There is a shortage of teachers in California (multiple people sent me that acticle when it came out…and I saw many other articles just like it)…I can’t say I’m the least bit surprised after going through the credentialing process myself. Let me walk you through my (horrifying) experience…
On August 11th, I went to the Alameda County Office of Education to apply for my California teaching credential (I figured I may as well…I was not having any luck finding a job in sports (do they even exist?) and I had finally reached my level of summer boredom). I plunked down $100 for a “preliminary” (I was missing certain paperwork…still not sure what) single subject credential in PE & Health (the Office even questioned me about not having my original PRAXIS scores from 1999!) and another $74 to get fingerprinted (so that I could, at the very least, substitute teach). With all of that complete, I decided to use my application “receipt” (who knows when I’ll get my actual credential as they are currently processing applications received BEFORE 6/29/15!) to apply to a few school districts on EDJOIN…mostly just to see if I would even get a response back from anyone.
Lucky me…I received an email about an interview for a full-time elementary PE position on August 13th (I thought…wow, that was quick…I figured they must really be desperate to find someone, as the school year was quickly approaching). On August 17th, I went in for an interview at the San Lorenzo Unified School District district office. The interview went well, but I found it strange that the interview wasn’t with a principal or with any other PE staff members (the director of elementary education conducted it). The next day (August 18th), I received a call back that all my references checked out (thanks Piitt…not sure they even called anyone else) and I was offered the job. I accepted the position (too soon maybe…another school district called me about a middle school position later) and I went in on August 20th to sign my contract and fill out a ton of paperwork (they actually left me with the paperwork and I spent the ENTIRE afternoon filling it out at home…it was nauseating). The next day (August 21st), I went back to the Alameda County Office of Education to get fingerprinted (a 2nd time remind you) because each district requires their OWN fingerprints (don’t ask me why, but can you say waste of time and energy…why not share fingerprints…probably TOO LOGICAL¡). After getting fingerprinted (where I had to show up at 8am to guarantee being fingerprinted…as they only take the first 14 walk-ins each day starting a 9am – I was fifth in line), I went back to the San Lorenzo district office to turn in my paperwork. At that time, I was told that I may not be able to start the school year in the classroom as it will take “some time” for the County to process all of my paperwork (it was taking most paperwork at least a week to get processed) and I needed a new TB test (just another hoop to jump through). Awesome¡
School started on August 25th (I was able to meet the staff and tour the building a bit on the 21st…even sat in on a staff meeting)…it was a half day at the elementary school that day. I was not able to be there on the 1st day of school due to the County “processing” my paperwork…and because of that, I could not be around students. August 26th was also a half day due to the district’s early release Wednesdays (or called shortened days in California)…I was forced to sit that day out as well due to the County. August 27th…nothing. August 28th…nothing (great, now I’ve missed the entire first week of classes). August 31st…still nothing!
On September 1st (after wishing all of my friends a happy 1st day of school in Wisconsin), I finally sent the district office an email kindly asking…why the F is this taking so long?! I received the standard response, the County processes the applications in the order that they receive them…we’ll let you know as soon as we hear something. Again, awesome¡ But, wouldn’t you know it…that afternoon, I finally received word that my paperwork had been processed and I could FINALLY start school the next day (one has to wonder if my email had anything to do with it).
So, as of last Wednesday, I have been teaching PE at Del Rey Elementary School (home of the Dragons¡) in the San Lorenzo Unified School District. Through only three days of classes, I can firmly say the experience has been “interesting.” I thought Wisconsin did things differently in terms of education, but California may just blow them out of the water. Like I said, it’s only been a week…but I’ve also seen a lot in my 13+ years of education to know how things work. I’ll leave you with what my friend Aaron said…well, maybe this is what education in Wisconsin will look like in 5-10 years. Stay tuned…he may be onto something. In the meantime, I’ll be busy taking credits to obtain my EL Authorization…if I want to teach in California beyond this school year (or maybe, I’ll be one and done).