I’m embarking on a new career path. Well, I suppose it’s not new. I have been aspiring to be a teacher for years, but obstacles continue to block my path. First I had a husband that went to jail and left me to raise a child all alone. I figured (at nineteen) “no big deal, I can handle working full time, taking care of a baby, paying the bills and everything else, too.” I didn’t take into account that colleges were hostile toward “single” parents back then. There were no onsite daycares or consideration for issues concerning babies. I got dismal grades because despite my best efforts, my instructors saw me as a failure from the start, therefore they graded me harder than others in an effort to drive me out of school. Sadly enough, they succeeded. My parents refused to help me this entire time claiming that I had to learn to take care of myself.
I quit school and found other ways to take care of myself. Years later I tried again. This time I was in my thirties. I knew that I was not going to be able to just walk into a University and expect them to accept me. I went to the University of Phoenix and carried a 4.0 GPA for a year before applying to the University of Oklahoma. Unfortunately UOP threw in a useless math class that didn’t transfer anywhere else at the last minute. I got a “C” in that class dropping my GPA to 3.73. When averaged with the 1.0 I had gotten at 19, my cumulative GPA was 3.1. At least that was high enough to get into the teaching program at OU.
I only had one year to go to finish my degree when my significant other convinced me that I should move to California with him. He claimed that I could finish my degree here. He said that there wouldn’t be much difference. Boy was he wrong! I got here to find that first off, there is no such thing as an education degree here in California. You have to get a degree in something else, then get a different degree in teaching. This gets confusion for someone like me, who was going for a “Social Studies Education degree.” That includes history, geography and how people interact with their environment as well as how the environment affects people. It’s a pretty unique subject. California has nothing that even comes close to covering this subject…at all. I had to improvise and get a degree in history, only because I had more credits in history than any other subject.
Now, to be able to get my teaching degree, I have to have a certain amount of time logged actually teaching. Wait a second! Isn’t that backwards? Every other state has you log those student teaching hours as part of the curriculum. In this economic climate, who is going to hire a non-credentialed person to teach their students? I happened to luck out. My degree and experience with children was enough to land me a gig teaching with an afterschool program. I’m sure there are a lot of people who are not so lucky. I’ve said it before, higher education needs a serious overhaul, but here in California, it needs to at least make sense. An overhaul might not be enough for this broken system…