NYC Teaching Fellows vs Teaching Collaborative

Two of the more well-known alt cert teaching programs in NYC have more in common than not.

Applications for the 2023 cohort of the NYC Teaching Collaborative are open, and I was happy to hear that several substitute teachers that I’m in touch with are considering pursuing their teaching certifications to teach in the NYC DOE. There are multiple alternate certification pathways for educators who didn’t follow the traditional bachelor’s in education to initial teaching license pipeline, and two of the more well-known alt cert programs in NYC are the Collaborative and the NYC Teaching Fellows.

Both programs fall under the purview of the Office of Teacher Recruitment and Quality (TRQ), and they’re actually fairly similar in how they’re structured. Both programs have a series of Skill Building Sessions, that allow teacher candidates to practice essential skills to be successful in the classroom. Teacher candidates in both programs complete a field experience in a NYC school while also preparing to attend graduate school for a master’s degree in education, all while working on the state certification exams, required workshops, and more that go into obtaining a transitional B teaching certification.

The biggest difference between both programs is how the program timelines are structured. Collaborative Partner teachers have weekly skill-building sessions spread throughout the spring semester while completing 4 months of field experience at NYC schools. By necessity, the Fellows condenses this timeline so that preservice training (PST) takes place during the DOE’s summer term.

If I had to pick, I would say that the Collaborative offers a better field experience for teacher candidates. Getting to spend 4 months learning and growing as an apprentice teacher was a hugely beneficial experience. I was able to gradually take on more responsibility for the classes that my Collaborative Coach was teaching, and the experience felt truly meaningful. I felt well-versed in lesson planning and facilitation by the end of my field experience, and even felt like I developed a decent tool belt of classroom management philosophies and strategies to build on. PST for the Collaborative was stressful in a different way that I imagine the Fellows’ PST to be, although I believe that candidates in either program more than earn their keep in their preservice experience.

In contrast, the Fellows gives their candidates about a month work of hands on classroom experience in summer school. I think it’s safe to say that any classroom experience is helpful for a teacher candidate, but I’m not sure that summer school is as beneficial as working in the classroom during the “regular” school year. On the flipside, Teaching Fellows don’t have to suffer nearly as much of a financial blow as Collaborative Partner Teachers do, given that the Fellows takes place during summer school.

In the grand scheme of things, both programs are more alike than not. We’re even given the same packet on the job search process, including a list of eligible schools that we’re able to take jobs at. The main difference between both programs comes down to how PST is structured. I enjoyed the extended field experience of the Collaborative, but the financial situation ($6000 paid across 5-6 months) was a sore point for many in my cohort. Many of us only made it work by living with family or a partner, savings, and working a second job. Was it worth it? I thought so. At the same time, the Fellows program provides a far more compelling option if, like the vast majority of New Yorkers, teacher candidates can’t afford to live in poverty for months.

I heard from an in-service teacher that the Collaborative’s program was created to address a concern about quality of training offered by the Fellows’ month of PST. I don’t know if there’s an actual basis for this claim, but it certainly makes sense to me. I couldn’t imagine squashing my 4 month field experience down into the month or so that Teaching Fellows get, but I do wonder how much someone that’s brand new to the classroom can actually learn in a month.

Either way, both programs have proponents and detractors alike. I myself had a good (not great, but also not terrible) experience in the Collaborative. By DOE standards, good/decent isn’t too bad once you’ve heard horror stories of principals who’ve successfully derailed the livelihoods of early-career educators, i.e. a discontinuance. A quick Google search of the programs will bring up some not-so-flattering anecdotes (particularly for the Fellows). There may very well be some truth to them, but I think everyone should do their own due diligence, including speaking to current and former program participants alike.

The Collaborative gave me a pathway to teaching; to do work that I find a tremendous amount of professional and personal satisfaction in. I’ll always be appreciative of that, and I truly hope that both programs continue to grow by listening to participant feedback and seeking to do the right thing for teacher candidates in our most high-need license areas. The program worked fairly well for me, but I know fellow Partner Teachers who were downright miserable and/or frustrated with their experience.

Past is Prologue: NYC DOE Nomination Limbo III

I am once again asking the DOE to not butcher my hiring paperwork.

If past is prologue, I’m not sure why I’d be terribly surprised that my rotten luck with hiring/onboarding paperwork with the DOE has reared its ugly head again.

