By Airman 1st Class Rose Gudex
21st Space Wing Public Affairs Office
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — As a member of the armed forces, Airmen eventually need to come to terms with the fact that their contracts end and they have to move onto something else — another career possibly.
But what could be equally as satisfying as serving in the U.S. Air Force and defending everything that being American stands for? Troops to Teachers, which provides assistance to service members interested in becoming educators, can be equally satisfying and allow one to give back.
TTT is a program established in 1994 by the Department of Defense and managed by the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support. Its purpose is to assist military personnel transition into careers as teachers in K-12 schools.
Those eligible include all current and former service members whose last period of service is characterized as honorable.
“Bottom line, if they served honorably, they can receive our services,” Sherman Fuller, Mountain Pacific Region Troops to Teachers lead recruiter, said. Fuller retired as a command sergeant major with the U.S. Army before seeking TTT resources to become a teacher and eventually administrator himself.
“Troops to Teachers is a program that allows you to pursue another career where you can continue to give back,” he said.
Counselors are provided to those interested and service members are assisted with finding the proper route available to them to become a teacher. Fuller said the route isn’t necessarily the same for everyone.
“Depending on the state you want to teach in, they have different requirements,” Fuller explained. “There are a few options for the program. You can do an undergraduate program or the graduate route, or you can do the license only if you already have your bachelor’s.”
Many services are offered so service members aren’t alone in the process of finding requirements and figuring out how to get to the end result of becoming a teacher.
“(We) work with the HR departments, get a list of all the jobs, help them with preparing their resume, interviewing skill techniques and leading to getting a job,” Fuller stated.
Unfortunately a few myths are associated with the program, John Scheuer, Mountain Pacific Region Troops to Teachers license and certification advisor, said. The myths sometimes deter people from TTT — the most common one being that service members who use TTT have to teach in low-income schools and teach for at least three years.
“Where you teach is up to you,” Schuerer said. “It’s only when you take the (stipend offered) that limits are placed on your teaching as to where and for how long you’re there.”
Before even getting to teaching, it is often assumed that a degree in education is required and that it takes years to earn a license. Fuller said both of these are incorrect.
“(The degree) could be in basket weaving,” he said with a laugh. “Most positions require a bachelor’s, but there are alternative programs available as well.”
After serving in the military, the world experiences help make service members become educators on a whole different level, Fuller said.
“The people you expose yourself to, your job, places that you’ve traveled,” he said. “That can be included into the delivery of the curriculum. You’ll be so powerful in the classroom.”
For some service members, serving others doesn’t end when their contract ends. From the frontlines of war to the front of a classroom, the thrill of helping others and effecting positive change in the world around them continues after a little guidance to become educators.
For more information about Troops to Teachers, go to http://www.proudtoserveagain.com/ or http://troopstoteachers.net/