Alternative Certification: ESL, Tutoring, Elementary Education
RECENTLY, A READER ASKED THE FOLLOWING QUESTION:
I love to teach. I have tutored and taught English as a Second Language to adults as a volunteer. I completed a 9-hour tutor training program, however, the community agency has not sent the certificate. Because of my age, I do not see myself attending a traditional 4-year collegiate program for certification.
Is there an alternative certificate program that would prepare me to teach/tutor elementary school-age students? Thank you.
First, because you have completed a certification program, it would be helpful to check the status of your official certificate and verify what it entitles you to tutor/teach in your region. Beyond this, there is not a one-size-fits-all response to this question. Individual states will have their respective guidelines for certification for candidates who want to teach/tutor elementary-age children. If the needs of the state or region are great, there may be emergency permits, but this is more likely for harder-to-fill certifications such as tutoring mathematics or teaching ESL.
Some geographical areas will have alternative licenses allowing individuals to get a license while taking classes IF the candidate already has a BA/BS degree. Of course, there are alternative certifications such as those under the umbrella of the New Teacher Project and Teach for America. Check your respective state department of education for state-specific guidelines and authorized alternative certification programs.
Essentially, it would be wise to become familiar with the overall state department of education guidelines for your particular state(s). Also, a nearby community college may administer ESL and emergency certificate programs; online programs are another possibility that may accommodate your schedule.
Don't forget to check tutoring options outside of public school systems. State migrant education programs and community organizations like YMCAs offer after-school tutoring. A good centralized location for identifying community program is often the local United Way. Also, organizations whose primary mission is tutoring such as Sylvan and Huntingdon may have opportunities that suit your needs.
Jack Kronser, Human Resources,
Aurora Public Schools, CO
Deborah Snyder, Education Career Services
Grove City College, PA