I talked to some of the teachers today about when they took their state licensing exams. There are three tests that all AZ teachers have to pass, namely:
1. Professional knowledge: demonstrate you know how to be a teacher, and specifically, a teacher in AZ. (This explains the excruciating parts of my recent SEI course.)
2. Subject knowledge: demonstrate you know the material you say you want to teach.
3. US and AZ Constitutions: who said civics is dead?
Consensus is, the professional knowledge exam is part educational psychology (took that already), part AZ legal requirements (ditto), part classroom management (again, ditto), and lastly, some part (what should be) common sense. Since I have some classroom experience as a substitute, I should be able to take this test and not embarrass myself.
Subject knowledge tests are hard, and people do fail them. I have no clue about the Constitutions exam, everyone takes an exam prep course for it. You have two years after you start teaching to take the test, so everyone ignores it until the more important exams are well past, and passed.
So here's the plan:
1. the Professional Knowledge test in January
2. an accelerated (8-week vs 14-week) biology class staring in mid-January
3. the Subject Knowledge (Biology) test at the end of March.
Assuming I pass, which isn't much of an assumption, I'll be good to go with the rest of my program at Rio Salado -- or even to get a teaching position if I wanted to, which I don't. At least not yet. But once I've passed the tests, I'll be eligible to teach. It would be good to have the option.