Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Lifelong Learner??

When we began the process of moving to Minnesota, my teaching license presented a challenge. Not initially, but when the Minnesota government shut down in July of 2011, my license was not yet processed and stuck behind closed doors. Exactly 9 days before the school year started, it cleared, and I began the process of taking tests and meeting requirements. Per encouragement from the Minnesota Department of Education, I focused on taking the MTLEs--Minnesota Teaching Licensure Examinations--and getting my Human Relations course requirement out of the way. Fortunately, I passed all three exams (seven subtests in total!) and MDE granted me a waiver of the Human Relations requirement after I compiled a very thorough file demonstrating I already had covered the content in previous courses. Last February, then, I moved on to determining what coursework I needed to meet any discrepancies between my Texas licensure and what was required in Minnesota.

That's where the story gets interesting. Long story short, I needed a LOT. Two substantial differences were discovered: my Texas licensure focused on Language Arts and Reading for grades 8-12. Minnesota's Language Arts license is "Communication and Language Arts" and I have never taken a Communications course. The Reading licensure in Minnesota is K-12 rather than 8-12, meaning I would essentially have to start all over. So last February, I sent off my materials to several schools and came to terms with the fact that I would again be a student for at least the next year. At one point, I was told I would need to take 15(!) classes to meet both licensure requirements, but fortunately that was an extreme. The grand total ended up being 29 credits, or 9 full classes and one short class.

I currently am wrapping up the third of the four requirements for my Language Arts license. Technically, I have been a full-time student since last June. I will take the fourth course during the Winter session at Augsburg. I am enrolled for the final two reading classes at Hamline to be taking in the spring; fortunately, they are online classes, so completing them with an infant should be challenging but not impossible. The end is in sight. I've managed to balance family, work-school, and student-school, and maintained a decent GPA. I just can't help but shake my head; will I EVER not be a student? It seems eternal life in the academy is my fate.

A few lessons I've taken away:

1.) Learning is much more effective when it's immediately applicable. I wish I could go back in time and retake my education classes while in my own classroom. I wonder what great lessons I missed.

2.) I could have slacked off a lot more in the past. Robin keeps teasing me that I'm not pulling Cs. My GPA doesn't really matter for these classes, but despite just how lazy I am, my grades are fine. I wonder what trouble I could have gotten into during college had I known this...

3.) I am 100% confident I will never teach in another state. This craziness is just too much.

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