Why are you serving in uniform? Think back to the day that you signed on the dotted line and left home to serve your country.
Some of us did it to start a career and get an education. Maybe you were following in your mom or dad’s footsteps or you always wanted to serve for as long as you can remember. I joined because I wanted to travel and needed a job to pay for it. Lucky me! I found both in the Air Force. We all have reasons for serving… and I believe that many of you actually joined to make a difference.
And you are. Each and every day, you make a difference in the lives of those who serve beside you. You also make a difference in the lives of your family members, your neighbors and your community. So, here’s the big question… what are you going to do when your service comes to an end?
You have many options, but here’s a suggestion that can give you a real sense of accomplishment, something that will change lives and will actually get under your skin. It’s called Troops to Teachers, where you can continue to serve and make a difference in the classroom and in the hearts and minds of America’s next generation.
Transitioning from the military to civilian life is not a topic to start thinking about six months or even a year before retirement or separation. You should be planning for your future now. Troops to Teachers is a Department of Defense program designed to help service members transition successfully. The mission of the program is to help put you in the classroom as a teacher by providing counseling services, employment facilitation services and financial assistance, if you are eligible. The program website is located at www.proudtoserveagain.com and you can apply anytime. There is no commitment or cost to participate in the program and you decide where you want to teach. It’s best to apply sooner rather than later, but definitely before leaving the military.
Why teach? Why you? You’re a natural fit for the classroom.
Your strong leadership skills, discipline and adaptability in all types of situations prepare you to meet the demands of different learning environments. I served with a former Army Captain who currently teaches high school English, video production and cross-country track. She used her leadership skills, her former career field training and years of physical training to help secure a teaching job. Best of all, she says that she loves teaching! When talking about her students, she even tears up a little. Thanks to Troops to Teachers, she received help finding employment and also received a monetary bonus for teaching in a high-need school.
Teachers are needed in several areas from special education to career and technical education. The Department of Labor has determined several teaching occupations to be “Bright Outlook Occupations” too. This means employment as a teacher from now until 2024 is expected to grow faster than average or is projected to have 100,000 or more new job opportunities. Time goes by quickly. Before you know it, you are going to be looking for a job. Your transition to the civilian workforce is inevitable and it will be challenging.
You chose to serve once. You signed on the dotted line and made a commitment that you honor and hold true to every day. Consider a future career serving, mentoring and molding young lives in the classroom when the time comes. Start planning. Apply today. It’s a win-win for you, the community that you decide to settle in, and our next generation.
Written by: Erin Roberts, DANTES Public Affairs ~ She is a retired Air Force Master Sergeant (E-7) who served 21 years as a broadcast journalist, technical training instructor and public affairs specialist. She continues to travel when opportunity allows and still enjoys talking to people and taking video and photos.