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Post-baccalaureate certification

Information for Post-baccalaureate Students Seeking Secondary School Teaching Certification in English

This page is intended for those who have already earned a Bachelor’s Degree and wish to earn a state certificate to teach English language arts in grades 6-12.

Boise State University offers two pathways toward teaching certification in English.  Neither leads to a Masters degree.  The two pathways are:

  • A Graduate Certificate Program, offered by the College of Education, designed to take post-baccalaureate students through certification requirements in one calendar year, beginning in summer.
  • A second Bachelor’s degree program in which students earn additional credits required for teaching certification.

Note: The state department of education offers an alternative route to teaching certification which does not involve taking teacher education courses or meeting conventional teaching requirements and standards.  (See the Idaho State Department of Education’s website for more information.)  We believe that this route is best only for those few individuals who already have good teaching experience but lack a teaching certificate–for example someone who has successfully taught in private schools.  For most career-entry teachers we believe that a program of preparation through a combination of course work and classroom internships is best for entering this challenging career.

 

THE GRADUATE CERTIFICATION PROGRAM

The Graduate Certificate in Secondary/ K-12 Teaching is intended to take students with  Bachelor’s degrees in the subject in which they want to teach through the state required teaching courses and internships, including student teaching, within a single calendar year.

The Graduate Certificate in Secondary/ K-12 Teaching is administered by Boise State’s College of Education, Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Foundational Studies, not by the English department which is in Boise State’s College of Arts and Sciences.  Graduate Certification students whose major field is English will have some connections to the English Education program.  But the Program Director for this program is Dr. Phil Kelly, Educ 215, 208-426-4977, pkelly@boiseestate.edu.

Applicants to this program follow and meet expectations for graduate students, including at least a 3.0 gpa overall and in any major and minor fields.  Also required:

  • Praxis I Writing test score of at least 172. A simple writing test that checks for basic proficiency in composition and editing. It will ask you to write a simple composition (i.e. five-paragraph essay) and complete some multiple-choice questions about grammar and usage.  Contact ProMetric Testing Center in Garden City; call for an appointment: 321-7422.  Plan on 4-6 weeks for scoring.
  • Praxis II test for English Language Arts Content Knowledge, test #5038, at least a score of 167.  It is a multiple-choice exam with questions about works of literature, writing and rhetoric, and language and linguistics with a short essay at the end.  Online, check ets.org.
  • ED-TECH 202 or evidence of technology proficiency.
  • Brief essay of experiences related to children, schools, teaching.
  • Two letters of recommendation.
  • Fingerprinting and criminal history check.

Applications: http://eduction.boisestate.edu/teachered .

The Deadline is early, so beware!  Everything must be completed and submitted by the first Friday of February for students staring in May.

 

TRANSCRIPT ANALYSES

As part of the admission process, prospective students’ transcripts will be analyzed to acknowledge requirements met with previous courses, and whether there may be additional English courses required by the state for teaching certification that still need to be taken.  For this program, the Program Director in Education will do the transcript analysis, and that analysis may differ somewhat from analyses done in the English Department, but both are based on the state guidelines.  Besides the g.p.a., here are the guidelines we use in the English Department:

  • At least 45 semester credits in English language arts courses.  (Courses listed below would count toward the 45 if you have not yet earned this total.  “English language arts courses” include courses in English and linguistics, and may include courses in areas such as journalism, communications, and theatre if coursework directly applies to preparation to teach English.)
  • ENGL 301 Teaching Composition, or equivalent.
  • ENGL 381 Teaching Sec. School English, or equivalent.  (An English teaching methods course.  A general teaching methods course for all subjects is not equivalent to this content-specific course.)
  • ENGL 481 Lit for Jr/Sr High, or equivalent.  (This course surveys the range of literature taught in secondary school, including poetry, drama, essays, classic novels, and young adult fiction.  A course in only one of these, such as young adult literature, may not be sufficiently comprehensive.)
  • ENGL  275 Intro to Literary Studies, or a course in literary criticism
  • LING  305  Intro to Language Studies, or equivalent.  (Professional teaching standards require a thorough knowledge of English as a language system.)
  • Any linguistics course beyond LING 305
  • Two writing courses 200 level or higher  (Since about half of what secondary school teachers teach is writing, the state requires that they have actually studied and practiced writing in at least two courses 200 level or higher—and not just have written successful literature papers.  It is possible, however, to consider alternative writing experiences such as workplace writing, if supported with samples and a supervisor’s letter of recommendation.)
  • A course in British literature.  (Not necessarily a survey course.  The state will accept specific British literature courses with titles like Shakespeare, Milton, or English Victorian Poetry.)
  •  A course in American literature. (Again, not necessarily a survey course.)

