Unless you have experience as a law enforcement professional, prosecutor's office employee or legal professional, odds that you lack the knowledge and experience needed to competently represent yourself in this matter. If you are planning a career as an educator, an honesty related conviction like shoplifting definitely will not help you, so you should seek professional legal help with these charges. Many lawyers offer discounted fees for lower income people. There is no way that I can assist you further online without seeing the charging documents, but you are welcome to contact my office to set up a free case review.
Please do not assume that I am your attorney because of my response here. Call my office in Racine (262-633-3090 or email email@example.com) for clarifications, but short of such additional arrangements, I will not be taking any action on your case. See me on the web at www.jayknixonlaw.com, or view over fifteen years of my past answers at http://www.lawguru.com/answers/search/attorney/jknixon, as well as past AVVO answers at http://www.avvo.com/attorneys/53401-wi-jay-nixon-1529181/answers.html?sort=recency. Answers may contain attorney advertising materials..
My answer here does mean that I am representing you, so be sure to consult your own attorney before deciding on what you should do, or contact my office at 262-633-3090, 333 Main St, Racine, WI 53403, during business hours if you desire formal representation. See me on the web at www.jayknixonlaw.com, or view over 15 years of my previous answers at http://www.lawguru.com/answers/atty_profile/view_attorney_profile/jknixonAttorney answers may contain advertising materials.
Each municipal court has its own practices. As has already been noted, you would be well-served to get yourself a lawyer, as if you are seeking an outcome that the particular court in question does not normally offer, you will have a better chance if you are represented by counsel. Otherwise, you will need to plead not guilty to get a chance to discuss your concerns with the prosecutor. As ordinance violations are not criminal, you can be called as a witness against yourself at trial, so be careful what you say to the prosecutor. Hiring a lawyer to handle this for you really is the best option. Compared to the cost of your education, the cost of hiring a lawyer is minimal. Good luck.
This answer is provided for general information only. No legal advice can be given without a consult as to the specifics of the case.