Thursday, July 13, 2006

Teaching English with a Shimer degree


I was wondering if anybody reading this is a recent Shimer grad and a high school English teacher.

I'm asking because I've hit a wall in my application process for this one-year post-bacc teaching certification program (through my local community college.) My stumbling block is due to the new No Child Left Behind laws, which state that teachers must be "highly specialized" in the subject they wish to teach. Basically, I'd need 24 credit hours (plus to pass a test, which I'm sure I will breeze through) in English.

My advisor glanced briefly at the very very outdated sheet of paper the registrar sends along with official transcripts, which describe the equivalent subject matter of courses from 1960-1978, most of which say that Humanities classes are "literature" classes. Hum 1 is 2.5 art credits and 2.5 music, Hum 2 is 4 Lit credits and 1 Composition credit, Hum 3 is broken up amongst philosophy, theology and literature credits, Hum 4 is literature, history, philosophy, art, and IS classes aren't even listed.

Perhaps this is wishful thinking, but I had hoped that such a reading and writing heavy Great Books curriculum would translate to more than just one measly Composition credit for Hum 2. (Unfortunately, I'm supposed to have "English" or "Composition" classes, not "Literature.") Or maybe I am wrong and this is just my futile attempt to avoid spending an extra year and several thousand dollars to take English and Composition classes that I doubt will teach me anything that I don't already know.

I was just wondering if anybody else has gone through this debaucle and how you navigated through it.

Thanks in advance!!


P.S. I met a girl at the gym late late last night who saw my Shimer t-shirt and told me that's where she really wanted to go. She then followed me around the free weight room peppering me with questions about which political magazines she should subscribe to and how to become more educated. I finally relented and gave her my e-mail address and told her she could come over and look at all my books.

P.P.S. I met a Philosophy graduate student who shares my obsession with Plato, and I'm sure that our discussion of Lysis (once we are both done rereading) will be reminiscent of those lovely octagonal tables... though nothing beats discussing Marx by candelight during a power outage... but he does know Greek... Hmmm!

P.P.S. I'm gonna make high school kids read Shakespeare!


Saradevil said...

I agree it would be nice if someone could update the transcript explanation of credits to make it a bit more of an accurate reflection on the times. But I also know better then to hold my breath.

On the other side, I think that the Shimer Curriculum as it is would probably be more credits towards composition, particularly if you take into accounts projects like writing week, the comps, and the thesis. If you are interested in teaching English it might actually be better to take a few credits and see if you can parley more Shimer credits into Composition credits somehow. I’m sure you have already looked into options that would let you take an equivalency test to demonstrate the knowledge that you have to make up for a few of the other credits as well.

If you do want to get a certification to teach you might want to look into putting an application into the Teacher’s Corps. This program is like the peace corps or Americorps, but when you finish you will have a valid certification. The upside to this is they pay you money to do it, you take no classes, and you get an educational stipend you can use towards paying down your loans. That might be a more workable option.

If nothing else, you can always join the Shimer in Exile program and teacher English in Korea where your current transcripts and degree qualify you to start today.

Saradevil said...

We like to say teacher english rather then teach, more authentic.