What career path when you've failed alternative teaching certification?
August 7, 2016 4:16 AM   Subscribe

In a previous question, I mentioned an opportunity that would help me change my life and give me the security to make a decision on the abusive relationship I've been in. That was alternative teacher certification, but I am pretty sure I just failed training and won't be allowed to get a license. What types of jobs or solutions might there be for me now?

I made a decision that I thought would change my life, allow me to have a real career that would let me have an impact on people (like my teachers impacted me) but one that also came with a union, health insurance (which I have been without for about 2/3 of my life), time off, security, an eventual pension, and not to mention more money than I have ever made in my years as a freelancer. I could start this new life and not have to depend upon this person here. Long story short, he has been going to therapy and 'trying' to change but I've been cautious and it has been draining, but since I quit my job and was going into something new, he tried to support me in ways during my training and I agreed to see what happened. But now, if I can't go be a teacher, now that I've ended training, I have no job, barely enough for next month's rent if I don't buy groceries, and no prospects. I've been mourning, but I have to get started.

I'm back to being dependent for the moment just when I thought I would be getting to stand on my own. This career was supposed to get ME out of poverty for the first time too, and with all of those other things.

And I have no idea what other career would give me all of those things. That's why I am here, looking for suggestions on what work I should try to get. I think if you go through one alt cert program they won't let you apply to any others.

I chose alternative certification because my credit is shit, I have student loans in default on top of a relative charging up money in my name (including parts of her wedding) and refusing to pay, leading to me suing and winning but being unable to collect so far). So I would love to teach (even with the lesson planning, the extra work, all of that) and man, I love teenagers, they were a pleasure to work with this summer. I put in so much work but it felt like the goalposts were always moving. I am a rather mild, animated, warm sort of person and apparently I didn't have enough authoritative presence (for the military style program - it does not mean I was a bad teacher. I know I wasn't).

So I turn to you all for suggestions on career paths that are possible with my limited resources and wishlist in case this definitively does not work out.
posted by Fire to Work & Money (20 answers total)
 
Oh and I need to stay put in my location (NYC). I need to be close to a disabled parent.

I've been freelance/contract for so long I just want a steady position. Figure out my life/relationship situation. Have a baby. I am in my mid-30s.
posted by Fire at 4:54 AM on August 7, 2016


Can you be describe more fully the alternative teaching certification program? How are you sure you failed?
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 6:01 AM on August 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yeah, you haven't given us much to work with. It sounds like you're in a tough, scary spot in life, but you've said almost nothing about your work-related background.
posted by jon1270 at 6:27 AM on August 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


It was a teaching fellows program. Based on the ratings they were giving us from week to week and their complicated formula that tells you whether or not you can continue, I am almost completely certain my ratings fall under their 'pass' mark to continue on and be recommended for certification.

I am just pretty scared, given everything I thought I would be doing and the possibility it won't be happening now. After training and student teaching, I know that I would love to teach.

As far as my work experience and history, I've covered a lot of that in previous questions and didn't want to just repeat.

But here, here, and here.

(Statements there that need some updates, clarification: As far as 'networking', I think I lean toward organic relationships so it's harder to keep up just colleague relations since I put a lot of energy into the relationships I really care about. And I am totally not unable to do marketing, in fact I had a temp position as a marketing consultant in the spring. I can promote. I have skills. I am more or less a bridge between people, a connector, someone who cares, the 'mom friend', etc. I also managed to be okay in open plan for a while. I am adaptable).
posted by Fire at 6:57 AM on August 7, 2016


It was a teaching fellows program. Based on the ratings they were giving us from week to week and their complicated formula that tells you whether or not you can continue, I am almost completely certain my ratings fall under their 'pass' mark to continue on and be recommended for certification.

You need to find out for sure. It's in their interests to continue training you and help you become a teacher. Work with your point person and find out what you can do to ensure you can continue with the program.

Worst case scenario, there are other alternative certification methods and in the meanwhile you can work as a teaching assistant at a school which gets your foot into the door with reasonable pay and benefits. This is NYC, yes?
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 7:17 AM on August 7, 2016 [11 favorites]


Yeah, they probably aren't going to say "welp, sorry, you can never be a teacher now" if it turns out you're failing and you ask them what you can do. There are almost always options and alternatives. Talk to your instructors, find out for sure if you're really failing, and if you are tell them that you really want to be a teacher and ask them what your best option is from here to continue toward eventually getting your certificate. There may be things you can re-do, extra work you can take on, other programs you could enroll in, or just generally ways to route around the problem and get you to your goal.

