[NOBE-L] getting my teaching certification in Texas

Victoria Chan vkchan1988 at gmail.com
Thu Sep 23 16:14:59 UTC 2021

Hi all.


My name is Victoria Chan, and I graduated from UNT with my master's in
special ed last fall and hope to get my teaching certification. However, my
status as a Canadian has made that very difficult, and unfortunately I ran
into a lot of issues during COVID. Therefore, I thought I'd send an email to
this list in order to see if I could get some advice on next steps. My
future goal is to become a TVI. However, in order to do the TVI program in
Texas, I must have an initial teaching certification. Unfortunately I did
not have a good experience at UNT. Prior to going to UNT I did start out at
Texas teachers ACP and have contemplated going back with them. I have copied
and pasted a timeline below and have also included a link to an interview
that I did with Spectrum news 1 TX a while back. 


Victoria's timeline


*	January 2018: started with Texas teachers alternative certification
*	May 2018: passed all my content exams.
*	June 2018: left Texas teachers ACP as they were unable to sponsor a
non-US resident for an internship because they were a private company, so
transferred to UNT.
*	August 2018: began grad school at UNT; degree program: master's in
special education with IMPACT certification (IMPACT is the teaching
*	August 2019: program went 100% online with the classes being
condensed to 8 week sessions. International students department said that I
needed to take some face to face classes in order to maintain visa status,
even though I only had 3 classes left in my program.
*	March 2020: was supposed to go to the Texas school for the blind for
a training week, but it got cancelled due to COVID. 
*	May 2020: Visa was supposed to expire, but international students
department said they'd extend it for one more year so that I could do
student teaching, not knowing at the time that the teaching certification
was separate from the master's program.
*	June 2020: went back to Canada to be with my family during COVID.
*	August 2020: COVID was still going on, so professor and I decided it
would be best to wait till the following semester(spring 2021) to do student
teaching. Meanwhile, international students department said I needed to
continue taking classes in order to maintain visa status.
*	November 2020: Texas school for the blind and visually impaired
(TSBVI) basically informed me that doing student teaching in person in
January 2021 was not gonna be a possibility due to COVID.
*	November 2020: international students department said that they
could not extend my visa beyond May 2021 because I'd already met the
requirements to graduate with my master's, and since the teaching
certification was separate, they would be required to shorten my visa to
December 2020 in order to maintain visa status. Furthermore, they said that
if I wanted to wait till September 2021 to do my student teaching in person,
I could apply for OPT, but I'd need to be in the US by December 11 2020 in
order to be approved. This was when COVID was at its peak, + the borders
were closed for non-essential travel, so I was unable to travel at that
time. I was also having medical issues, so travelling would've been unsafe
for me. Therefore, I chose to do my student teaching virtually.
*	January 2020: began student teaching virtually, but the position
ended up not being a good fit, so did not continue. Initially when the
student teaching position was set up for me back in March, I was supposed to
be placed in the elementary division with a cooperating teacher who was also
blind, and that would've been a great experience for me. However, sed
teacher was no longer working in that division. Therefore, they placed me in
the adult program where I was expected to teach classes such as career
development, work training, and money management. Prior to going into
education, I was an opera singer. A career in the music industry is very
different from a traditional 9-5 job, so I never really had work experience
before and just didn't have the knowledge/skills to teach those classes.
*	This brings me to now, I'm presently in limbo and not sure what my
next steps should be. My future goal is to become a teacher for the visually
impaired, and Texas Tech University has a VI teaching certification program.
However, I must have an initial teaching certification before I'm able to do
the VI certification program.
*	Additional note: as an international student, I did not qualify for
services from state organizations that blind students in Texas are eligible
for. If you're a blind Texas resident, Texas workforce solutions actually
pays for your school. Even though Texas workforce solutions did issue me a
certificate of blindness tuition waver, UNT was unable to let me use it
simply because I was not a Texas resident. 




I hope this timeline helps in explaining my situation clearly. I look
forward to receiving some advice on next steps.





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