Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Them Is Fightin' Words!

My dad is not this dude. 
 So, remember about five minutes ago yesterday I was deliberating on whether I should take the Early Childhood Education credits I've gotten from my recent online classes, and try to get a job as a day care teacher? It turns out that may not be possible. The school I am now taking classes through uses quarters, not semesters. Therefore, my credit hours are only worth half of what I thought they were worth. 

i know this part is very confusing to everyone on earth, including me, so I am going to make an attempt to explain something here that I think is pretty stupid. 

My teaching certificate is a LBS1, which means I am licensed to teach children in special education who are ages 3 to 21. But in reality, it only allows me to teach K through 5. You need extra letters of approval (read: More college credits and tests) to teach pre-school, middle school, or high school. Somehow I never knew this until after I completed half of my student teaching in an early childhood classroom, My professor told me, "You're really good with this age group and this may be something you want to pursue. But you can't do it... your 3 to 21 license is only good for K-5." Huh? 

To teach preschool in a public school, I need 4 specific extra classes that are Early Childhood Education classes. 

To be a teacher in a day care center, my teacher's certificate means diddly-squat, but you can be a lead teacher if you have at least 60 college credit hours including 6 Early Childhood Education credits. So a person with a Bachelors or even a Masters in education would not be as qualified as a person in their second year of Early Childhood Ed classes at the community college.

So anyways, last night I was trying to explain to my dad that I probably cannot get another job after all, because of my weird credit hours. He didn't understand it and kept questioning why, if I had gone to school for four years, I could not get a teaching job of any sort, and why, after having that four years of schooling, I could specifically not qualify for a job in a preschool program or even a day care center. I kept trying to explain the concept to him. 

Finally, he said, "You may need to find another line of work."

"What other line of work?" I demanded. "There is no other line of work for a teaching degree!"

My dad said, "I'm talking about Target or something."

I replied, "I don't want to work at Target! I want to be a teacher!"

My dad: "Well, I wanted to be a shortstop for the White Sox, but that doesn't mean it was something I'd ever be able to do."

Me: (Getting dangerously close to a meltdown): "That's not even close to the same thing. You didn't go to school to be a baseball player. You didn't do anything to work towards being a baseball player. I went through school to be a teacher." 

Dad: "But obviously you're still not qualified to be one, so..."

Me: "You're mean! Even Mom wouldn't say that!" 

Dad: "But she would think it." 

At that point I took my Small Dog and stormed out of the house. But then I stormed back in five minutes later. It is difficult to storm out when you live in the same house as someone and it is ten degrees outside and you don't want your Small Dog to freeze. So I just took my Small Dog and went to bed, fuming mad and furious and upset and very sad. 

To his credit (or discredit) he may have been drunk at the time... he had just come home from the friendly neighborhood bar where everybody knows his name and they're always glad he came. But, still. To compare my wanting to be a teacher, with his wanting to be a White Sox player? WTF?

(And then there's that tiny voice in my brain saying of course he's probably right. Many of the people I was in classes with in college had no trouble finding college jobs. They had confidence. They had poise. They were neat and organized and mature. They weren't a walking, talking tornado, which is what I am. But I digress...)


  1. That's really hard! I have an elementary ed degree, so I'm licensed for K-6. I'm currently working on getting my license transferred between states, and it's a pain in the butt. I joke that I'm a teacher without a class. I sub at only one school right now, so it's really nice; I feel right at home, knowing all the kids and the staff. Although my degree isn't in special ed, I think if I get my masters sometime, it might have something to do with that area. I've worked as a para for a child with special needs, and I LOVED IT. I'm hoping to do so again in the future. Keep your chin up, girl! I believe God puts us right where we need to be, even if we can't see it.

  2. Hi Angel,
    This credit situation really, really bites! I'm so sorry you're having to deal with it.The red tape, rules and requirements to teach in a preschool are crazy! I think you certainly deserve a job and have obviously worked hard to earn the job you want. However, it soumds like you may have to take several more classes. Do it! Don't give up:) You'll be glad you have the job you want if you can put up with a bit more hassle to get there. Just say NO WAY to Target.:):)

  3. This whole thing sounds completely ridiculous and extremely stressful! Obviously you're committed to teaching and are probably quite good at it, but the damn paperwork will get you every time!

    I have a couple of suggestions, which you can obviously completely ignore if you want:

    Have you considered nannying or working at a small, specialized type school? For nannying, 99% of the time, you don't need any certificates, degrees, etc, and parents are ALWAYS looking for extra help. If you're looking to work with kids with special needs as a long term career, it would probably be even easier to find something, since you have experience in an actual classroom. Also, I know that small, private schools often don't have the same requirements as larger schools. I know several people who don't have a teaching background/degree who have gotten great jobs at places like Montessori pre-schools or special programs for kids with challenges.

    No matter what, stay strong and keep plugging away at it, you'll get there eventually and make a wonderful teacher!


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