I want to to back to school to be a teacher

I already have a degree in journalism with a minor in English. And I’d like to teach English to high school kids. Has anyone done this, and if so, how long did it take? And what kind of requirements do you have to meet?

I’ve been out of college since '98 and my brain has kind of melted, but I think I could be a pretty good teacher if I had the right training.

Any advice?

Go for it! You’ll have to jump through some silly hoops, but it should take you a year to complete your graduate training and student teaching. High school English can be fun, but be aware that there may be a glut of them in your area. If you can get a supplemental certificate in something, that would be helpful. If you are willing to teach Journalism, that will help. There are a number of teachers here on the Dope. Ask specific questions, and we’ll give you more specific answers. In the meantime…a provisional “Welcome to the Brother- and Sister-hood of the Under-appreciated, Under-paid, and Too-often-ignored!” :smiley:

Not a teacher myself but I believe you’ll need at least a B.Ed.

That and nerves of steel. Just remember yourself and your friends when you were highschool students. Would you want to be your own teacher?

Howdy, Indy.

I had the same wish about two years ago, before I thought better of it and went back into the glamorous world of Health Insurance (YMMV).

I’m in Illinois, so some of this may be similar, some not.

I would have had to become certified through an alternate method, which involved some legwork and some good amount of paperwork.

The main problem was that there is a huge surfeit of people who’d like to be English teachers. For some reason, they’re a dime a dozen up around Chicago. If you were willing to get certified in Math or a Science, that would be easier. Also, if you wanted to coach a sport or add to the system in other ways (e.g. teach a writing workshop after school, edit the yearbook, etc.), you could bump up your chances. Do you do something IRL that would translate well into an after-school offering?

I’m also sure there’s an IN teaching website that woudl offer the Alternate pathway for certification…I’d try googling it.


Really? I guess you should start by taking English again!

Shouldn’t it be …

“I want to* go * back to school to be a teacher”
I’m sorry … I just couldn’t resist! I know it was just a typo :slight_smile:

Crap, I had a feeling I’d make a mistake while typing that post. :smiley:

Many states offer an alternate certification for teaching without having a BSE. The one with info on the web I found after a quick Googling was this one from New Jersey.

There are several hoops to jump though, but if it’s cheaper to do it that way to give teaching a try, rather than going back to college to pay for another degree, you might think about that route.

On preview, Cem is correct about the department issue. It’s much easier to get an alt cert to teach a science, math, or business course.

Usually all that is required to teach is a BA or BS, in any field. Then you can take the Praxis to prove competency in your chosen field of teaching.

Dear Ms. Indygrrl,

Your application is rejected.

The Board of Education has deemed you “too hot to teach male teenagers” at this time.

You may reapply in twenty years, or whenever you become decrepit, whichever occurs sooner.

We wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.


Yeah, I agree. We need the students to actually have the ability to listen to the teacher.

I teach High School English. I absolutely fucking love it. However, it isn’t for everyone – it’s an insane amount of work, and you don’t teach, you become a teacher–it takes over your life.

Here in Texas, at least, there are plenty of positions for English teachers provided you are willing to teach in a city. I teach in an “urban” school, and I love it, I’d never go to the suburbs. But lots of poeple are scared of the poor and the brown, so there are a lot of very interesting urban positons avalible and room for serious professional advancement.

That said, this is an updated lsit of pros and cons I orignally posted in this thread–it’s a good thread about teaching that you may want to look at.

I teach AP English in a medium sized school in a large urban district.

I love, love, love my job. I feel lucky every day that a job exisits wherein my personality quirks are actual strengths–being weird and overly-enthusiastic and pedantic are assets.

I love the fact that my job takes every iota of creative problem-solving energy I have. I have to teach certain skills, but I get to come up with how I teach them.

I love my kids as a group-they are funny and self-centered and earnest and moody and amazingly open. I give participation group credit to kids who host or attend after school discussion groups on controversial topics, and I love just sitting back watching people learn to think-they are clumsy and cute with their brand-new adult brains.

I love my kids as individuals–the Afgani refugee who is almost too shy to talk to me, but determined to make it through AP English if it kills her, the kid from Zimbabwee who goes from model geek to thouroughly Americanized hip-hop gangster over the course of two years and still graduates top of his class and dreams of going home when he finishes college to help his first home, the drug addict who is so sharp he cuts himself and can’t decide if he wants to deal drugs or be a missionary, the cheerleading captain who can’t stop giggling at the sight of strapping young males, but also intuits BC calculus–there are days when my heart feels like it’s going to burst from sheer affection.

