I do not regret getting my Psychology degree at all as it's a great asset when working with youth, which was my goal when I set out to get my degree. I just didn't know in what capacity (Adjustment counselor? Therapist? Residential counselor?) When I worked at Easter Seals that's when I first realized I really enjoyed being in the classroom setting.
I've always loved learning (hello! Nerdfighter!), and have been a passionate advocate for education (it's one of the issues I read about when researching politicians). I've had opportunities to work with different grade levels (early learning, pre school, elementary, middle, and High School) and in different types of school settings (therapeutic, private early childhood center, public, and charter). Out of all of these I really enjoy the elementary level and the charter school setting.
So I will be applying for my elementary education license. I have two plans.
Plan A:I just applied today to the Match Teacher Residency/Sposato Graduate School of Education. It's an alternative teacher prep program for those who cannot afford a full degree program. The program has 70-75 spots for each school year. Here's who it works:
-Match Teacher Residents (MTRs) spend full days (Monday-Friday) in the Match Charter Public School, which operates a pre-K-12 school for low-income students from Boston.
-MTRs serve a regular workweek as tutors in Match Corps, an AmeriCorps program, and also spend time daily in classrooms where they observe, assist, and ultimately assume full-time teaching responsibilities.
-Two nights per week, plus Saturdays, MTRs attend graduate classes, complete assignments (e.g. practicing lesson planning and analyzing video of effective teachers), and participate in teaching simulations through the Sposato Graduate School of Education (SGSE).
-SGSE coaches and faculty provide frequent personalized feedback to MTRs as they ramp up in their teaching responsibilities.
-By the end of the year at Match, successful MTRs get a Massachusetts “Initial” teaching license, and obtain a full-time teaching position in a high-performing urban school in the city of their choice.
-MTR graduates work as a full-time teacher at an urban charter or turnaround school.
-As Sposato students, they participate in a year-long distance-learning course that’s supported by individualized coaching. Their classroom practice is evaluated using a battery of assessments to determine conferment of a Master’s in Effective Teaching (MET) degree.
-If I don't make it into the program, I am going to take the MTELS on my own (you take them the first year of Match program) next fall and hopefully get my preliminary license. I'll then wait for the 2017-2018 school year to reapply to Match.
There is no financial obligation for the first year, and tuition for the second year is $9000 which is paid in installments of $1500. For year one I would get a $15,000 (taxed) stipend paid out biweekly, according to the person I've been emailing back and forth with this comes out to $596 biweekly. This was the biggest thing stopping me, but as long as I stay on track with my budget over the summer then I will be able to make it work.
I've mentioned this to my supervisor, and we are going to touch base tomorrow. If I do get accepted to the program I won't be able to return to the Renaissance for the 2016-2017 school year, but I'd love to come back for my second year. The other thing I'm wondering is how will it affect my pay? I get paid year round (salary). If they know I am not coming back will that mean my last paycheck will be the last week of school or will they continue to pay me through the summer and then stop when the new school year starts? This is mostly me thinking outloud.
I'm told it takes about 5-10 days for someone to get back to me about my application. I'm nervous, but I'm excited that there is a program for the charter school setting. I'm really hoping to be able to stay with the Renaissance because I like their co-teaching model.
I went to DBSA. The beginning was not a good time. I had a bad episode and sort of flipped out before the meeting started. I really don't want to get into it. I will say that it's about that same woman and one of the things she said started with, "people with your disorder" and "your therapist would agree." I'm okay now and I had a lot of support and validation.
5/10-Not the best of days. Bad episode.