Click here for further Questions and Answers About Prior Course Work.

 

ADVISEMENT AND FURTHER INFORMATION

Your progress in the Graduate Certificate program will be guided primarily by the College of Education.  Your advisor is the Program Director, who can provide more information.  But even though this is not an English Education program, we consider you one of ours because at BSU you are preparing to be an English teacher.  So feel free to consult the English Education faculty whenever you need to.

Click to go elsewhere in this document for further information about:

Student Teaching

Applying for the Teaching Certificate

and, by returning to the top right of this web, information about Job Hunting.

 

 

*       *       *        *        *       *

THE SECOND  BACHELOR’S DEGREE PROGRAM

In this pathway to teaching certification in English, students officially enroll at BSU as if to pursue a second Bachelor’s degree in English Teaching, which is an emphasis area of the English major.  Of course, most prospective teachers who already have a Bachelor’s degree do not need another.  But being a “second degree-seeking student” gives students the official status necessary to enroll for and earn the credits required for teaching certification.  (Once they have earned the teaching certificate, most students simply do not complete the second Bachelor’s degree.)

One advantage to this route to certification is that students take less expensive undergraduate credits that still meet certification requirements.  In addition, this route provides more flexibility in scheduling.  However, it may not result in completing certification within a single calendar year as the Graduate Certificate program does.

First Things

  1. Have your transcripts evaluated to see what you still need to take.
  2. As soon as you have met the prerequisites (or while they are in progress), apply to enter the Teacher Education program (often called the “teaching blocks.”)

TRANSCRIPT ANALYSIS

One of the first things you should do is to request from the English department an analysis of your prior college course work to determine which state English teaching requirements you have already met.  The transcript analysis will also determine whether there are any additional English courses that are required by the state for teaching certification that happened not to be required for by your undergraduate degree.  You will then have a list of exactly what you need to take.

To request the transcript analysis, contact the English Department Advising Coordinator at: englishadvising@boisestate.edu and ask for a transcript analysis.   Here are the guidelines we use in the English Department:

  • 3.0 cumulative g.p.a. and 3.0 average for English courses.
  • At least 45 semester credits in English language arts courses.  (Courses listed below would count toward the 45 if you have not yet earned this total.  “English language arts courses” include courses in English and linguistics, and may include courses in areas such as journalism, communications, and theatre if coursework directly applies to preparation to teach English.)
  • ENGL 301 Teaching Composition, or equivalent.
  • ENGL 381 Teaching Sec. School English, or equivalent.  (An English teaching methods course.  A general teaching methods course for all subjects is not equivalent to this content-specific course.)
  • ENGL 481 Lit for Jr/Sr High, or equivalent.  (This course surveys the range of literature taught in secondary school, including poetry, drama, essays, classic novels, and young adult fiction.  A course in only one of these, such as young adult literature, may not be sufficiently comprehensive.)
  • ENGL  275 Intro to Literary Studies, or a course in literary criticism
  • LING  305  Intro to Language Studies, or equivalent.  (Professional teaching standards require a thorough knowledge of English as a language system.)
  • Any linguistics course beyond LING 305
  • Two writing courses 200 level or higher  (Since about half of what secondary school teachers teach is writing, the state requires that they have actually studied and practiced writing in at least two courses 200 level or higher—and not just have written successful literature papers.  It is possible, however, to consider alternative writing experiences such as workplace writing, if supported with samples and a supervisor’s letter of recommendation.)
  • A course in British literature.  (Not necessarily a survey course.  The state will accept specific British literature courses with titles like Shakespeare, Milton, or English Victorian Poetry.)
  •  A course in American literature. (Again, not necessarily a survey course.)

