Monday, November 16, 2015

Renewing A Teaching License

I am once again in the process of renewing my Level 1 Professional Educator License, which expires in June 2016. (One needs to teach full-time for three years at the K-12 level in order to upgrade one's license to a level 2. This will be my second time renewing my license. Such is life. I know of at least one other teacher who had to renew his Level 1 License, although I'm not sure how common it is to renew it twice. I prefer not to think about this too much.)

Aside from taking the online ethics test and getting fingerprinted, one needs 100 points in order to renew one's teaching license. I do not think this will be a problem: I'll have a minimum of 2,317 points. (This is not a typo.) The Utah State Office of Education (USOE) seems to sometimes give out points for breathing: I got six points for attending a required six-hour new teacher induction.

I have decided not to count my graduate degree mostly because I don't need the points, but partly because I could foresee the course number designations being a hassle.

Utah higher education course numbers start at 1000. For example, I teach English 1010 (Introduction to Writing) and English 2010 (Intermediate Writing) at Salt Lake Community College. (By the way, teaching these courses already put me above the minimum required number of relicensure points.)They are not graduate-level classes. Yet in every other non-Utah university at which I've taught or otherwise attended, courses start in the 100s for basic, first-year classes. (A remedial class might be 099.) Classes with designations of 500-600-level classes and above are graduate-level classes; generally speaking, 700-level classes and above are doctoral level classes, although there's a bit over overlap, and different universities might categorize their classes slightly differently. Five of the 12 classes I took as a Northern Arizona University grad student were 600-level classes, with 685 being my research class and the highest level class I took.

Clearly I am not teaching classes that are at a higher level than that I took as a grad student.

For a class to count for license renewal, though, the USOE has decided that "[o]nly non-remedial (course number > 1000) coursework at regionally-accredited universities may be counted for renewal points." By this definition, my entire graduate degree was remedial.

This is splitting hairs, of course; I know what the USOE means to imply, and it's often reasonable to assume that most people will attend graduate programs in their own state. However, with the advent and multiplication of online degrees, the course numbers needing to be above a certain number is not necessary; the USOE could omit the > 1000 altogether.

In any event, I suspect I'll have to be satisfied with the 535 or so points I'll wind up submitting.