I’m looking forward to starting my full-time teaching position in the fall. As with all new hires, I need to complete the Applicant Gateway process, background nomination and all. For those following along at home, this is now my fourth DOE background investigation. The other three were for my previous nominations: substitute teacher, Roster Evaluate (onboarding for the Collaborative), and Person Not On Budget (PNOB) so that I could have access to some tech systems during my field experience.

Until very recently, my teacher nomination was stuck in the background investigation step. No big deal, I thought. It’s peak hiring season for teachers and it’s not unusual for these things to take a bit longer. I shrugged off the fact that it had only been just shy of two months since I cleared my last DOE background investigation. I sent a quick email to OPI, hoping for some assurance that nothing was wrong with my candidacy.

Four to five business days passed, and I was ready to send a follow-up email to OPI. As I fired up Outlook, I took a look at SubCentral on a hunch, only to receive the following message upon attempting to log in: Your account has been disabled please contact your districts HR department.

I’ve only ever seen that message once before, and it was only six months ago that a similar paperwork hiccup prevented me from working as a substitute teacher. I knew I was in good standing as a sub, and that I was approved for the DOE’s summer pool of sub teachers. Again, something wasn’t quite adding up. After missing out on a month of income the last time this happened, I wasn’t going to leave anything to chance. I emailed the Office of Personnel Investigations (OPI), hoping for an expeditious response. OPI sounds like a scary thing to deal with, but they’re the folks who oversee background investigations for the DOE.

The problem with getting in contact with OPI is that there’s officially only one way to reach them — contacting an email that responds with a generic auto-reply. Their own auto-reply and conventional business etiquette suggest that the sender should expect 2-3 days for a response. That certainly wasn’t the case for me back in December, as I distinctly sending approximately 4 emails spaced throughout the month. I still find it somewhat amusing that after a month of trying to get ahold of their office, I was able to get a response the day I used some Google-Fu and the DOE Outlook directory to find out who exactly was in charge of OPI and emailed this person.

Back in the present day, I’m sitting at my computer, ever so slightly irritated that this same problem has presented itself again. I could have emailed OPI again, but wasn’t feeling like playing their email waiting game within such a short timeframe of having previously addressed the exact same issue. I typed up an email to OPI, and copied the emails of several DOE employees from that office.

I haven’t received a response or any acknowledgement of my email, but within 24 hours of sending this, the problem was fixed. My background investigation that had been pending since mid-June went through and I was able to log into SubCentral again. I worried that it might have been a bit over the top to directly email their executive director and deputy director, but I assuaged my guilt by reminding myself that it was the right thing to do given the consequences of this “technical issue” as it was obtusely described by an OPI representative.

My hope in writing this blog post and other similar to it is not to complain, but rather to document some of the logistical challenges that I’ve faced during my time in the Collaborative. I hope that future Teaching Fellows and Collaborative Partner Teachers who might end up in a similar predicament are able to resolve things a bit quicker than I did.

I haven’t even started my teaching position with the DOE yet, and the Department’s track record with routine paperwork isn’t looking too promising. Here’s to a brighter future with minimal paperwork headaches.

The Multi-Subject CST and EAS Exams

I’m still not sure that teacher certification exams are a predictor of success in the classroom or knowledge of content, but I passed…so yay.

The New York State Teacher Certification Exams are a requirement for the transitional B teaching certificate that Teaching Fellows and Teaching Collaborative Partner Teachers apply for near the end of pre-service training. Admittedly, I don’t know what correlation exists between my performance on these tests and my ability to be successful as a classroom teacher, but they are a necessary hoop that all teacher candidates in the state of New York must jump through. The tests are very successful in padding the pockets of Pearson and whittling away at my humble NYCTC program stipend, but I’m not sure those are the explicit goals of the exams.

At the time of writing this post, I’ve passed all three of the required multi-subject Content Specialty Tests (CSTs) for the students with disabilities (7-12) generalist license. I took the Educating All Students (EAS) exam yesterday morning and thought it went pretty well. I’ll have my results in a month. In the meantime, I wanted to jot down a few thoughts while the experience was relatively fresh in my mind.

Content Specialty Tests

The Content Specialty Tests (or CST’s) measure the knowledge and skills required of teachers to be successful in their license areas. Math teachers take the math CST, biology teachers take the biology CST, and so on. It’s pretty straightforward, with the exception that students with disabilities (SWD) generalist candidates take a multi-subject CST that assesses our general competency across literacy/ELA, math, and arts & sciences. Despite having very similar names, there is a different multi-subject exam sequence for each grade band. I’m an SWD grades 7-12 generalist candidate, so I took the 241/244/245 exam sequence.

