How to Become a Teacher: My Story

8:00 AM

Hi y'all,

As many of you know I am finishing up my schooling to become a teacher. While my path to becoming a teacher is unconventional, I thought I would share with you what you can expect on your own path to teacher licensure.
Please note, my licensure is Prek-6th, so my requirements might be different.

First, I finished my B.A. in Communication Studies (when I was first applying to colleges, I was told you cannot major in Elementary Education in the state of Virginia, but you major in something else and then you fulfill requirements for your teaching licensure. However, each school is different). I graduated from CNU in May 2015.

I then took a summer and fall semester off of school completely. Toward the end of October/in November I went in to have a meeting with my future advisor at Mary Baldwin to see what to expect and what I would need to fulfill class wise. I also found out the testing requirements. At this point, I also started volunteering in my 4th grade teacher's classroom (he now teaches 5th grade at the same school). I realized I really did like it, and I kept volunteering through the start of the next semester.

In January 2016, I started taking classes at the community college (I fulfilled several requirements: a literature class, micro econ, child psychology, and cultural geography). It is obviously cheaper to take classes at the community college than through a public or private university. I also worked on taking some of my entry tests (the Praxis Core Math for Educators and VCLA). I then applied to the actual program, Post Baccalaureate Teacher Licensure (PBTL) program at Mary Baldwin University (previously Mary Baldwin College). This is one of the more popular programs in the state and offers classes for adults so classes don't meet every week and the professors are often more flexible than when doing a traditional course of studies.

In March, I started working as a TA in a first grade classroom, which has given me valuable experience, and allowed me to knock out another class.

By April, I was admitted to the program for the summer session, when I took classes like Behavior Management, Assessments of and For Learning (essentially a class on how to write an assessment, and how to interpret assessment results), completed a Prior Learning Portfolio.

In the fall, I continued working as a TA, this year I worked in two Spanish Immersion classrooms on the English side (more about this in a later post). I work in first and second grades. I also continued to take classes. This semester I took: another Introduction to Education, Understanding Exceptional Individuals (both on gifted and SPED students), Language and Acquisition 1 (geared toward K-1), and Engaging Students in Science.

This spring, I took two practicum classes, Language and Acquisition 2 (geared toward 2-6th), and Elementary Methods (this focused on writing lesson plans and a unit plan), and a science class (the state of Virginia requires two science classes and I already had one from CNU).

During this summer, I will take my last two classes, which are math method classes.

Finally, this fall I will complete my student teaching.

However, I have taken more tests since the Praxis for Core Educators: Math and VCLA. I have taken the Praxis in the core subjects and I still have to take the RVE (the Reading for Virginia Educators). I have also completed First Aid/CPR/AED training, Dyslexia Identification Training, and a Civics training.

I'm still waiting to hear where my student teaching placement will be, but I can't wait to find out (I should find out sometime in June or July).

I have a few more education focused posts coming (like how I lesson plan and how to plan a unit). Let me know if you want to see something specific.

I was already pretty unhappy doing what I was doing back when I first went for my meeting in the late fall of 2015, and I knew I wanted a life change. I will say that volunteering in the classroom helped me figure it out. Likewise, I also knew that school is my comfort zone. I absolutely love learning, and love teaching. I do sometimes find it stressful (as does everyone). But, at the end of the day, I love what I do. Even though when I volunteered, I only graded some papers and answered questions (in case anyone is wondering, ask me anything about VA history for 5th grade, and I know the answer). I love learning, and even though I never wanted to be a teacher growing up, my mom knew from the time I was 3 years old (if not before), that I was born to be a teacher.

Am I sad that I took a different path to being a teacher? Absolutely not. I'm glad that I've had the experiences that I've had. I have already had difficult students and the cutest students (and yes, I have stories for literally years, I might even write a book one day). I also know how to handle having a TA, and what are fair expectations of a future TA I might have. I also know that without a servants heart, being a teacher is not going to fulfill me. I also know that I will treasure my years of being a teacher more. Plus, I'm grateful for my communication training as I definitely understand how to communicate with the tiny humans more. And y'all, some of them are really tiny.

To wrap it up, because I feel like this post is already too long, can I wait to be a teacher in my own classroom? No. Do I have to? Yes. Am I happy I went back to school? Absolutely.

Are you a teacher? Did you take the conventional path or did you go back to school?

with southern grace,

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with southern grace,