For Prior Education Course Work

If you took some education courses at another university, you will also need to have the College of Education evaluate your prior education course work and let you know which courses you still need to take.  The main advisor is Jamie Jensen, jamiejensen2@boisestate.edu .

 

Questions about Prior Coursework

Q: I took an Adolescent Literature or Young Adult Literature course at another college.  Will it count in place of ENGL 481 Literature for Junior and Senior High School?

A: ENGL 481 includes some adolescent or young adult literature, but students also read and consider teaching literary classics and the range of literary genres, including fiction, poetry, drama, and non-fiction.  Most young adult literature focuses only on novel or novella-length fiction.  If your course syllabus included classics and various genres, and you have not only read a good sample of the literature but also addressed the teaching of literature, your credits are likely to be accepted as a substitution for ENGL 481.  If not, your preparation to teach would probably be enhanced by taking 481.  A class in Children’s Literature, by the way, does not count toward this requirement.

 

Q: I took a news writing course and a screenwriting course, but neither were English courses.   Will they count as advanced writing courses?

A: Yes.  If you studied writing and learned to write better in that course, and the course is above the freshman (100) level, the writing course will usually count.

 

Q: I majored in another subject as an undergraduate, but now I want to teach English as my major subject.  Can I switch to English?

A: Yes, but you may need to make up some English content courses to firm up your knowledge and skills in the discipline of English and also to meet state requirements, including having 45 credits in English.  When your transcript is analyzed according to the procedures described above, your evaluator will consider what English courses they believe you may need to take and let you know as part of their analysis.  If you feel they have not made a fair assessment or need more information, go talk to them.

 

Get an Advisor

Once you have been admitted to a program, you should request an academic advisor.  If you are in the Second Degree-Seeking program, your advisor will come from the English Department faculty.  To have an advisor assigned to you, contact the English Department’s Advising Office: englishadvising@boisestate.edu.  If you have teaching-related questions that your assigned advisor cannot answer, see one of the English Education faculty members.

Course Schedule

Teacher preparation for secondary school teaching at BSU centers around the “teaching blocks,” three semesters of co-requisite teaching courses and school internships that culminate in student teaching.

1.      Take Any Courses Needed before Block I

Pre-requisites to enter Block I:

  • ED-CIFS 201–Foundations of Education (3 credits).  If you have taken a similar course, apply for waiver with the chair of the Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Foundational Studies (College of Education).
  • EDTECH  202–Educational Technology – Classroom Applications (3 credits, online course).  If you have taken a similar course or passed a technology test, apply for waiver with the chair of the Department of Educational Technology.  (At this writing, the contact person is Chris Haskell.)
  • Take any English courses you still need except for Engl 301, 381, and/or 481 (see below).
  • Take the Core Academic Skills for Educators test of basic writing, an ETS Praxis 1 test.  Go to ets.org to preview and schedule your test.  Take the test at least 6 weeks before the application deadline; passing score 162.  Attach results to your application materials.
  • Have at least a 2.75 overall gpa, and 3.0 in English and in education courses.
  • Apply online for block I: Teacher Education Office, http://education.boisestate.edu/teachered .  Due 3rd Friday of Sept for Spring; 1st Friday in Feb for Fall.

 

  1. Block I semester
  • ED-CIFS 301—Teaching Experience I (2 credit internship in school—some observing and some teaching).
  • ED-CIFS 302—Learning and Instruction (4 credits).
  • ED-SPED 350—Teaching Students with Exceptional Needs at the Secondary Level (3 credits).
  • ENGL 301 Teaching Composition
  • ENGL 481 Literature for Jr & Sr High
  • Apply for “Professional Year.”  Need 2.75 gpa & English, 3.0 in education courses.  Due 3rd Friday of Sept for Spring; 1st Friday in Feb for Fall.

For the teaching experience internships you will be assigned to a school and mentor teacher.  Your job is to assist the teacher in teaching tasks that typically begin with routines like taking roll, giving quizzes, marking papers, and working with individual students or small groups as they do assignments.  Gradually you will take on more and more of the teaching responsibilities until during student teaching you will take over the teaching completely for a designated number of weeks.

For the block I internship, you will work in the school for a minimum of 100 hours, which is about 7 hours per week.  Some of your time spent at home preparing or marking papers may be counted toward the 100 (no more than 20 hours), but travel time does not count.

