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Getting Licensed
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jpvanderwerf2001



Joined: 02 Oct 2003
Posts: 1076
Location: New York

PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 10:31 pm    Post subject: Getting Licensed Reply with quote

Hi, all!

I have a BA in English and will complete an M.Ed in August. I have been teaching (abroad) for more than ten years, and I'm a US citizen.

I would really like to get into the International School scene, but for the better gigs one needs to be licensed. I'm sort of at a crossroads in my career (yes, this is a career for me Laughing ), so I am thinking about whether to continue in school management or to get certified and go for an international school. I'm interested in international schools not only because of the money, but also because I'd like my children to attend them as well.

If I did choose to get certified, I understand this would take time and money. I do have a family, but we could make it work. However, I'd obviously like to spend as little time and money as possible to do so.

Now my questions:
1. Does anyone know if there are US states which are easier/faster than others to attain certification in? (I know a bit about the "fellows" and "alternative" licensing, but from what I've gathered these require a two-year commitment to get your 'full' license. Please inform me if I'm mistaken.)
2. Will an M.Ed help expedite the process of getting certified (FYI, I didn't start the program with certification in mind)?
3. Is it possible for an American with my background to get certified in another English-speaking country, such as Australia, NZ, South Africa, or the UK?

I would appreciate any advice/insight you could offer. Thanks in advance.
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CarolinaTHeels



Joined: 03 May 2011
Posts: 130

PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 2:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Florida has a good alternative online certification program. 9 months. (TeacherReady)

Texas has some good ones also. But it is not online. 1 yr course work then 1 year teaching in Texas. (TexasTeachers)

Program with that is alternative certifications isnt nearly as appealing as people that got licensed through a traditional education degree.

Those are not for a Masters though.
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fladude



Joined: 02 Feb 2009
Posts: 432

PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 2:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Florida has a faster one that that... but you have to be a Florida citizen for at least a year. AFAIK all alternative certs in Florida require you to be a state resident.

That said most of the 2 year ones involve you working at a school and getting paid, so that's not bad. International schools want 2 years of experience in your home country anyway, so............

Its better to just do it and get it over with.
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jpvanderwerf2001



Joined: 02 Oct 2003
Posts: 1076
Location: New York

PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 2:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the insight, you two. The alternative license is a possibility, and two years isn't a prohibitive barrier.

Have any Americans out there had experience with getting licensed in another English-speaking country?
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Matt_22



Joined: 26 Feb 2006
Posts: 193

PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You don't necessarily need two years of experience to get a job in an international school, nor do you need experience working in your home country. Sometimes you don't even need certification. It's definitely possible for experienced teachers with degrees and CELTAs to land jobs at international schools - you just won't have any chance at any of the top-tier schools. If you're almost finished with an M.Ed then you'll have a pretty decent shot in my opinion. If you are also enrolled in a certification program, your chances are even better.

I also think it's misleading to say that most international schools care about work done in your home country. I met with the Vice Principal of a local IBO school here in Indonesia, and he advised me that experience internationally would be looked upon roughly the same as experience in one's home country. The issue for beginning teachers is that they can find schools to work at of professional standard quite easily back in their home countries. Abroad, however, they might have to get their feet wet teaching at a school with a questionable reputation.

Word of warning, however: the transition from ESL teacher to international school teacher is not to be taken lightly. There are a lot of aspects to the international school teaching career that are easily overlooked. At the same time, the rewards can be significant. If you do a certification program while abroad, while still teaching ESL, you'll likely have to do your practicum at a nearby international school. That would give you a great opportunity to see if you feel suited for that career path.
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jpvanderwerf2001



Joined: 02 Oct 2003
Posts: 1076
Location: New York

PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, I do have experience in an IB MYP program (although it was brief). While the classroom atmosphere was quite different--and I did a lot more paperwork--I can't say that the teaching was very different.
Are those international schools who hire teachers without a license much lower-paying?
I'm starting to think about perhaps doing a short stint in South Africa to get a HDE or PGCE and go from there. The cost for tuition at a one-year PGCE program, travel and living expenses in South Africa would be roughly equal to just the tuition at a US program.
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fladude



Joined: 02 Feb 2009
Posts: 432

PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jpvanderwerf2001 wrote:

I'm starting to think about perhaps doing a short stint in South Africa to get a HDE or PGCE and go from there. The cost for tuition at a one-year PGCE program, travel and living expenses in South Africa would be roughly equal to just the tuition at a US program.


That's probably not true for a lot of programs in the USA, especially alternative cert programs. I know of a few alternative cert programs that give you free tuition if you are working at a public school in a district in need of teachers (.ie a bad school that other people don't want to work at). And the alternative certification program I did in Florida cost me about 2k including books and lunch.

As for being certified or having home country experience mattering.... you know everything matters. It may or may not ever cost you a job. But if you want the resume with the broadest appeal to the most people, that's the way to get it. And if you have to work 2 years for alternative certification anyway... then it just makes sense to do it.

Sure there are International Schools that hire teachers without certification. I suspect they generally pay less, and probably pay them less in particular. And yes the work at home for two years is often ignored (in fact a requirement to have any work experience is often ignored). Still though if everything else is equal, being certified and having 2 years experience in your home country is the best way to do it. You will have the broadest appeal to the largest number of employers. And your employer will always know that you have the option of going home and getting a job, if he or she pushes you too far (always nice to have).

People without options are often abused by International Schools. I have seen that myself. I know people who are not certified but have been teaching at certain "I" schools for a decade who still make less than brand new teachers who just showed up with a degree and cert in hand. The schools will often pay you what they can get away with.
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Matt_22



Joined: 26 Feb 2006
Posts: 193

PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with a lot of what fladude is saying. If you start at an international school without a certificate, you likely sneaked in on a local package and you won't have the benefits of flights and accommodation like expat teachers will. That said, I think there are quite a few schools in Asia that could still offer decent savings ($1000+ per month) despite the discrepancy - perhaps enough to offset the cost of a certification program.