I don’t have much to say about the multi-subject CST, other than it felt like I was taking the ACT again, but interspersed with some questions about teaching pedagogy. I remember telling myself: “Just take the tests so you know what to expect.” I was fully prepared to take the tests again, as I was really curious to see what the multi-subject math exam would be like. Things worked out in my favor, as I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I passed all three exams on on my first go.

Some people don’t fare as well, and that’s okay. I think each candidate should do what’s best for them, whether that looks like purchasing study guides on Amazon or even paying for a personal tutor. The peace of mind and confidence might be worth the investment. NYSED doesn’t care what you get on the tests or even how many times you take them — they literally just look for a passing score posted to your TEACH account.

Educating All Students

The EAS exam measures the foundational skills needed to teach diverse student populations, such as students with disabilities and English language learners. I thought the test was pretty straightforward except for an annoying occurrence where two answers could have fit the scenario pretty well depending on the needs of the student. This is especially true for special education and ENL populations, which can seldom be distilled down to a multiple choice answer. The test had three written response questions that I really enjoyed because I felt like I got to address an actual problem and to provide a rationale for it. I think anyone with experience working in a school setting (substitute teacher, paraprofessional, etc.) will fare pretty well on the EAS, although some review might be needed in certain areas. I’m much more familiar with special education through my previous work as a substitute teacher and current field placement, but I did have to brush up a bit on the concepts for supporting ENL students.

COVID Emergency License

The emergency COVID-19 certificate was implemented by NY state during the pandemic, when access to testing centers was greatly limited. The idea is that any candidate who completed all requirements for their teaching license except for the certification exams would be certified to teach and given a two year window to complete the exams. I know of a few cohort members who are planning on postponing their CST and EAS exams and opting for the COVID emergency license, but I think the prudent course of action is to complete the exams now and only have to deal with NYSED once for the transitional B license. Some are okay with redundancy — more power to them, I suppose.

Final Thoughts

The tests aren’t bad at all. I believe anyone can easily pass them with some preparation, and that’ll look a bit different for everyone depending on their background knowledge and their comfortability with standardized testing. I’d like to offer a few tips based on my humble experience:

  • Stay calm.
  • Take the tests as soon as possible. It’s free to reschedule the exams as long as you do so at least 48 hours in advance. Each registration is good for one year.
  • Passing is the goal, not perfection. It doesn’t matter if it takes a few tries to pass the exams, or if you pass by a few points. NYSED just looks for a passing score to be posted to your TEACH account when they review your transitional license application.
  • Use the Brooklyn Education Center. I thought that the resources available through BEC were particularly useful. I can see them being really helpful for teacher candidates who are worried about the multi-subject math exam. $60 gets you access to one of BEC’s set of materials for 3-4 months. A pretty good deal in my opinion. I believe that BEC used to offer actual classes that candidates could attend in person, but have since pivoted to a self-paced model during the pandemic. They freely offer a PDF study guide for part 3 of the multi-subject CST, which I think is pretty neat.
  • Stay calm.
  • Be aware of the exam retake policies and the NYCTF/Collaborative expectations for submitting a passing score. All exams require a 30 or 60 day cooldown period before you can test again. You don’t want to end up in the awkward position of having to wait 30+ days while also pushing the program’s deadline to submit scores. It could also potentially jeopardize your ability to progress in the program if the state can’t issue your teaching license because you’re missing an exam. This is less of an issue for the program’s 2022 cohort due to the safety net of the COVID emergency license, but my guess is that this option will sunset after the September 2022 deadline.
  • Don’t sweat the details. The tests throw a lot of information at you, especially when reviewing different artifacts like teacher lesson plans and notes. The testing software includes a strikethrough and highlighter tool, both of which I found particularly useful.
  • Did I mention…stay calm? You’re going to do great!

Nomination/OPI Limbo Redux

In which I would like to avoid a potentially frustrating set of circumstances that would be no fault of my own.

In late January, the DOE advised principals to make sure that student teachers and Collaborative partner teachers were processed for a Person Not on Budget (PNOB) nomination in Galaxy. This nomination will allow partner teachers access to DOE systems such as a DOE email account, the DOE Google Workspace, InfoHub, and others.

I noticed the nomination pop up in my Applicant Gateway portal about a month ago, and frankly I’ve been terrified of clicking on it after what happened with my substitute teaching nomination when I first sent in my paperwork to join the Collaborative under a “Roster Evaluate” nomination. The short version is that I couldn’t sub for a month while my work status hung in limbo. After just over a month of futilely trying to get ahold of the Office of Personnel Investigations regarding the status of my paperwork, I received a relatively brief email apologizing for a “technical issue” that had been resolved.