 

  1. Block II semester
  • ED-CIFS 401—Professional Year – Teaching Experience II (3 credit internship—150 hours minimum assistant teaching, likely where you’ll student teach.).
  • ED-LTCY 444 Content Literacy for Secondary Students (3 credits).
  • ENGL 381—English Teaching (3 credits).  Content methods course for English Teaching majors. (381 assignments are linked to 401 internship.)
  • Take the Praxis II in English Content Knowledge (#5038) at least 4-6 weeks before you student teach. Register at ets.org. Passing score is 167.

 

 

 

  1. Block III semester
  • ED-CIFS 484 (middle grades) or 485 (high school)—Professional Year – Teaching Experience III (14 credits for student teaching, probably with your block II mentor teacher.)
  • ENGL 495 student teaching seminar (1 credit).  Take this FF course if required by your graduation year catalog.

This is student teaching, a full-time commitment.  Take no other courses this semester if possible.

You may see references to a Block IV, which means a second student teaching experience for students who do dual student teaching, like P. E. majors who earn K-12 certification and must student teach both in elementary and secondary school settings.  Most English Teaching Majors do not do Block IV.

 

Questions about teaching courses

Q: What does “Professional Year Teaching Experience” mean?

A: Some College of Education materials refer to the “Professional Year.”  The “professional year” simply refers to the Block II semester together with Block III, which is the student teaching semester.  The phrase is intended to convey the idea that in the final year of college, students should intensify their preparation to enter the teaching profession, particularly by intensifying their internship experiences.  However, you might not necessarily take these blocks during a calendar year, especially if you student teach in the fall, and it is possible that Blocks II and III may not be consecutive if you take a semester between these blocks to complete other course work.  In addition, for all practical purposes, in secondary teaching the professional experience begins with Block I, so it’s really a professional year and a half if you do the blocks consecutively.

 

Q: How do I get placed in a school for my Block I teaching experience?

A: The Director of Teacher Education in the College of Education (E-222) will use your application to locate a teaching placement for you.  If you have a preference for a particular teacher or school, or if you have circumstances that constrain your placement (like transportation problems), make a note on the form or attach a memo to it when you turn it in.

You may not get your placement preferences.  BSU always has a lot of students to place, and it is a big, complicated job to locate teachers who would like to work with an intern, in a school whose principal and other teachers would like to have our interns.  Be patient, and make the most out of wherever you land.

 

Q: Can I make my own placement?

A: No.  Never arrange your own student teaching placement.  It’s a very different situation if the university requests that you work in a particular school than if you do it yourself.  Your teacher may not feel free to decline when you ask them yourself.  The principal wants to hear from only one official person at Boise State regarding all internship placements in his or her school, and you are not that person.  Also, Boise State may be making other requests for that school, and you have no way of knowing about those.

 

Q: What if my cooperating teacher does not teach like I will?

A: They probably won’t.  But that doesn’t mean that you cannot learn a lot from them anyway, and learn what works for you as you work with that teacher’s students.  Remember, though, that the classroom is the teacher’s and not yours (yet), so make sure that the teaching approaches you take in this classroom will fit in with what the teacher is doing, even if you might not do it this way yourself.  Learn from it.  Your time will come.

 

Q: Are there standards in teacher education that I must meet?

A: Yes.  Just as there are state achievement standards for secondary school students, there are standards for new teachers to meet.  Some of these are broad, general principles that all teacher education students must meet, such as knowledge of adolescent development and understanding of pedagogical approaches like direct instruction or use of small groups.  In addition, there are standards specific to English teaching; for example, you must show that you can integrate writing and reading instruction, and that you understand how language changes over time and is socially embedded.  You will have opportunities to meet these standards in your course work and in your internships.

 

Q: May I take both Block I and Block II during the same semester?

A: No.  Although the blocks alone require only 9 credits each, and conceivably a student could handle 18 credits in a semester, the block program assumes a graduated internship experience.  If you think that your situation is an exception to the rule, you must convince the Placement Director to allow you to register for block II courses, since you will not have met those prerequisites.

