My certification plan looks to be a very long road. I am taking the first two core classes, and have something like (the exact number depends on a few external factors) 14 classes left to take. All this despite my test scores, my BA, and my MA. I wish I could just demonstrate mastery of a variety of things with another test or two and skip the remedial literature courses. Don't get me wrong; I'm sure I do need the biology, and Math For Elementary Teachers is probably a good idea. Still, 14 courses to go... the mind boggles.
At the rate I'm taking classes, this will take a little over three years, assuming classes are available summers as well. I wish I could quit my job and go to State School full time and get out there quicker, but I simply can't. I have too many financial burdens; I'm just getting by on my salary (which boils down to between $11 and $12 per hour) as it is.
The irony is that if I wanted to be a 4-8 or 8-12 teacher of, say, social studies (history) or language arts, the course load would be much thinned out and I'd be teaching a lot sooner. But in order to be an EC-4 Generalist, you need to have a broad base of the basics, and I took a lot of philosophy and Asian history, not much else, in college and grad school.
I'm reasonably certain that EC-4 is what I want to do; I like experiencing the emotional bond you can have with the younger kids, and I picture myself as a classroom-based, one-group-a-day teacher rather than a lesson-based teacher for the older ones. Still, changing plans and veering onto the 4-8 track is looking mighty tempting.
Besides, teacher friends (such as CS) tell me that I can just take the 4-8 certification, then pass an EC-4 Generalist TExES, and boom, I'm qualified for both. I had thought of that almost immediately when meeting with my advisor, but she brushed off the idea without exactly saying it was unfeasible. It does strike me as somehow cheating --- I would be an EC-4 teacher without any of the classes than explicitly teach the specific skills that an elementary teacher needs. I want to be the best, most skilled and qualified teacher I can be, so I don't mind taking the classes --- indeed, bring 'em on! It's just the sheer length of time this will take that makes me look for easy outs.
Of course, keeping everything in perspective, I just saw on a TV show that the apprenticeship for a Tibetan metal sculptor is 12 years.
And finally, today at work a four-year-old pooped in his pants at lunch time. A kid that old who has no control, awareness or remorse about his bowels has something seriously wrong with him. But then, there's something seriously wrong with my whole employment status. I must be the only master's of arts holder in the country whose job deals in at least some small part with poopy pants.