Hang in there. Don't lose hope. Do the work of advocating for yourself and don't give up before you have to. It's not time to give up.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 7:43 AM on August 7, 2016 [6 favorites]


It's rare that one block falls and the path is closed forever. Don't give up. Go talk to your instructors. Don't lay this whole story on them, focus on your enjoyment of working with teens. Listen closely when you receive critique and take time to process it. Keep moving forward. A career that offers all those things is competitive. Keep competing but keep your eyes open to any and all paths to independence.
posted by amanda at 8:26 AM on August 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


All you can really do is find out that you need to do to correct the failure and move forward inside the program. There are ways you could still lesson plans, work in a private school, look for opportunities just outside of New York offering housing like a boarding school or doing residence life at a university and getting into educational administration as an alternative to teaching, being impactful from that perspective.
You can probably find a lawyer or factoring company who will buy your debt from you for a fraction of the value so that you don't have to think about it. Some places offer 70%. It's a difficult decision to play, but suggesting that you are going to send debt collectors to a relative might be enough to get you the cash you need.
posted by parmanparman at 9:05 AM on August 7, 2016


I agree with everyone else that you may be giving up too soon on the program/teaching. Even if you don't pass, you should specifically ask them what the best options are for someone who wants to continue in the profession. There are multiple alternative-certification programs in NYC if they won't let you retry/continue.

Given your requirements, it sounds like a job in city or state government would be best for you. I would suggest you start looking here for exam-based civil service jobs. Those entry-level office jobs listed now pay just a hair under your requirements, but at this point it seems that if you can't continue in teaching training, any stable pink-collar formal employment might be a good idea.
posted by praemunire at 9:15 AM on August 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


Did you get a Transitional B credential through your fellows program? According to what I found online, you should have three years on that credential while you work on finishing a program.

The comments on this page confirm that you have a few years, and has some additional information for what happens if you fail.

That's the technical stuff.

I think if you want to be a teacher so much, and it sounds like you do, you need to push through this and find a way to continue. Talk to the people in your program and ask them what your options are. Look into teaching at a private school, where credentials are not required. Find districts that aren't able to fill their teaching positions RIGHT NOW and get your resume in.

I started teaching without a credential. I got the job the weekend before school started.

You can do this. Focus on what you CAN do going forward. I'm really impressed you are where you are, considering what you've written in past questions. You really CAN do this.

Memail me if you want. I have LOTS of friends who teach in NY/NJ I can put you in touch with if you need a local experienced perspective.
posted by guster4lovers at 12:47 PM on August 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Charter schools.

I'm so sorry NYCTF doesn't seem to be working out for you. I hope you can still figure something out with that, but based on what I saw from my cohort last year, there were people who were not allowed to continue after preservice training (despite the investment, need, etc), and did not find the TF staff very responsive or helpful. Some people from my cohort in your situation who really wanted to teach found jobs at charter schools, with the plan of funding their own ed. degree within the 5 year window.

(Applying for city jobs also seems like a good move but my impression is that tends to be a long process).
posted by Salamandrous at 6:16 PM on August 7, 2016


I have heard that DOE schools love to pass on applicants who have ever spent time in a charter. As I want to be in a DOE school with the union, pension, benefits, etc (and indeed, I am a strong union supporter), I am not sure if charter schools would bite me in the ass or not. Plus, I heard they pay terribly but I would have to look into that. But I am not certified at all yet. I have every exam, every required state workshop.

I have not yet been put forth for a transitional B cert because of special circumstances due to my subject, Spanish, for which the required CST was not offered for 90 days due to being revamped, and thus if I was to be hired, it would've been as long-term sub and then the transitional B would've been retroactively issued in early September once the scores arrived, so it's very, very easy to just dump me and cut ties.

When my score report comes it will reopen this wound so hard.

I haven't found the NYCTF staff very responsive or helpful in anything else I have gone to them with so I doubt they will care about my situation. Which is why I'm trying to prepare alternative ideas because of all this likely (and shockingly) crashing down around me.
posted by Fire at 7:19 PM on August 7, 2016


Ok, not directly related to the question, but since you have asked this question in several ways at different times to the Green (who have suggested several options for you), I'm just going to say that you appear to be planning for a future based on a present reality that is well within your control.

In one question, you still had your job. But you were looking for temp jobs because you felt there was no future and you had an abusive partner who was your supervisor. Fine. But you could have left your abusive partner.

