Updated Post: Today is Veterans Day and TeacherCents wants to say thank you to all who served and currently serve in the Armed Forces. For those who paid the ultimate sacrifice and will never return home to their loved ones, we offer up a prayer of comfort to those they left behind and we bow our heads in gratitude for their sacrifice. To the living warriors who have returned from battle, we need to do more than say thank you.
There are many unfortunate and staggering statistics that show we are doing far too little as a nation for Veterans and their families and this is not acceptable. Homelessness, substance abuse, and suicide are major issues impacting Veterans. We do not have time in this post to address all the contributing factors that lead to the above mentioned issues and there possible solutions, but we can focus on one of them.
Many Veterans have a difficult time transitioning to civilian life when their military service is over. One of the major hurdles to a successful transition is finding meaningful employment. Meanwhile, there is a crisis facing many public schools nationwide, as they struggle to both retain and recruit teachers. It would appear that there is a clear solution to address both issues and that is to train Veterans to become teachers.
I thought this was my own great idea until I did a Google search and happily discovered there are programs already in place to complete this mission. Before I share some details about these great programs, let’s think for a moment about why training Veterans to become teachers makes great sense.
First off, if you are my age you likely had one or two teachers growing up who were Veterans. I had 3 that I can think of and they were all exceptional individuals that still influence my life, years after I was their student. They were always prepared, alert, disciplined, and set high standards for their students. They were not all drill sergeants, in fact only one of them was really strict, but they were all fully committed to achieving their goals. More than that, they were authentic individuals with integrity, sincerity, and gravitas.
Think about all the rigorous training Veterans had to undergo to become soldiers in their respective branch of service. The physical and emotional training alone makes them ideal role models for young people. Add to that all the specific real world skills many soldiers acquire in technology, medicine, engineering, communication, team work, and the case for Veteran teachers becomes very compelling. Let’s also consider a soldiers ability to handle stress and to perform under adverse conditions. This is significant considering so many new teachers leave the classroom because of the high pressure and stress. With this information in mind, the case for veteran teachers becomes even more solid.
One of the contributing factors leading to this high pressure and stressful environment in the classroom is disrespectful and disruptive behavior of students, which makes classroom management and actual teaching a nightmare. A new teacher, without first hand classroom experience and management skills, can easily crack under the constant pressure of undisciplined and unruly students. Students cannot learn and teachers cannot teach without having a healthy and safe classroom environment. Veterans know how to develop discipline in others and how to create a functioning team because their wellbeing depended on those factors. Are you convinced yet that Veterans might make fine teachers?
Furthermore, Veterans know the importance of being goal oriented and the necessity of achieving those objectives. Doesn’t this sound like an ideal skill set for a classroom teacher? Veterans know how to create a functioning team, how to set to set goals and achieve them, and they know the importance of accountability. Sounds like good qualities for a teacher? I agree! If you know a Veteran or are one yourself and think teaching might be a possible path for you, please check out the following two programs and read about a Veteran who is taking part in one of them:
- Troops To Teachers-Proud To Serve Again
- Teach For America-Veterans Initiative
- Elias Varon-Troops To Teachers
Thank you for reading and for sharing and most importantly thank you to all the brave men and women and their families who served this country.
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