The Quest for a California Teaching Certificate

I am a few steps further down the road toward getting my California teaching certificate than I was a month or so ago. I had my fingerprints run and passed that (whew!), and took all of my official documents downtown to have them looked over and copied and compiled. I was informed that no, it did not count if I had my Official Teacher Service Record showing how long I taught in Texas - they needed a letter on official letterhead validated by the superintendent or one of his close friends, stamped in blood. (I made up the blood part.) Actually, I could have one from Texas or one from West Virginia. I'm going with Texas, because I'm not sure where all of my West Virginia teacher evaluations are, and you have to have two of those from the state whence the letter comes from. (I think that's very bad word usage, but oh, well).

So, I called this nice lady in the School District in Abilene asking for such a letter, and called another lady in Morgantown to do the same, just in case.

When I get this letter sent downtown, they will send all of my papers in to Sacramento to be processed. In the meantime, I got a temporary certificate, known in these parts as "the orange paper". On this it states that if all goes well, I will be receiving a license/credential to teach Multi-Subject Elementary Education here in California. Not Special Ed. or Early Childhood, of course, but at least it's something.

While in the office talking to the credential specialists, I learned that this magic orange paper will be good for five years. By the end of the five years I need to get 150 classroom hours, but Mrs. Credential Specialist informed me that getting that many hours is pretty much impossible until you actually have a job. I also learned that the state of California also will require that I get a CLAD certificate by the end of the 5 years as well. (It has something to do with teaching English Language Learners.) However, she stated somberly, she would have to be honest with me and tell me that no one in California will hire you without this. Therefore, you need it after five years, but you can't get a job without it. Hmmmm.

She told me that this can be done two ways. Either I can take classes for my CLAD certification(which will cost me about $2500), or I can talk the CTEL test (California Test of English Language Learners). She then whipped out the papers for the CTEL test and the study courses set up to prepare you for them. She said that this CTEL testing route will only cost me $1100.

What a bargain.

It seems that the six days of prep classes cost $800, while the test registration is $310. So, considering that I sometimes do okay on standardized tests, I am now considering taking this test after studying on my own. I figure I could save us $800 this way. There aren't a lot of study guide materials out there, but surely I can figure it out.

Of course, that's what I thought about my California driver's license test, too.

Obviously, if I fail the test, I might have to go the study courses route anyway, which will add the $800 plus another $300 for another test.

Hmmm. Okay, so I'm closer to my California certification, but yet so far...

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