My fear turned out to be not totally unfounded, as I know of a cohort member who experienced the exact same error going from Roster Evaluate to PNOB nomination as I did going from Per Diem Substitute to Roster Evaluate. Thankfully this colleague’s time in OPI limbo was much shorter than my month-long furlough.

I’m not sure what happens when the Department of Education processes secondary or even tertiary nominations for new employees, but there seems to be room for something to go wrong with nominations not playing nicely in the system. It’s not exactly an uncommon process. Plenty of substitute teachers pursue full-time positions, substitute paras secure full-time positions, etc. Maybe there’s more to the nomination process that I’m not aware of, but it makes zero sense for an employee in good standing to have their work eligiblity paused because something goes wonky in the DOE’s systems from an HR/candidacy standpoint.

I’m not sure that the PNOB nomination even does anything for me since I’m already in the system with a DOE email and access to to other systems that we use in the department.

Needless to say that I would like to avoid another fiasco similar to what I experienced in November 2021. I completed the required actions in my Applicant Gateway portal to get the PNOB nomination processed — time will tell how smoothly things go. Surely my third time going through the nomination process will be a bit smoother, but you never know what’s going to happen in the DOE.

NYCTC Stipend Woes

Money isn’t everything, but it’s still kind of important.

I want to preface this post by noting that I am quite proud to be a member of the NYC Teaching Collaborative, and I recommend the Collaborative and the Collaborative’s sister program (Teaching Fellows) to friends and colleagues for whom I think these alternate certification programs are a viable pathway to classroom teaching. That being said, it’s not a complete surprise that a program operating at this scale across schools in New York City might have an occasional snag along the way.

When I accepted my offer to join the NYC Teaching Collaborative, one thing that the program made very clear was we should prepare for an incredibly frugal financial situation until we begin our full-time teaching jobs in September 2022. Our base program stipend is $1000 per month, and anyone that lives in the Big Apple knows that $1,000 doesn’t go far at all. Based on a limited sample size, I’d hazard a guess that the majority of my fellow cohort members and I are only able to make the finances work out by being able to live with our families for the duration of the program.

No matter what our circumstances are, it goes without saying that each of my cohort members and I are stretching every dollar as far as we can go. Prior to joining the Collaborative, I worked for the DOE as a substitute teacher. I was able to put enough of a savings fund aside for the duration of the Collaborative program so that I was able to supplement my program stipend so that it was similar (but not quite the same) as my full-time subbing income.

Let’s take a look at the stipend that partner teachers make during pre-service training (January – June):

Not included in the projected stipend was a $500 technology fee that we had the opportunity to express interest in. The purpose of this stipend was to offset the cost of obtaining a laptop, paying for wifi, etc. since the skill building sessions for the program were set to be facilitated online as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. The messaging around this stipend wasn’t particularly clear, as communication from the program went from “complete this form if you want the stipend” to “we’ll let you know if you received it.”

The hiccup with the stipend was that it didn’t come as expected. In fact, no one really knew when to expect the stipend at first, and we even lost at least one (possibly a few more) cohort members who had to leave the program since they did not receive their initial stipend.

It’s perfectly reasonable that we didn’t receive the January stipend by the end of the month. Afterall, “real” jobs typically lag about 2 weeks from days worked to payday for workers on a biweekly pay cycle. The snafu, however, was that we were completely in the dark about when to expect the stipends to arrive. To further complicate things, there is no way for Partner Teachers to enroll in Direct Deposit (why this is the case eludes me, as the checks I get from the Collaborative are identical to those I received for substitute teaching and per session). Eventually, we received this anticipated calendar for stipend disbursement:

I want to emphasize that this isn’t at all an unreasonable timeline. It was a bit disheartening that we were several weeks into preservice training before stipend logistics were clarified. The above table was shared in an email from the program dated January 28th, 2022, but it would have been nice to have that finalized in the preservice training guide that we received in late November or early December.

No one goes into teaching for the money, but it still makes me sad hearing through the grapevine that we lost at least one cohort member due to largely financial reasons. While I am no financial or payroll guru, I can’t help but wonder if there are any ways that this process can be improved for future cohorts.

Teaching with Block-Based Programming Languages

Block-based language can play a crucial role in introducing students to computer science.

