Troops to Teachers
I. MICHIGAN TROOPS TO TEACHERS
The Michigan Troops to Teachers program provide advisory services that assist eligible military personnel to transition to a new career as classroom teachers in K-12 public schools. The Troops to Teachers Program is available to:
Members on active duty who are within one year of their retirement date,
Members of the National Guard and Selective Reserves with ten or more years of creditable service,
Members transitioning from active duty with at least six years of active duty and who commit for three of service in the National Guard or Selective Reserves,
Separated due to physical disability after 8 January 2002. Must register within 4 years of separation.
Counseling assistance related to teacher certification requirements and limited job placement assistance is provided. Financial support is also offered to certain eligible participants.
The Troops to Teachers Programs are not certification programs nor employment agencies. Each state has authority over certification requirements and, usually, each district has authority over the selection and employment process. Therefore, each participant must complete the certification requirements for the state in which they desire to teach, and then apply for a teaching position as would any other teacher. Each state office provides information regarding certification requirements, teacher preparation programs leading to certification, and assistance in identifying teaching positions.
Participants must submit the registration form and supporting documentation. Register using the program online tool . The National Troops to Teachers Office may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, FAX (850) 452-1194 or mail: 6490 Saufley Field Road, Pensacola, Florida 32509.
Financial assistance, in the form of a stipend of up to $5000 to pay for certification requirements or a bonus of $10,000 if employed in a high needs school, is available to eligible veterans. Participants who accept financial assistance must teach for a minimum of three years, and this support is in addition to the benefits provided by the GI Bill and university veteran services programs.
II. CHANGING CAREERS
If you are considering making a career change into the teaching profession, know that teaching is not just another job and that teaching is not for everyone. At the same time, however, classroom teaching is one of the more rewarding careers, providing a great sense of accomplishment similar to that experienced while serving your nation in uniform. Teaching is a career in which you are able to make a difference in our society and the world.
Before investing considerable time, effort and precious resources a decision must be made; how strong of a commitment does it really take to actually make the transition to public education? This is critical, since obtaining certification, and then discovering a wrong career decision has been made is the perfect storm! Consider these strategies to see if the public classroom is a positive and potential career option:
- Meet with teachers and school principals to discuss a career as a classroom teacher.
- Get permission to "shadow" a teacher for a day.
- Obtain a substitute teaching permit so that you can teach in an actual, real classroom setting.
- Volunteer your time to assist in school events such as drama, athletics, Odyssey of the Mind or Science Olympiads.
If teaching stills seems like the career option of choice, refine the goals into a definite plan of action and approach with a passion.
Decide on a specific subject area or areas and at what level (high school, middle school, elementary school). This choice may be based upon a previous career, a personal interest, the family or perhaps just a life long interest in certain subjects. Although the initial focus should be on one academic content area, multiple areas of interest may have an advantage since it will allow for greater flexibility of assignment once the teaching career begins. The demand for teachers will vary by certification and geographic areas. However, there is currently a critical need for teachers in the following content areas:
Typically, opportunities for employment will increase if multiple certification is held (e.g., Mathematics and Spanish), however, cost and time must also be taken into consideration. Deciding what to teach should be made from the standpoint of a longer career, not forgetting that leadership skills may ultimately lead to promotions as a school administrator.
Most individuals pursuing a second career in teaching and planning to teach in Michigan may have already decided where to reside. This decision is usually based upon the location of family, job offers to another family member, previous duty stations, or owning a home in the area. The demand for teachers could vary significantly by certification area, and by geographic location. Areas of rapid growth will have a higher demand for teachers than areas with slower growth. As you plan your career transition, you must consider the geographic location and possibly plan for a longer transition period if you intend to settle in an area of slower growth, especially if you are interested in teaching a subject that is not in high demand.
Reciprocity is a mutual, cooperative agreement between States regarding the interchange and transfer of teacher certificates. The National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) is the lead agency with regard to the Interstate Contract, which is intended to assist teachers and other educators who find it necessary to move to another state. Currently 46 States, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico have signed the contract.
It is important to note that reciprocity between States is not automatic. It is possible that additional requirements such as more academic credit, state testing programs or student teaching may be necessary depending upon one's portfolio and teacher preparation program. Should you hold a current teaching license, and have questions about reciprocity, please contact our offices (see contact information below) to inquire about the appropriate procedures.