I love warping young minds.

I love being listened to by my kids. I work with 50 people who really, really give a shit what I think and are amazed at how smart I am, who value a compliment from me, who trust me when I tell them how to be a better writer/thinker. (The other 100 kids are not so impressed/haven’t noticed me, but that’s still 50 that DO listen!)

I love being part of a community. I was not a “joiner” AT ALL in high school, but I totally am as a teacher–games, concerts, plays, publications–all that is fun because I know all the people involved, and had a hand in shaping many of them.

I love starting over every year. New group of kids to laugh at my jokes, new chance to do right all the things I did wrong last year.

I love the fact that I am never, ever, ever bored.

I love the power to make my own decisions-- my room is my world, and I decide how it works.

I love the fact that I get to buy school supplies every year for the rest of my life.

I love that I actually enjoy commencement, because where other people are waiting on one or two names, I get to bite my lip and blink my eyes for a hundred different kids.

I love that I have finally excized all my high-school era ghosts, by firmly putting my adolecence in perspective. Teaching allowed me to finally forgive myself for being young and stupid once.

I love the repsect I get. People say that teaching is not a repected profession, but it really is. People are always interested in what I do, and I can’t tell you how many people–strangers–I have had out right thank me for being a teacher.

I love the vacation time. I work a lot in the summer-no doubt–but it is at a very different pace. I have 14 weeks a year (counting Xmas and Spring Break) to lounge.

I love my fellow teachers–teaching attracts strong personalities, and so confers a certain freedom to be, shall we say, quirky, that you just don’t have in the work-a-day world.

On the other hand:

I hate the administrative b.s.: the faculty meetings, the in-school trainings, the endless, endless paperwork. But what job doesn’t have these sort of things?

I hate the complete lack of breathing space. I teach six classes a day and have 45 minutes to plan and grade. Short of an emergency, I can’t go to the bathroom between 10:15 and 4:00: theoretically, I could go during lunch, but as lunch is only half an hour (a luxury, up from 25 minutes last year) and the bathroom a five minute walk away, I have developed the infamous teacher bladder.

I hate my other co-workers–the bitter, tired, cynical jerks who hate the job, the school , and the kids, and seem to want to drag me down into their misery.

I hate that you can’t go to the doctor or the DMV without organizing a three-ring circus. I hate that I can’t leave a message with a doctor or lawyer or plumber to call me at work.

I hate that it is my job to tell a 17 year old whether or not they really need to go to the bathroom.

I hate that I don’t have any creative energy left for anything else.

I hate that sometimes kids die.

The only other thing I would mention is the workload: it’s not a love or hate issue for me–I like to work, but I also like summer. But anyone going into teaching needs to understand about the workload. It is not a 9-5 job–it’s a job, and a hobby, and a second job. I am at school by 6:30 every day and leave at 5 or 6 every day–I grade 8 or 10 hours a weekend. Drama teachers, coaches, and journalism teachers all work more hours than I do.

If you think that your job should not define you, don’t go into teaching.

I don’t know where you live and what the rules are for the county, state and district, but here in Michigan, once you make tenure at whatever school, it stays in that district. So, if you take the first place you apply and it goes down hill in a handbasket, you could be screwed in 20 years. What if your spouse moves? Blah blah blah.
Ohio, OTOH & AFAIK, allows your tenury (?) to transfer from district to district.

Something to ask the teachers in your area.

Anywhoo, in closing, I would like to say that I wish I had a teacher with a nth of the enthusiam as Manda Jo when I was in school!

You have those too? Isn’t it amazing? You’d swear the three brain cells they appear to have are on life support, then you discover that they are setting the curve in BC. Kids like that are what keeps me coming back year after year. Well, that and teams like last year’s debate squad. I want to flunk every single one of them, just so I’ll have them around for another year. :smiley:

They are hysterical, aren’t they? It really draws attention to how many wonderful brains were being allowed to atrophy when the wide assumption was that girls, and especially pretty, socially adept girls, weren’t really educatable in any signifigant way.

My ditzy emo punk cheerleader called me last weekend to tell me she made a 5 on my (AP Language) exam and a 4 on the American History exam. She was like, totally thrilled.

And I know what you mean about your debate team: My rising Academic Decathlon team will break my heart when they leave. I’m not sure how I can fail them just enough to keep them, but keep them eligible!

If you want to teach the language in Saudi Arabia, drop me a note.