When I received my student teaching/field experience placement for the semester, I was pleasantly surprised to find that my schedule included two course sections of computer science: one intro class, and the other is AP Computer Science Principles. Both classes are introductory courses (no previous programming experience required), although I agree with the College Board’s recommendation that students taking AP CSP have algebra 1 credit as a prerequisite along with knowledge of the Cartesian (x,y) coordinate system. Most of the kids taking the intro (non-AP) course at my school are 10th graders, so just about all of them have obtained their algebra 1 credit by the time they start the class.

Both classes offer flexibility in how the courses are structured. My intro class follows the Microsoft TEALS curriculum which uses the Snap programming language. Our AP CSP course follows the Beauty and Joy of Computing (BJC) curriculum, which also uses Snap. All curriculum resources are adapted and modified for the needs of the students I teach, and it’s nice to have such a solid resource to refer to.

I first cut my teeth on computer programming as a first-year undergraduate student in 2013 using Java. I didn’t stick with computer science for my formal education, but chance and opportunity would play out such that I would later go on to take courses in Python and statistical computing with R. I was certainly never the best programmer in my class, but I thought that I learned tons and had a good deal of fun along the way.

I have moderately strong feelings that Python is a great first computer language. Sure, you lose some of the slightly lower level stuff that gets abstracted away for learners compared to a language like Java or C++. I know when I first started learning Java, some of the boilerplate stuff was pretty intimidating. Take for example, a standard first program in Java:

class HelloWorld {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        System.out.println("Hello, World!"); 
    }
}

Compared to the same thing in Python:

print("Hello, World!")

Most students will think: what the heck is going on in that second line of the Java example? One day students will understand what each bit of that line means, but most of the students I teach just need to see something accessible on their screen. More importantly, they need to see a coding project that runs to boost their confidence and inspire them to try and create newer, better things.

One really nice thing about the two courses that I teach is that educators have the flexibility to choose which programming language the courses are taught in. Normally, I’d proudly proclaim to the masses that Python is the best language for those new to computer science. I still think it works incredibly well for undergraduates, adult learners, and highly-motivated high school students. The more I learn about teaching computer science at the high school level, the more convinced I am that block-based programming with an introduction to Python as pacing/time allows is the best way to support and nurture a love of programming with this population. Near the end of the school year, my students will get to explore Python a bit and I’ll be curious to see what they think of it.

I used to look down on block-based programming languages like Snap and Scratch, but now that I’ve been using them to teach introductory high school programming for about a month I’m singing a different tune.

A simple random number game created in Snap. The program generates a random number between 1-10, and asks the user to try guessing the number until they get it right.

My students are excited to complete hands on projects because they can dive right into the Snap environment and try out new ideas and concepts. The visual nature of block-based programming helps students understand how different concepts and logic fits together, and honestly Snap feels more like a game sometimes rather than a proper programming language.

Will the next AAA video game title or technological breakthrough be coded in Snap? Absolutely not. But if I can use block-based languages as a tool to get kids excited about programming, to go on and create with languages like Java and C++ (or even just develop an appreciation for the role of computing in our society), then I think I’ve done my job as an educator.

Starting Cohort 10 of the NYC Teaching Collaborative and SBS-I

In which I formally begin my journey as a pre-service special education teacher in the NYC DOE.

I wrote this post as I was wrapping up my second week of the Collaborative, but it fell to the side for a bit as I got busy with skill building sessions (SBS) and starting my field placement. The program began in mid-January with SBS’s, and the field experience component began on Friday January 28th with orientation.

It’s been an incredibly busy two weeks. On Monday January 17th, my fellow cohort members and I attended the welcome event for the NYC Teaching Collaborative’s 10th anniversary cohort. This event officially marked the start of our journey as Partner Teachers (PT’s) in the program.

Logistically, the program begins with two weeks of skill building sessions known as SBS-Intensive. These two weeks consist of daily weekday sessions from 5pm – 7pm, where we attended sessions facilitated by a Lead Instructor who is also an educator in the DOE. The sessions have continued since then, gradually sinking down to two days and lastly one day per week with an extra session. The program front-loads many of the essential skills a new teacher needs, such as building relationships with students and giving clear directions, and looking back I think that my foundation from SBS-I gave me a solid foundation that I continue to build on in my field experience.