In the second question, you were broke, homeless, looking for a job, but couldn't leave your abusive partner even though you don't live together. You appear to have over-dramatized your reason for not leaving him -- giving you a bad reference is not an issue; you can just ask your other supervisors or ask someone from a previous job.

In this third question, you still have not left your partner, and appear to have done a poor job at a really good opportunity for you. Even though you have not completed your certification yet, you predict that you will fail this certification.

I don't know whether anyone can offer you advice to help you any further. It appears you need talk therapy, not solutions. Solutions are apparent: leave your partner. Don't fail your course. Be a better worker. Do what you are paid for, well. Stop looking for the magic pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Your current reality is what you have and what you deserve, and YOU need to make it better. Who failed this course? You. Who let your relative pile bad loans on you? You. Who stays with their abusive partner? You. Until you realize this, nothing is going to change. Great news is, once you realize that you are the active player and root of your problems, you can take steps to make things better. You can be the change, not some magical new career.
posted by moiraine at 5:57 AM on August 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Wow. I need a job and material security from which agency and options become more possible, not judgment and presumptions. I have always done my work well, but if you think the work world operates as a pure meritocracy, maybe reconsider that thought. One company I did great work for, got thrown under the bus after being told I was being groomed for a huge promotion, and then also excluded from assignments for being a woman and then sent to others because I was a woman. All the men were buddy buddy but refused to act similar to us two female staff members because they had wives and instead kind of tried to get us to spend time with the wives and kids. I love kids, but that is beyond the point.

But, moving on, thank you for those who have made suggestions. I am filing applications today for some of the city jobs people recommended here. The salary isn't great, but I can pair an office assistant type job with some side freelancing for start. Honestly, that previously stated salary requirement was for just me alone, but what I am really looking for is 50k+ because I am mid-30s and want kids. Still, it would be a start, woudl cover current bills, and there are benefits. It does seem to be a longer process, but I figure, why not try?

I am also looking at other options that could put my skills to use. Maybe there are some private employers that need someone who can teach or do communications in Spanish. I am still awaiting the final decision, but I am taking the suggestions here one at a time. Exploring the idea of charters in case, though I don't want to get blacklisted from DOE jobs.

I would like to continue my education MS if I can find some way to do that. Since I'm already mid-30s I hoped this would happen this year because I do want children, regardless of relationship situation, and crave security. I have been in poverty for pretty much my whole life and the starting teacher salary of $51k would be almost twice the money I've ever made in a year.
posted by Fire at 7:08 AM on August 8, 2016


This question is exactly the same as all your previous questions: this, this and this . You are in a terrible place (of your own doing) and there has been no change in your circumstances (broke, unemployed or soon to be, with abusive partner). Please read your previous questions before you ask a new question on Ask Mefi. People have given you very good suggestions in the past.
posted by moiraine at 8:13 AM on August 8, 2016


I recognize this is very hard to read, but I want to kindly and gently point out that you're filled with negative projections more than actual facts.

I have not yet been put forth for a transitional B cert because of special circumstances due to my subject, Spanish, for which the required CST was not offered for 90 days due to being revamped, and thus if I was to be hired, it would've been as long-term sub and then the transitional B would've been retroactively issued in early September once the scores arrived, so it's very, very easy to just dump me and cut ties.

I honestly don't see the problem here. Get hired as a long term sub, then. And it's NOT easy for the fellowship program to dump their fellows; they want you to teach and succeed.

When my score report comes it will reopen this wound so hard.

Again, you're convinced that things that have not yet happened will be terrible and you're projecting how bad this will be for you.

I haven't found the NYCTF staff very responsive or helpful in anything else I have gone to them with so I doubt they will care about my situation. Which is why I'm trying to prepare alternative ideas because of all this likely (and shockingly) crashing down around me.

Shift your perspective from "they don't care" to "I have to be persistent in getting myself heard," and you may have more positive results.

And this is just complete negative conjecture: I have heard that DOE schools love to pass on applicants who have ever spent time in a charter.

I have many friends who teach in NY and NYC and none of them have ever heard this.

I suggest instead of trying to put out one small fire at a time, take a BIG step back and work on all your negative projecting. It's not easy but I can hope you'll learn to recognize negative thought patterns and move forward.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 10:04 AM on August 8, 2016


I am stating the potential issues as potential issues and the actual issues as actual issues, not negatively projecting anything.

