Veteran teachers

Veterans are proving themselves in the classroom, notes an AP story in the Boston Globe.

BOISE, Idaho — Within a year, Luke Miller went from raiding insurgent strongholds in Iraq’s volatile Anbar province to preparing math final exams for seventh- and eighth-graders at West Junior High School.

During a pre-algebra class before school broke for the summer, Miller drew on his Iraqexperiences to demonstrate the calculation for rate-of-speed, using the example of a soldier lost in the desert who must accelerate his pace to reunite with his platoon.

Some veterans take advantage of Troops to Teachers, which helps them become certified as teachers and provides a $5,000 stipend, plus another $10,000 for those who teach in high-need areas.

The program has produced 9,000 teachers nationally. More than 75 percent are still teaching — a rate that far outpaces traditional teacher retention of less than 50 percent, according to a 2002 University of Pennsylvania study cited by the group.

While men and minorities are underrepresented in the national applicant pool of teachers — only 18 percent male, and 15 percent minority — military teachers placed by Troops to Teachers are overwhelmingly men; about 37 percent are minorities.

Veterans bring maturity and “effective discipline techniques,” school officials say.

Of course, some military veterans find today’s schools maddeningly undisciplined. I know from e-mails I’ve received.

Darren at Right on the Left Coast, a high school math teacher, is a vet. I’m not sure about other teacher-bloggers.

Via This Week in Education.

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Comments

  1. Thanks for the plug! In the interests of full disclosure, though, I’ll state that I’m *not* a combat vet. I served my time in New York and Colorado back in the halcyon days of Reagan and Bush 41.

  2. Oh, and I wouldn’t have made it through my first year of teaching (on an emergency credential) without my military experience. In military training there was always a task, conditions, and standard. Sounds a lot like a Madeline Hunter objective statement, no?

  3. Thanks for this post. I wasn’t aware of Troops to Teachers. I can think of so many positive attributes that a veteran can bring to a classroom. One attribute might be recognizing the importance of thinking in a disciplined way. Soldiers are taught to follow orders and recognize that they must rely on others to succeed. However, every veteran recognizes the importance of thinking on their feet. So to in an effective classroom students must collaborate with one another and think in a structured way, however they must not forget to bring their own thoughts to the issues.

    Andy Pass

  4. Some say that the decline in our public schools began with the retirement exodus in the early to mid seventies of World War II vets who became teachers and administrators in the mid to late forties.

  5. Wayne Martin says:

    > Some say that the decline in our public schools
    > began with the retirement exodus in the early to
    > mid seventies of World War II vets who became
    > teachers and administrators in the mid to late
    > forties.

    My high school had some WWII naval officers as teachers. Can’t remember any of them being particularly good teachers, or disciplinarians. More likely the decline in the schools starting in that time frame can be related to the teachers who started in the 1930s. No jobs for college grads, other than teaching, so many of the top grads took to the nation’s schools. My most memorable (effective) high school teachers were from this group.

  6. Richard Aubrey says:

    Perhaps a leavening, among the others who’ve been nowhere but the classroom since pre-K. Seen more, experienced more, thought more.

  7. Indigo Warrior says:

    More likely the decline in the schools starting in that time frame can be related to the teachers who started in the 1930s. No jobs for college grads, other than teaching, so many of the top grads took to the nation’s schools. My most memorable (effective) high school teachers were from this group.

    I tend to agree. The economic situation forced people with real talent into teaching; the opposite of now. Technical talent, not “educational philosophy” or “educational psychology”, is missing the most from modern teachers.

    I would rather see former scientists and engineers teaching than military veterans – and either more than the current crop of educator’s teachers entrusted to our children.

  8. Mike, a diag in Texas says:

    What most people don’t understand that a good portion of military time is spent teaching.

    When I applied to the Texas Alternative Certification Program, I was asked why I thought that I could teach. I told the admissions people that at the age of 19 I gave my first class to over 300 soldiers, for 5 days. My lessons were reviewed by people with Master’s and higher degrees and I had to meet pre-test, post-test, task, condition and standards.

    My classes were evaluated by soldiers, sergeants and officers. My experience is not atypical. It is very common. That’s why veterans can be a good source of teachers.