This is one of those boring posts Ill put up from time to time on the off-chance someone reading actually wants to learn from my process. I assume you already know how to skip out on reading my blog, so feel free to do it again!
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has a web page detailing all of its Educator Licensing policies. Reading this without prior knowledge of the process seems about as informative as asking Karl Rove to come clean about the 2000 Florida recount. However, Ive managed to have a few conversations with people who know about this stuff, and here is my current understanding of how this works. I will need to:
- Earn a Bachelors Degree. Check. Whew.
- Complete a Wisconsin DPI-approved licensing program (these come in standard and alternative a.k.a. fast flavors). The Licensing/Certification program (in my case, my wifes colleges Education department) does a few things.
- Offers a set of required Education-specific courses, i.e. the history of American Education and adolescent Psychology.
- Requires a certain number of contact hours with minorities while still a student. (I know!)
- Develops a Portfolio of papers and work product out of the education courses which literally goes on your Permanent Record and will be reviewed by prospective employers.
- Ensures that your areas of specialization (Subject, age range) are satisfactory.
- Facilitates Observation and Student Teaching.
- Pass the Praxis I (general prep, SAT level) and Praxis II (subject-specific) exams.
- Fill out some subset of that dizzying panoply of forms and subsequently be approved. Im a fairly smart guy but Im still hoping my licensing program will help with that.
Interestingly enough, after all that, the Wisconsin license is only directly transferable to about 2/3 of the rest of the states. If the state isnt friendly to the WI license, Id have to take MORE classes or pass more tests just to teach there. And in case it occurs to you that I could be doing one of those rapidly-accelerated Alternative routes because Math is critical need, well yes I thought of that. I just cant give away the Music work, and I honestly will benefit from the slow route in both subjects.
As for the apparent scope and complexity of the bureaucracy standing between me and career change? At least it helps ensure that the people who go into this line of work really, really want to be there.