Saturday, August 4, 2007

Problem Solved

The very nice and helpful fellow who sent me the forms to complete for my New York State teaching certificate I think sent me the wrong forms, which I received yesterday. It's only a hunch, but I deduced this while I was filling out the form, got to a box that strategically asked a few questions to which my replies were incorrect; the form's instructions gave the impression that if I answered the posed questions in a specific way I had the wrong form. I did not care to fill out the rest of the form, send the state the $50 fee, and then sit around indefinitely while no one contacted me (and while I lost $50), so I went out on a limb and contacted the Fingerprinting Office. By the time they were done with me, I'll bet they were not so glad they had e-mailed me their phone number a couple of weeks back.

I explained my situation to the woman who had answered the phone, but after poking around in my account for a few minutes and asking a colleague for help, she wasn't able to offer any tenable advice other than to suggest I call back the Teacher Certification Line. After explaining (again) why that might not be a good option, I was passed on to the office manager, who turned out to really be an extremely helpful guy. We troubleshot several possible problems - mostly items I could have entered incorrectly, which was fine, as far as I was concerned, because it's an irritating system; he called his tech people, who suggested a few other things that turned out to not be the issue.

Finally, after a two more phone calls between the office manager and his tech people, we found the problem, insofar as it was an option I had incorrectly chosen. It wasn't a clear choice, though; between choosing either "Adolescent Education: English" or "English 7-12" (both of which had a different code) in one particular screen that I had gone through months ago, I had chosen the latter, which made all the difference. I suppose it should have been clearer; the institutional recommendation had been for Adolescent Education, but even the office manager said that there shouldn't be two options available. The tip-off, as I was told in the beginning, was that on one screen I could see that I had the institutional recommendation, but a few screens later I was told that I didn't have it - another problem that I was told they would have to fix up. Those problems, as well as that stupid green check mark showing up when the fingerprint clearance had been received are things that should be solved. This is still a new system, though, I suppose, and the state is still working out a lot of the kinks.

And after all, I said to the office manager that I refused to believe that I'm the only person in the entire state who would have encountered such a problem.

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