While the requirements to become an Illinois or Indiana teacher are rigorous, all Greater Chicago-Northwest Indiana corps members end their two-year commitment as certified teachers.
Becoming Certified to Teach
Corps members must pass the appropriate content test(s) for the state in which they’re teaching. For most subjects that requires them to only take and pass one content exam. For those teaching both bilingual education, they are required to pass their subject context exam and a subject language proficiency exam to qualify for the bilingual endorsement.
Teaching in Illinois
State law requires that corps members enroll in an alternative certification master of arts teaching program in order to legally teach in Chicago and North Chicago. Our university partner for grades 1 through 12 (all subjects) is Relay Graduate School of Education. Our Partner for Early Childhood Education is National Louis University.
Chicago and North Chicago corps members receive the state’s Educator License with Stipulations (ELS) during their first year. They go on to complete their Professional Educator License (PEL) at the end of their second year, provided they have fulfilled all coursework, processing, and testing requirements. All Chicago and North Chicago corps member will receive their masters of arts in teaching in their assigned subject area.
Teaching in Indiana
State law requires that corps members enroll in an alternative certification program in order to legally teach in Indiana. Our university partner in Indiana is Relay Graduate School of Education. Relay offers a choice for corps members in their coursework, either attending a one-year certification-only pathway, or attending a two-year certification and master of arts in teaching program. All Northwest Indiana corps members receive the state’s Transition to Teach (T2T) license during their first year, which is valid for three years, provided they have fulfilled coursework, processing, and testing requirements. They go on to complete their full teaching license upon completion of their Relay pathway requirement.
Northwest Indiana corps members receive the state’s Transition to Teach (T2T) license during their first year, which is valid for three years (and renewable), provided they have fulfilled coursework, processing, and testing requirements.
Certification and university partner coursework can cost up to $22,000 over two years so corps members should be prepared to invest that much in certification costs. However, tuition can be significantly lowered via the AmeriCorps award. From 2022-2023, corps members (eligible for the full AmeriCorps Award) paid between around $5,000 in tuition and fees each year towards their certification. This is subject to change every year.
Corps Member Training
Before you lead your own classrooms, corps members join us for a rigorous Pre-Service training program in the summer. The first week of Pre-Service is spent reviewing and discussing the Greater Chicago-Northwest Indiana education landscape. During the second week and third weeks, you will discuss the tenets of culturally responsive teaching, and the fundamentals of leading a classroom. Then, you will begin to teach summer school in-person at a local Chicago school alongside your fellow Corps Members and TFA alumni and staff. In addition to strengthening your teaching muscles, Pre-Service is also essential for community building. You attend sessions with your fellow corps members and teach at school sites with a fixed cohort, forming bonds that will allow you to share knowledge and resources as you begin work at your placement school.
Two-Year Corps Experience
All corps members are assigned to a Teacher Impact Coach. Coaches will support you in developing the foundations to be a high-quality teacher—instructional excellence, culturally responsive pedagogical practices, resilience and reflective practices, and more. Corps members also engage in collective learning experiences, such as our Learning Communities, where you will work to improve your craft with other corps members teaching your same discipline. You will also attend three Leadership Summits throughout the year. Leadership Summits are day-long professional development events that give you the opportunity to think about both the role you need to play in your classroom, and the broader role you will play long-term as we work towards educational equity.