School districts across the country are increasingly finding out what corporate America has known for a long time: that military veterans make great hires. Veterans, for their part, are discovering that becoming a teacher is a great reentry into the civilian workforce and a way to proudly continue serving their nation.
Texas Is Looking For Veterans
Nowhere is this "Veterans to Teachers" trend more prevalent than in Texas which saw registrations for the Department of Defense's"Troops to Teachers"programjump in FY2016 from 12 to 680 armed forces members looking to make the transition into education.
Texas is looking for a more than a few good men -- and women! -- to meet the needs of its rapidly growing educational system and it appears that putting veterans in Lonestar State classrooms is a win-win situation than makes good sense all around.
The education field serves as a great second career that allows military veterans to utilize their real-world experience and leadership training to contribute to the well-being of their community; and school districts have found employing veterans, not only fills much needed teaching vacancies, but adds more men and minorities to the education field.
“School systems are finding former military members to be very valuable assets. They bring leadership skills, a concern for their students (similar to their troops) and a lot of experience to the classroom,"said John Gantz, director of the Troops to Teachers program, in a 2016 interview for thebalance.com.
Troops To Teachers Program
Robert Henry, who coordinates the Troops to Teachers program for the District of Columbia and Maryland, in an article for military.com, showsthe numbers supportthe benefit of hiring veterans as teachers:
More than 80 percent of those in the Troops to Teachers program are men, compared to just 25 percent fo traditional teachers
90 percent of principals report that Troops to Teachers program teachers are more effective than traditional teachers, especially in classroom management and student discipline
89 percent of principals said that Troops to Teachers program participants made a greater impact on student achievement compared with traditional teachers with similar teaching experience.
The Troops to Teachers program is eligible to any current, separated and retired member of the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy, Reserve and National Guard. Military members in their final year before retirement can even take advantage of the program while still on active duty and start their alternative certification to become a teacher. You can learn how to determine which is the best alternative teaching certification program in Texas for you.
Even military personnel without college degrees, can still get a quick path to the classroom, if they have experience in the health, science, technology, trade and industrial areas that may make them eligible to use their military background to meet licensing requirements. It turns out that life experience can truly pay off.
The Teacher to Troops program offers veterans counseling to help with the navigation of the state certification process. The program also offers help with finding employment by connecting participants with school districts. Once hired, Teacher to Troops veterans can make use of mentors.
Best of all, the Troops to Teachers program offers financial incentives to members of the armed forces. including a stipend of up to $5,000 to help with the transition to the classroom. This stipend can help cover the cost of alternative certification programs. There are also bonuses of up to $10,000 for those willing to make a commitment to serve in high-need school districts or schools. In FY2016 the Troops to Teachers program awarded more than $2.5 million in stipends and bonuses.
TEA Waives Some Fees
Texas has a lion's share of veterans moving into the teaching ranks via Troops to Teachers thanks to the 1,680,000 veterans in the state and their access to 96 military facilities. Those veterans that retired within three years can take advantage of the program. Active duty personnel that have not reached their 10-year retirement anniversary can take advantage for Troops to Teachers after four years of duty if they also agree to serve in the reserves for three years.
It's not just the federal government that provides incentives for veterans to move into teaching but the Texas Education Agency also waives certain fees for military service members, veterans and military spouses. For service members and veterans, application fees waived include:
Review of Credentials
Educational aide, intern, probationary, one-year and standard certificates
Veterans have a great skill set acquired from their military duty, but often have trouble finding the right fit when returning to civilian life ,which accounts for veteran unemployment rates almost twice as high as non-veterans, according to the USA Today.
For those veterans looking to hit the ground running in their second careers and want a challenging and rewarding way to keep on serving, teaching is the right choice.
Micah is the Director of Curriculum & Technology. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in British Literature, from the University of North Texas and a Master of Arts in Teaching, from Louisiana College. In his previous career, Micah served for 14 years as a banker and bank manager. For the majority of this period, Micah managed the Downtown Fort Worth location of Frost Bank.
In 2005, Micah finally surrendered to his true calling to be an educator. After a brief, but fulfilling term teaching high school English at Flower Mound High School in Lewisville ISD, Micah went to work for the family business, training teachers.
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