Laurie Rodriguez: Part Two: Education-in-Training Pathway

I’m a huge believer in experience. Yes, you need knowledge, academics, and school, but you also need experience to become a well-rounded individual. Experience helps you develop those skills. Here in our district, you either need 720 contact hours with students to become a teacher aide, or you need 48 college credit hours. Actually, let me correct that: you need 720 hours or 48 college credit hours. Additionally, you have to be employed for 90 days before you can step into another position, such as a substitute. After being employed for 90 days, you can apply for another position, like the teacher aide position. So, there are three ways to move into that position: 720 contact hours with students, 48 college credit hours, or being a substitute employed for three months.


My former student Daisy, who is still a teacher aide, came to drop something off to me one day and told me, “I now know exactly what I want to do.” I asked her to share, and she told me she wants to go into library science. A former teacher aide, who now works at the high school, left that position, and it became open. Daisy moved into that position, learned about the library, and now she knows she wants to be a teacher for three years, then get her Master’s and apply for a library science position to become a librarian.


Another student, Aliyah, gained her 48 college credit hours within her first year of college. I kept in touch with her through Remind and kept encouraging her to apply. She is now employed at Salinas Elementary, working with students who have difficulty focusing, like those with ADHD. When I speak with her, she tells me it’s tough because she constantly has to get those kids to focus, but she also says it’s a really good experience while she goes to school. She’s determined to keep going despite the challenges and has been working there for two years.


Some of my other former students are substitutes. Not everyone keeps in touch, but I do have some who apply for positions as soon as they open. I periodically check for openings and encourage them to apply right away. After applying, I tell them to follow up two weeks later because everyone is applying, so they need to check on their application and call in. Fingers crossed they get hired.

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