Tuesday, December 21, 2010

School, school and more school

While this site is predominately for my library studies information, I have a lot of education that will branch of and tie into the library career plan.  So while I say this is a site about my endeavors in librarianship, I still need to discuss my steps toward teaching.  As I said before, I hope to get into a school library but with 0 library jobs available in my new town, my only option is to go back into teaching.  With that said, I have two conundrums to work out.  First, for my FL Professional Teaching Certificate I need 6 credit hours to keep my certificate from expiring within my 5 years if I’m not in the classroom.  While Brevard County Schools said for me to just take a couple of non-degree seeking classes at University of Phoenix. After thinking about it, if I can help it, I’d rather take a couple classes toward an actual degree instead of tossing out $1000 to keep a certificate (in one state) up to date. 
What it’s kind of confusing, and maybe a bit disappointing to me, is that colleges seem to be like car lots these days.  If you show any interest in their program, they jump on it full force and will call and email relentlessly.  No, I don’t want to chat, I want information sent to me in the mail so I can look over the curriculum.  If I want to ask questions I’ll email or call.  I’ve had tons of messages left on my voicemail (over things that can be addressed in email, mind you).  When I went to interview for a position as a college recruiter for a private college in Daytona Beach a while back, they were interested in people who had business and sales backgrounds.  Granted, the kind of schools I want to get into are not the ones who chase you down, so I’m glad to have found reviews about the school I was going to sign on with.  What I had a hard time with is that advisors not only call constantly, they email the exact same information.  I was asked to apply 3-4 times.  Both GCU and Univ of Phoenix said that I had to reapply with my new, married name, change my degree plan, etc. with a whole new application form.  That means a bunch of application accounts and major confusion on both my and the advisors’ parts. 
The other thing that got me was their insistence that I apply for Financial Aid.  I explained to them that I already have my financial aid application tied in with TWU and I wouldn’t jeopardize messing that up for anything, especially since I’ll graduate after this coming term.  I contacted FAFSA about GCU saying to just add their school code so they could “see where I’m at.”  FAFSA said that I could add the school code and tell GCU not to do anything with the application because you can only get Financial Aid from one school at a time.  I didn’t trust some random school I didn’t know to not do anything with my financial information if they already knew I had no intention of taking out loans.  Still, the school continued to say, with every email enquiry about my application, that I had to apply (for the 3rd, 4th time) and fill out the FAFSA information, including Promissory Note for them.  When I finally flat out declined to do so they said, “Oh, no problem, you only need to do that if you’re going to take out a loan with us anyway.  Um…so why did they keep pressuring me to do that when I told them I wasn’t going to take loans out ahead of time?  Major red flag.
After all this back and forth stuff, I finally stumbled across Pitt Online which has an MEd in English program. There was no pressure to apply, maybe an email here or there from an actual person who had answers to my questions.  I found out that they are ranked #64 in U.S. News and World Report for 2011 and I would way rather have a state college on my transcript than an all-online school that seems a bit dodgy to begin with.  I talked to an advisor this morning and she was very helpful and talked to me about both of the Education programs that were available online.  The only hitch is some of the classes may require fieldwork or being in the classroom to utilize the course assignments but I may very well be doing that soon. Plus after NU got me to take classes and then claimed I was at my limit with financial aid until the very end (they’re tricky fellas) I can’t get my transcripts to them.  
Aside from all of this, yes, I still have to work on my U.K. Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).  I had mentioned before that the first school I applied for wanted my GCSE exam scores which, of course, I don’t have because I graduated from an American high school.  I was denied flat out for not having UK test scores.  The second school, however, was invited me for an interview in January.  I emailed the professor in charge of the PGCE whom I will interview with and asked if my lack of GSCE UK high school test scores is a problem.  I got an email back saying, “as far as I can tell, you're eligible, which is why you've been called for interview.”  Awesome news that made me very encouraged to go ahead and try to get to England sooner than I’d planned (by a week) and get to that interview. 
With all this stuff in motion, I’m thinking of making, yet another, blog to document my teaching endeavors.  I still have another term for the library studies, and I still plan on ending up as a school librarian but on my way to getting my dream job, I’m going to have to jump a few hoops.  I’ll want to document that too.
UPDATE: Turns out being hornswagged by National University means that UPitt won't accept me. I'll have to go back to GCU after all since it is a MEd degree I seek (not a Master's of Arts in Teaching or something similar.) Here's hoping it ends up okay.

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