However, I still disagree about the "home country experience" factor. I think other factors are far more important - such as spouse (trailing vs teaching), number of children, subject taught, international experience, etc.

For example, let's say you're a hiring manager at Tapei American School, and you are deciding between the following two candidates:

Candidate #1

2 years employed at lower-tier international school (many of which have IB programs)
2 years employed at IBO world school (for example, Tianjin International School)

Candidate #2

4 years employed in the US (for example, Highland Park HS in Dallas, Texas)



All else equal, the hiring manager is going to prefer candidate #1. Not only is there proven teaching experience abroad (in the same region no less), but the candidate has also been teaching IB for four years - versus no exposure for the candidate working in the states.
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EFLeducator



Joined: 16 Dec 2011
Posts: 595
Location: NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS

PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Matt_22 wrote:
Word of warning, however: the transition from ESL teacher to international school teacher is not to be taken lightly.


EXCELLENT POINT!!! The two are TOTALLY different.
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Isla Guapa



Joined: 19 Apr 2010
Posts: 1520
Location: Mexico City o sea La Gran Manzana Mexicana

PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

EFLeducator wrote:
Matt_22 wrote:
Word of warning, however: the transition from ESL teacher to international school teacher is not to be taken lightly.


EXCELLENT POINT!!! The two are TOTALLY different.


I'm not arguing with your comment, EFLeducator, but I'm assuming it is based on personal experience. Perhaps you'd care to share this experience with the Forum.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12304
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Matt_22,

While I haven't taught in an "international school", I wonder if that experience would be much different from teaching 5th and 6th grade in a local parochial school here in Santa Fe or, for that matter, teaching in Head Start. I've done both (I also taught GED in the penitentiary) since I returned from teaching EFL overseas for twenty-two years (all to adults.)

So, I'm not sure if my experience would be relevant - but, on the chance that it is, I certainly didn't find all those jobs to be "totally different." Oh sure, there were SOME differences, but those were superficial ones. The basic teaching skills and abilities required were essentially the same in all of them.

I had no difficulty adjusting to the various circumstances. So I wonder if you could be more specific about this statement:

"There are a lot of aspects to the international school teaching career that are easily overlooked."

What would some of those aspects be?

Thanks,
John
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sohniye



Joined: 15 Mar 2011
Posts: 90

PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jpvanderwerf2001 wrote:
Thanks for the insight, you two. The alternative license is a possibility, and two years isn't a prohibitive barrier.

Have any Americans out there had experience with getting licensed in another English-speaking country?


Yes, I am an American citizen who got my MA in Secondary Special Education in Australia, I am eligible to register as a teacher there...but now I work in Russia Very Happy
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fladude



Joined: 02 Feb 2009
Posts: 432

PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

johnslat wrote:


"There are a lot of aspects to the international school teaching career that are easily overlooked."



I haven't taught ESL yet (but will) but am teaching at an international school, I'm guessing the major difference, at least compared to say teaching at a language institute, is the socializing and ***kissing you have to do at international schools. I know I have "shocked" people several times with behavior that would not raise eyebrows in a corporate setting, but in the school setting is deemed shocking. I knew full well coming into this how I have to behave with students and adhere to that code of conduct well. So no I don't mean anything in class or involving students, I am just talking about reactions to what I had to say at say an office meeting or one of the endless, boring and useless PD meetings that we have, or even after work at the bar. Lets just say that International teachers tend to be sensitive.... and very cliquish.

All of which is why I plan to transition to ESL when this assignment is over........ (but not ESL for kids). To me the whole mundane social aspect of the international "scene" is jut not a lot of fun. Other people couldn't live without it though...... So to each their own. If you love meetings and personal development and being sensitive to your co-workers, its fine.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12304
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear fladude,

Actually, Matt_22 wrote that - I just quoted it. But thanks for your input.

Regards,
John
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Matt_22



Joined: 26 Feb 2006
Posts: 193

PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2012 2:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

johnslat wrote:
Dear Matt_22,

While I haven't taught in an "international school", I wonder if that experience would be much different from teaching 5th and 6th grade in a local parochial school here in Santa Fe or, for that matter, teaching in Head Start. I've done both (I also taught GED in the penitentiary) since I returned from teaching EFL overseas for twenty-two years (all to adults.)

So, I'm not sure if my experience would be relevant - but, on the chance that it is, I certainly didn't find all those jobs to be "totally different." Oh sure, there were SOME differences, but those were superficial ones. The basic teaching skills and abilities required were essentially the same in all of them.

I had no difficulty adjusting to the various circumstances. So I wonder if you could be more specific about this statement:

"There are a lot of aspects to the international school teaching career that are easily overlooked."

What would some of those aspects be?

Thanks,
John




What I was referring to is the rounder skill-set demanded of formal classroom teachers, as well as the increased workload and breadth of responsibility. I think this can be especially overlooked at the primary level, where parent interaction is so important.

Another important aspect is the personal investment involved. As an ESL teacher, I typically worked 6 hours per day total, and perhaps 8 hours on a busy day. Probably 98% of the time I had no need to bring work home with me.

As an international school teacher, I generally spend 9 hours per day at work, and take at least 5 hours of work home with me per week. During busy stretches, this can easily double - and there are occasionally activities (events, student productions, etc.) mandated that require time outside of normal working hours.

Making the transition from a 30 hour work week to a 50+ hour work week - one that includes duties unfamiliar to an ESL teacher - is not something to be taken lightly.
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