Dang. That sucked.
As it turned out, I needed the Regional Office to recognize me as legit before I could apply for my certificate with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), but in order to do that, the Regional Office needed proof of my name. Yes, my name. Since I began the certification program with my maiden name, that was all they had on file. In fact, my maiden name was associated with nearly every bit of paperwork, every state-mandated test, and every transcript, which made it VERY difficult to get a teaching certificate in my married name. "Why not get the certificate in your maiden name? What's the problem?" The problem is that the Social Security Office and every government document I have is in my married name (now).
Okay, okay, I'll fill out the paperwork and jump through the hoops, ISBE.
Wait, now you need my transcripts? I thought you got those already. Oh, you didn't? Hang on while I track down the nameless, faceless entity at my school who holds all the transcripts. I'll get those right over to you.
Got 'em? And copies of my marriage certificate, driver's license, social security card, passport, 8th grade diary, Facebook-LinkedIn-Twitter profile? Got it all? Anything else?
"No, we don't need anything else now, except your patience while we process your paperwork. It could take up to six weeks."
"SIX WEEKS??? What should I do in the meantime? I can't apply for jobs, can I?"
"No, you can't apply for jobs, because claiming that you are certified while we twiddle our thumbs is illegal. You should just wait."
I got the green light on my certificate. I checked in to the ISBE website everyday, hoping to see the "pending" change to "certified." When it happened, it was as unceremonious as receiving my order at a Burger King. I thought there would be some magical moment when I would feel as if I had "arrived," but I ended up sliding and skidding about, willy-nilly.