Before his move to Massachusetts, Stephen Pettit had been a teacher for a long time. His route to teaching was a more unusual one. Despite having always wanted to teach, Stephen graduated from his undergraduate degree in the early 1970s and was advised not to go into teaching, because at that time there was a glut of teachers and no one was hiring. So he began a very successful career in the steel industry, working his way up over the next 30 years:
"Aged 50, I had a choice – stay in a financially stable and secure position or pursue the career I’d always wanted… I retired from the corporate world and started teaching in the suburbs of Illinois where I was living at the time. I was really enjoying teaching but was keen to teach a more diverse population."
When visiting his parents in the Cape, Stephen spotted an advertisement for a 7th Grade History Teacher in Barnstable and decided to apply. He took the MTEL test to teach in Massachusetts, which he passed, and was hired immediately. As there was a ‘reciprocal agreement’ in place between llinois and Massachusetts, Stephen’s license should have transferred from one state to another. So he began teaching.
Unfortunately, it transpired that there was some administrative concern around the difference between Elementary and Middle School (terms used in the different states) and Stephen became increasingly unsure as to whether he would need to apply for Initial Licensure. This went on for nearly two years, when suddenly Stephen found himself in a situation whereby he needed to find a way to get Initial Licensure very quickly.
"I started researching my options and found that Class Measures delivers the PRPIL program. I rang and spoke to Andrea DeMeo and she instantly put my mind at rest. I felt very reassured that I finally had an ally for the first time. Andrea assured me that I could fit the program into my schedule and walked me through what I needed to do to achieve my license."
It took Stephen some time to complete his portfolio, as he had 10 years of boxes to go through to evidence his vast experience – but he was keen to ‘get on with it’ and was able to do so without it interrupting his lifestyle. His Mentor was his Department Head who was already observing his lessons. Like most teachers in the program, Stephen hadn’t met his Instructional Consultant before he started training with him, but he asked him all sorts of questions and quickly got to know him:
" Before my Instructional Consultant retired from teaching, he had been School Principal and a Superintendent. He quickly became someone I could trust, and it was reassuring to have his experience to call on. He was a good mentor, and showed me how to be a good mentor: very “non-threatening”.
One of the key reasons teachers choose the PRPIL route is that it can be completed within 4-6months or as long as 18months, depending on your timeframe, workload and lifestyle (check out this sample timeline). Like many, Stephen chose to complete his program within an academic year (September through June). Another reason that PRPIL is a preferred route is its relative low cost and excellent value for money, as Stephen explains:
“We have “no choice”; we have to get the license and at reasonable expense to ourselves. But we do get to choose the route. What I got choosing the PRPIL route was my money’s worth in terms of both education and knowledge development. I would recommend this route to everyone – most definitely!”
Teachers may enroll in PRPIL as early as their third year of teaching in the role of the Preliminary/Provisional license, or if your Provisional License is expiring or has expired - assuming you are eligible, it is advisable to apply to PRPIL as quickly as possible. Class Measures also now accepts Provisional non-vocational teacher licenses including Elementary and Special Education, and it’s also possible to advance two licenses at the same time – so it’s a very flexible option.
As someone who has been through this process recently, Stephen’s advice to teachers who need to apply for their Initial License is clear:
"When it comes to applying for their Initial License, lots of teachers don’t want to be in the situation. They have to be. My advice – don’t dwell on this. Research the solution to your problem… and you’ll find Class Measures is the way to go!"