Author Topic: Becoming a teacher  (Read 1439 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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  • Posts: 19
Becoming a teacher
« on: May 11, 2017, 11:33:15 AM »
Hey friends,

So my job as a carpenter is starting to dead end and I'm looking to jump ship before I'm totally burnt. I've always wanted to be a teacher, but all the information I've found online seems like an ad for one online college or another. Does anyone have the straight juice on this one? What is the process? How is the pay? I know there's supposed to be a ton of time off but how much exactly. Is there any activities outside of the process that you'd recommend to build your teaching skills, like say volunteering.

I live in New York City with my SO,  although whether or not we're here for until we FIRE is up in the air. I know there are both state and national certifications, how do they differ?
 I'm a practicing artist also so I'd want to teach art or shop class although I know those offering are few and far between (shop, that is). I had a 3.49 gpa in college and I hold a BFA.

Thanks so much,

Secretly Saving

  • Bristles
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  • Posts: 418
Re: Becoming a teacher
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2017, 12:04:44 PM »
Every state is different.  You'll want to look at the details for NY state.  The link below explains the pathways to certification for NY.  Click on the appropriate candidate profile that matches you. 

Because you are moving over from a previous career, you will find a different career pathway available than say someone who went to school, got a degree in Education and got their certification while in college.

These are the types of certificates available in NY:   You will most likely want to pursue a "Career and Technical Readiness" degree.

This is the process from start to finish:

Good luck.


  • Bristles
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Re: Becoming a teacher
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2017, 12:41:09 PM »
I think the sources of information mentioned are a great start, but I wouldn't do too much research until you've spent a considerable amount of time in a classroom. Ask someone if you can shadow for a few days. Try to get into 3-4 different schools and check out both art and shop classes.

If you haven't spent a day in a classroom or shop in the last 10 years, then that is definitely where you need to start. I know most of us went to school and spent years of our life there, but when look at the situation from the eyes of a future teacher things often look very different. I'm not trying to talk you out of it, just want you to have realistic expectations.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Becoming a teacher
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2017, 01:05:22 PM »
Can you sub in NY without a certificate? I know that varies by state, and a lot of states will get you an emergency certificate PDQ. That would give you some time in the classroom.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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  • Age: 33
  • Location: Dallas, TX
Re: Becoming a teacher
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2017, 02:05:18 PM »
10 year Teacher.  I started teaching in NYC, and now am teaching in Texas.

There is no such thing as a national certificate to teach.  There is a national certificate but in all honesty it's a waste of money.  If you stay in NY, (at least this was the rule ten years ago), you'll need a Masters.  I'd recommend going ahead and getting your teaching certificate through a masters program than alt cert. as it is higher quality, better respected, and a lot of states you'll need it for tenure.

NY pays teachers well.  Really well.  But in the city, I'll be honest it's hard.  I did not feel that I got backed up by the admins, anywhere.

Elsewhere, the pay is . . . . eh . . . . not the best, but you can augment it.

After ten years and with a masters, I make $55K.  I do consulting work with the College Board in the summer, sub during the summer, Saturday school, and earn a stipened as dept. chair.  All, in all, that brings in an extra $5000 a year.  One secret, I have learned, as someone who has anxiety in new situations, is don't work Summer School, sub during summer school.  In all the districts I've worked in, it is the same rate as the full time teachers, you typically can pick your own hours, and you will always be needed. 

Experience is the best, so do volunteering.  When I came down to Texas, it was 2008 as the financial crisis was hitting and only had one year of professional experience.  However, I also had a year of student teaching and three years of volunteering.  The thing that got me hired or to the final two (and I got a few job offers) was the years of volunteering beforehand.

When I am hiring a teacher here is what I look for:
1.) Are you quick on your feet?  The biggest talent for a teacher is to wing it.  Had an awesome lesson using technology?  Too bad the electricity went out.  Had a great classroom discussion organized around your favorite text, and you even edited it to make it easier?  Turns out, none of the students read it or did it.
2.) Do you see yourself as an educator or as an expert on your subject?  The former last longer.  It's about educating the kids.  The latetr do not.  A teacher who tries to do Mr. Holland's Opus or Dead Poet's Society, typically will get burnt out, find your average teenager enjoys Facebook more than you, and will typically get in trouble with the admin.  A great teacher could make Algebra or Calculus or Anglo-Saxon poetry interesting.
3.) Do you read in your subject?  To contradict what I just said, one still needs to be caught up in the subject.  I always ask applicants what's the last professional and casual book or journal he or she read.  This not only tells me if one stays with the professional subject, but are you going to be interesting as a colleague.