You misunderstand. I can't get hired as a long-term sub if my program scores do not meet their standards and they drop me. Anything below a 1.9 and the manual clearly states you will be dropped from the program. If I am dropped, they won't recommend me for certification. End. Most of my colleagues have already been recommended for their transitional certificates but they have not for those of us in my subject due to the above scenario. So because they would have had to put ours through in September, and if I am dropped, I have no recommender for certification, I won't be able to get hired. Substitutes must be recommended by a principal and the nomination period is closed (I checked). I am not certain if this is the case for long-term subs as well, since they might be done as hires, but I dont see how I get hired without even the potential for certification. If I am dropped, no program, no university, no sponsorship for certificate.

I obviously do not have my final score, but I have all of my ongoing observation ratings in mind. I can do basic math. That, taken with the negative statements made by my coach, lead me to try got prepare for the future in case what I think is likely comes to pass. But I never stated it as certain.

The conjecture is conjecture, and I repeated it as such ("I've heard" is not a statement of fact). It is not a given, it is something I am wary of but not end-all. I am a strong union supporter and working in a charter school would come into conflict with my own beliefs, so if on top of that, it hurts my reputation (and this was from someone who heard it from those hiring at school).

I have contacted them many times, advocating for myself, calling, writing, and yes, been very persistent in getting myself heard, mostly to insufficient and canned, often very lacking response. Which I would often follow right up on. I don't know why you would presume otherwise. This was a direct response to the other NYCTF participant's statement.

Maybe the negative thinking isn't mine? I mean, such assumptions don't help. I am looking for potential ways to move forward from this careerwise should it not work out. I am in a state of shock that the new life I was expecting for myself may not come to pass and looking how to pick up the pieces and use this to my advantage. And it feels like people are pouncing on me and victim blaming now.

I have been wondering if things like using my proficiency test results on my LinkedIn profile would be advantageous. I am looking for career and job advice right now with this program experience in mind, that's all.
posted by Fire at 11:39 AM on August 8, 2016


And it feels like people are pouncing on me and victim blaming now.

Even your vocabulary is indicative of your thoughts. You are not a victim of anything. You are an active participant in your life. People are giving you advice because they assume you're an active participant in your life, not some helpless person who fails at a good opportunity, who can't escape dead-end jobs, who allows relatives to take out debts in their name, who can't escape an abusive relationship because their partner won't give them a good reference. You can change these things.

Ask Mefi gives you advice, and all you have done is give a litany of excuses on why our suggestions are not possible. If you think the advice is "victim blaming", then you need to take a step back and evaluate how you are reacting to the world, and how this post (and your previous posts) comes across.
posted by moiraine at 12:46 PM on August 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Here is a potential charter school opportunity that includes a pathway to certification:
http://www.kippnyc.org/careers/empire-teaching-fellowships/

Many NYC charters pay competitively to the public schools. That is not to say that the overall experience is comparable, I think that depends a lot from one school/network to another. But that it is worth not writing off if teaching is something you're really interested in. There are a ton of different schools and networks and even if it doesn't turn out to be a long term solution, it could be a short term solution. (Here is one school that pays from 50k for newish kindergarten teachers to $125k for lower and middle grade teachers with experience.

Even if you are bound to NYC for now, parents don't live forever and a few years of experience in an NYC charter could be plenty to get you into public school teaching outside of NYC.

I have not heard about the blacklisting of former charter school teachers and I have a hard time believing it for in-demand subfields at high needs schools (and each principal is responsible for their own hiring decisions).

(Here is another cool opportunity in case you might be interested in coding. It sounds very competitive but again, worth a shot: Flatiron School Mobile Dev Corps (free training for NYCers earning less than 50k per year)).

Also I totally totally hear you about your age and wanting stability and a future. Sometimes though first steps need to be small. And it really sounds like getting out of this toxic relationship is a first step, even if it means sharing a room (yes, a room) in a less expensive part of the city and working at an hourly job that you know you will move out of as soon as you find the next better thing. I think just taking some definitive action could lead to positive consequences you can't even picture now.
posted by Salamandrous at 7:07 PM on August 9, 2016


Working at a charter school will not exclude you from DOE jobs. Many people successfully make the transition (myself included). That said, I think you're smart to search extensively for DOE jobs first (maybe teaching/instructional assistant would fit the bill), because being in a non-unionized charter can be hellish, especially for new teachers.

If I were you, I would search for instructional assistant jobs, which would get you in the classroom (albeit with less responsibility than a teacher would have) and help you build connections.

Also, long-term subbing is not a bad choice; many people also transition to teaching full-time from this position.
posted by brynna at 2:59 PM on August 24, 2016


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