 

Student Teaching

During student teaching you will gradually take over all responsibilities for classroom instruction.  As you become well established, your cooperating teacher leaves the room and for a few weeks you become the teacher, including preparation, teaching, and grading for all of the teacher’s classes.  You will document some results of your teaching and your reflections about your teaching in a portfolio of work samples.  In the end, the cooperating teacher writes a letter of evaluation that becomes the centerpiece of your job application file.

You apply to student teach by completing the application to the Professional Year (blocks II and III) and submitting it to the Office of Teacher Education.  You must also register for student teaching credit.  If you do not enroll for student teaching in the semester for which you have applied, you will have to reapply.

Student teaching is a full-time commitment.  If possible, take no other courses during your student teaching semester, and take a hiatus from any jobs you might have.  Remember that your teaching career depends on getting an excellent letter of recommendation from your cooperating teacher.  Student teaching is not the place to cut corners.

 

Student Teaching Placements

The Office of Teacher Education handles all aspects of student teaching, including placements.  It is likely that you will continue to work with your block II teacher if conditions allow that.  If you need to change, see the Director.  You may make specific placement requests, though there is no guarantee that your request can be granted.  Placements are also based on availability of cooperating teachers and administrative decisions.

 

Questions and Answers

Q: Should I do a single or dual option for student teaching?

A: Probably single, not dual option.  For purposes of certification or job application in secondary schools, the single option experience is sufficient even if you student teach in a high school and seek a junior high job or visa versa.  Dual option student teachers work in two placements, for approximately eight weeks in each setting.  Students who elect the dual option are usually those who desire teaching experience in two different school subjects and feel that they need teaching experience in both areas in order to be employable.  (English in combination with a modern language might be an example.)

 

Q: Can I student teach during the summer?

A: As a rule, no.  The student population in summer school is very abnormal; usually it is just the lowest achieving students who need to make up failed credits, and the highest achieving students who want to make more room in their school year schedule for extra electives.  Often the middle of the bell curve is missing, along with normal school culture of a school year.  This kind of student teaching experience could compromise your readiness to begin teaching in a normal school situation, and also it might appear to be a disadvantage to an administrator examining your job application in comparison to someone who has student taught during the regular school year.   Besides, in summer there aren’t as many classes in which students could be placed.  Another complication is that for students who need 16-week student teaching experiences, summer school is too short.

However, secondary school summer school programs do exist, and they usually offer some English classes, so a few student teaching placements could be made.  To be placed in summer school, students should have plenty of solid experience during the regular school year in their internship experiences, be strong teaching candidates who won’t be compromised by the atypical summer circumstances, and be able to present a compelling reason why they cannot student teach during the regular school year.  Requests to student teach during the summer should be made to the Director of Teacher Education in the College of Education.

 

Q: Who supervises me during student teaching?

A: The College of Education will assign a university supervisor or liaison to periodically observe and evaluate your teaching.  But your main supervisor is your mentor teacher.

 

Q: What are my requirements for student teaching?

A: Student teaching requirements and procedures are described in a handbook available from the Office of Teacher Education: http://education.boisestate.edu/teachered/secondary-field-experiences/

 

Q: Can I take a university course while I am student teaching?

A: If possible, complete all of your course work before student teaching so that you can concentrate your full energy and attention on successful student teaching performance.  However, if necessary, you can be allowed to take an evening course during student teaching as long as the course is not fundamental to your teaching success (like ENGL 301, 481, and 381).  Consider that your priority will be successful student teaching, which requires a great deal of time and energy.  You must be willing to put your course work after this, and the quality of your course work may be at risk.  If you must take a class, consult the instructor and work ahead if possible.

 

Q: How long does student teaching last?

A: You will student teach for the whole semester, 16 weeks.

 

Q: Can I withdraw from student teaching?

A: Yes, if you decide to withdraw early enough.  As a professional courtesy, six weeks’ notice should be given to your mentor teacher and school prior to the beginning date of your student teaching assignment so that they know in plenty of time not to expect you.  Other withdrawals follow university guidelines, but are strongly discouraged because of the commitments that student teaching implies.

The Director of Teacher Education also has the right to withdraw you from an internship setting if your professional performance is deemed a potential liability for yourself or others.  Procedures for non-voluntary withdrawal allow you a chance to tell your side of the story.