At the time that I applied for the program, PT’s were originally slated to begin graduate school in January ’22. However, feedback from previous program participants reflected that juggling grad school alongside the SBS’s and field experience proved to be quite a lot, and I suppose the program is trying to alleviate some of that stress by holding off on grad school until after we finish these components of the program. It was later confirmed that our cohort is slated to begin graduate coursework during the summer session of universities across the city — I myself will begin the MSEd in Adolescent Special Education – Generalist program at Hunter College in late May.

Because skill-building sessions started two weeks before field experience, it worked out in my favor that I was able to continue serving as a substitute teacher because the school day didn’t clash with my afternoon obligations to attend SBS from 5pm-7pm. Those extra two weeks of subbing allowed me to add a solid chunk of change to my savings account — quite important given that we have a program stipend of $6,500. Partner Teachers were originally budgeted to receive a $6,000 stipend, but the Collaborative decided to award everyone a $500 technology stipend since many aspects of the program are virtual this year.

I came into the program knowing that a lot of things would be pre-determined for us, namely: the teaching license that we would earn, the graduate program that we would be attending, and the site where we will be completing our field experience/student teaching. For me, all three of these happened to work out in my favor. I expected/wanted to be assigned Students With Disabilities (7-12) Generalist as my license area, and I’m pretty happy with my grad school placement and field experience site. That being said, not everyone was as thrilled as I was. The Collaborative does have an appeals process for each step of the program, but they make it pretty clear that appeals are only granted for extenuating circumstances.

As I write this post, I’ve wrapped up two weeks of the SBS-Intensive part of the program, I had orientation at my field placement today, and I’m excited to hit the ground running on Monday to see where this journey will take me. When they called it SBS-Intensive, they really meant the intensive part. I learned a lot during these two weeks of daily sessions, and I feel like I have a solid foundation that I’ll continue to build on throughout my time in the program.

A Tale of Two Nominations

A minor paperwork hiccup leads to an unexpected inconvenience.

In the fall of 2020, I began serving as a per diem substitute teacher in the New York City Department of Education. It was an interesting time to say the least — we were still in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic, with no clear signs at the time that the end was really in sight (or even a vaccine at that point). I’ll save the story of how I got into substitute teaching for a different post, but it could be said that I got into substitute teaching at a “good” time in terms of job prospects. Subs were (and still are) desperately needed across the city, and I knew that job opportunities would be plentiful.

I was surprised by how straightforward the application process was. All it required on my part was some reasonable paperwork and a trip down to 65 Court Street for fingerprints. The nomination process that had been in place prior to the pandemic required aspiring subs to network with school administrators in the hopes of securing a coveting nomination to teach. One pleasantly surprising change to the onboarding process was that the DOE’s central substitute processing office granted nominations automatically without extra effort on the part of the candidate. So anyone with a bachelor’s degree, who could pass a background check, and had a pulse were ushered right into the ranks of DOE substitute teachers.

Fast forward to November 2021. Earlier this year I applied for and accepted a spot in the NYC Teaching Collaborative’s (NYCTC) 2022 cohort. For those that don’t know, the NYCTC is a sister program to the more widely known NYC Teaching Fellows. Both programs ultimately serve the same goal: prepare teachers in high-need teaching license areas to serve in high-need schools. The onboarding process had been proceeding swimmingly until the morning of Friday November 19th. A school administrator at my current long-term substitute teaching assignment pulled me aside before the start of the school day.

It seemed that I had completely disappeared from my school’s list of assigned substitute teachers. I was locked out of my own SubCentral account and all efforts to try adding me to the school’s substitute teacher roster failed. Further investigation showed that I had been ineligible to substitute teach as of 11/16/21. What could have happened? I was in good standing with the DOE, and I had received no notice from the Office of Personnel Investigations regarding any ongoing investigations.

To make a very long story short, my current nomination as a substitute teacher wasn’t playing nicely with my new nomination to join the NYCTC as a pre-service teacher. I was slightly relieved to learn that the Collaborative staff member I spoke with had heard of this scenario happening to other candidates, and I happened to connect with a fellow member of the program who was experiencing the exact same thing. The DOE said that current subs are eligible to serve in our current roles until January 28th, but this on-boarding kerfuffle seems to have thrown quite a wrench into things.

So where does this leave me? I’m basically out of work until my new background check clears in my Applicant Gateway portal. Hopefully it resolves within a week, but you never know how these kinds of things will play out in the DOE. The nitty gritty of the nomination process is still pretty gray to me as a relatively new initiate to the DOE. All I know is that I’m out of work for the time being, and I look forward to using this unexpected vacation to get my blog up and running.

Thanks for reading,

Joe