III. TEACHER CERTIFICATION:
Know that generally, there is no "short cut" to becoming a professional, licensed classroom teacher. Most if not all academic programs leading to teacher licensure will, at some point, include the requisites for an academic major, professional education classes, guided instruction (student teaching), State level tests, CPR certification and a criminal history check.
"Alternate routes to certification" (ARC) can prepare and recommend candidates for both Elementary and Secondary teacher certification. Candidates may qualify for the Interim Teaching Certificate in most content areas. Minimum requirements include a baccalaureate or advanced degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Michigan approved Alternate Route Providers are included in the searchable database of program providers.
Carefully consider the college or university in which to enroll, making sure that it is regionally accredited by The National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) or The Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) and is also approved by the State in which the certificate is issued. Contact the certification officer or academic counselor in the teacher preparation institution of your choice and inquire into what programs are available, based upon your credits and current academic transcripts. Some universities are more open and flexible than others when working with adult learners, and be certain to inquire about what benefits are specifically available for veterans.
GENERAL REQUIREMENTS FOR
The following is a broad description of key elements in a planned program leading to the issuance of a Michigan Standard (initial entry) certificate. There may be further requirements depending upon one's academic preparation.
- Baccalaureate Degree.
- Teachable academic major (minimum 30 credits). Mathematics, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Foreign Languages and Special Education are the preferred and recommended content areas based upon need for classroom teachers.
- 20 - 25 credits of Education classes such as Human Growth and Development, The Exceptional Child, Reading, Teaching Methods and Teaching Materials (minimum 20 credits).
- At least 12 weeks of Student Teaching (minimum 6 credits).
- Successfully completing the Michigan Tests for Teacher Certification (Professional Readiness Exam and the Single Subject Test).
- 1st Aid and CPR certification (both adult and child).
- Criminal history investigation.
A school district may hire a candidate by requesting an Annual Authorization that is annually renewable for up to 8 years. The candidate needs at least 4,000 hours of recent and relevant work experience (generally within 4 years), in the specific area in which he or she would teach (e.g., Drafting, CAD CAM, Welding, Automotive Technology, etc.). At the same time, the candidate is expected to enroll in the traditional teacher certification program described above. To teach in the JROTC program one needs only to be DOD certified, but is limited to teaching only within the JROTC classroom.
* Note: One may substitute teach if one has at least 90 college credits and receives a permit from the Local Education Authority or Intermediate School District in which he or she will teach. A limited criminal history check is required.
It is always wise to establish a robust network of credible contacts with local community leaders and organizations, local school districts, regional educational centers (RESA), teacher preparation institutions, professional education organizations serving teachers, principals and school administrators, State and Federal level education organizations and State and Federal level veterans' organizations. Networking is one of the finest strategies to stay connected with important decision makers in the education community. And, employment opportunities as a classroom teacher will frequently depend upon someone you personally know and someone that knows you personally. The people connection!
- An excellent transition technique that many successful Troops to Teachers participants have chosen to use is that of becoming a substitute teacher. Principals will frequently cultivate their most dependable, hard working and educationally effective substitute teachers so that some day they might be hired when a vacancy exists. A dependable substitute teacher is "worth his or her weight in gold" and can become an important part of the professional school staff through diligence and leadership. Again, one effective start to getting a teaching job is having a reputation within a school district as a top notch professional, and substitute teaching can achieve that goal.
- Be flexible and mobile in a quest for a teaching position. The preferred geographic area may not have any vacancies available at the time of application. Travel may be required.
- Know how and where to access information about current teaching vacancies. There is no "one stop shopping" for jobs, and a combination of electronic sources should be explored when seeking employment. Many districts begin the hiring process in March or as soon as possible in order to have the best candidate field of choice. Last minute developments may also occur so that hiring may continue at the beginning of the school year.
- Consider assignments in school districts that have a higher population of at-risk students, since these are frequently the schools that true leadership, role models and youth mentors.
- Thoroughly prepare for interviews. Develop a professional resume; acquire a deep and comprehensive understanding of the school district and community history. Be conversant about current issues that affect education in that particular community. Becoming a quality candidate requires significant time and effort, with lots of attention to detail.
- Work as a team member with the Troops to Teachers State office manager. Together a mutually supporting and strong partnership can be formed. The Proud to Serve Again website has significant information relating to resume building, interviews and job searches.
For additional information concerning the Troops to Teachers program, you may contact:
Edwardeen M. Jones
Michigan Program Manager
Office: (517) 241-7045