and observe master teachers during my time there. 

If you have multi-subject to study for you can use Khan Academy for math and/or science and Crash Course for history and/or science.   

I will say your psychology background will probably help you.  In reg ed, but especially special ed., behaviors can be what keep kiddos from learning.  If you can help them with behaviors, you can usually get them to learn.  I was in functional skills last year (moderate to severe learning disabilities) and having a background in psychology was extremely helpful.  Are we inadvertently reinforcing a behavior?  How can we replace the behavior with a preferred one?  It's really quite fun especially when you get to see results.


Let me know if you have any more questions!




Psychstache

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Re: Has anyone transitioned to teaching from another field?
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2019, 09:04:40 AM »
I'm a school psych that has been working in education and sped my adult life.

Yes, with an alt cert you should have no problem finding a job in special education, but AC teachers have the highest variance in my opinion. Some of them are absolutely amazing and some have been horrifically bad. My observation is that alt cert teacher programs prepare to be a sped teacher about as well as a driving class taught by a comedian prepares you to be a better driver. The programs are more like a checkbox, so the skill of the teacher is more about who they already are and what skills they have developed in their life already.

With your experience in social work and working in schools you should be better off than most.

The two things I find that throw off new sped teachers the most are classroom management and the law. CM is poorly covered in most teaching programs. In my (limited) data collection about 50% of teaching programs spend 1 lecture or less covering classroom management, which is insane given how critical it is for all teachers and how much work it entails. It is the number 1 thing I get called about to provide training and support on. Everyone struggles with it, but poor classroom management skills in early years is an immediate red flag and the best predictor of whether or not someone will continue in their teaching career. If that person doesn't get some support or start figuring things out on their own, they should start dusting off their resume.

Special education law is the other big surprise. It is vast, it is complex, and it is a big deal. There is a whole host of federal and state law that needs to be understood to appropriately navigate sped. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the big pieces (Federal - the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA and your states education code on interpretation and implementation of IDEA).

Good luck and I hope it works out. We need more teachers who have a social/emotional mental health background, so I hope you are able to find your path. PM me if you need anything else. :)

Stachetastic

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Re: Has anyone transitioned to teaching from another field?
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2019, 09:25:08 AM »
@Neustache I am also a really good test taker, so I've got that going for me. I just need more exposure to the testing material before I can expect to answer any questions about it. Great job passing them all on the first try! I think I'm going to try the lessons on Study dot com, which outline everything found on each of the exams I will need to take. There will be some field hours required for the alternative licensure, which I'm hoping to be able to complete at my current school. Once I pass my first two exams, I will be able to enroll in the 4 month curriculum for educators online. Once I've completed that, I can obtain my alternative license and teach with that for 4 years. During that four years, I will take more exams and a one year online program. Once all of that is complete, and I've taught for 4 years, I can apply for a standard teaching license.

@Psychstache I have a Master's Degree in Education in Counseling, so I've got lots of exposure to behavior management, child development, mental health diagnoses, etc. I also previously worked in the DD realm, so I've got a working knowledge of IDEA. In addition, my son is autistic, so I've had a lot of exposure to IEPs, state mandates, etc. from the parent perspective (which I realize is a totally different animal from the school's perspective!) I've worked in my current school for 4 years, so I have a lot of support already built in.

I know there is so much I don't know, but I'm ready to dig in and see how it goes. Another path I am considering is a college program that is for transitioning to teaching with a bachelor's in something non-education related. However, it is based in another state, and my state's dept of education is not clear on whether they'd accept the program for licensure (I've spoken with two licensing specialists), so that's a big risk to take.