Tuesday, July 31, 2007

New York State Teaching Bureaucracy

In the past couple weeks I've been trying to apply for a teaching certificate. Each state is different in its teacher requirements, but if you go through an Approved Teacher Education Program (either as an undergrad - like what I did - or as a grad student), these are the basic requirements, at least in going through Stony Brook University; I have each of these things to my name:
  • Taking extra year of coursework, which includes 5 extra teaching classes; 100 hours of classroom "field experience" / "observation"; and 75 days' student teaching
  • Passing 3 exams: The Liberal Arts & Science Test (LAST); the Assessment of Teaching Skills-Written (ATS-W); and the Content Specialty Test (CST)
  • Sitting through 3 workshops, basically on how to spot child abuse, substance abuse, and violence at home
  • Getting fingerprinted
  • Getting institutional recommendation
When I was student teaching in fall 2006, N.Y.S.E.D. finally announced their online web site: Teacher candidates could update their contact information, see what their progress was, and apply online for a certificate. It was an effort to streamline everything, make things easier, and eliminate paper waste. All good things.

In order to get a copy of one's teaching certificate, one goes through the online application process. The system won't let you apply for a certificate until the state had all application information, which was individually bullet pointed and had a green check mark appear next to it when each piece was individually received. Green check marks appeared next to each item, indicating that all my stuff was received, except for my fingerprints, which was odd, because this was done more than a year ago.

I sent N.Y.S.E.D. an e-mail (I like written records of things) and I was told that the "fingerprint" check mark does not appear until all other items are in the state's hands. At the time of this e-mail, this was fine because I still hadn't taken the last exam. After having taken and passed this test, still no green check mark appeared next to "fingerprinting." More e-mails went back and forth; apparently, this lack of green check mark is a glitch that they're not planning on fixing because various administrators could see that N.Y.S.E.D. has all my stuff and that I have completed all the requirements.

Then how, might you ask, can I apply online for a certificate? I sent them an e-mail this afternoon asking just that, and await their answer.

In the meantime I stood by for half an hour on the phone to talk to a very helpful fellow who said, did you try this; did you try that; and what did they tell you? At which point, finally, he said he was printing out the paper forms and will send those to me. I'm still very interested in how N.Y.S.E.D. would have me apply online for a certificate, though.

No comments:

Post a Comment