Thursday, January 10, 2008


I retired last year after 26 years in the military and it's time to grow up and start my second career. I'm hoping to be a high school teacher when this is all done. By "this" I mean all of the schooling, refocusing and growing up that I have left until the last minute.


boba said...

Fly, fight, win!
Former USAF myself, did 10 years (78-88) then went into private sector high technology.
I'm also looking at a second/third career. You weren't specific as to what discipline you are pursuing in the school towards public education but as someone who washed out of Oakland Teaching Fellows this past summer my words of unsolicited advice are to pursue courses that aid you in classroom management. I passed the California tests (CBEST, CSET 118,119,120) and so was prepared for General Science or Biology. (Despite my background in applied engineering and Art History, OTF wanted me to teach biology.) Nonetheless, knowledge of the material is nothing, knowing how to control those feral heathens is everything ;^)
Ciao, and best of luck!
P.S. stumbled upon your post at Ed Brayton's Dispatches, that's how I got here.

Pigasus said...

You raise a good point about classroom management. I've observed two extremely experienced teachers that allowed a student to get to them. I was an NCO for 23 of my 26 years and I'd really taken classroom management for granted. With as much small unit leadership experience as I have, in and out of combat zones, I really thought I had classroom control covered. Now, I'm pretty sure that was a conceit.

I am a huge fan of Ed's blog. It's one of the very few where I'll post in the comments section because Ed has such a great community around him.


boba said...

I too was an NCO who believed that experience, coupled with my professional career in high technology and subsequent academic record was sufficient preparation. Hey, if I could convince the CEO of a company to listen to a lowly QA manager (executives loath to delay product launches, $ is all that they hear) if I could educate artists the value of Art History and writing, I could get through to high school kids. How much different is a 18/19 y/o freshman and sophomore from their 17 y/o counterpart? For that matter, I dealt with those very same 19/20 y/o's and taught them to maintain complex communications equipment (I was on the cutting edge, working with Arpanet and Milnet technology) Well, the difference is I had an audience that was self-selected and motivated. I had tools and mechanisms available to me to enforce discipline.
In Oakland, I had none of these conditions. The kids were there because they were required to be there. My hands were tied, if they failed the onus was on me. Remember the management adage that 90% of your time is spent on 10% on the staff? Imagine a room were that 10% balloons to 50%. It's that tough. Mind you, if you are fortunate and able to get a school district where you have the proper assets and population (e.g., a charter or magnet schools) then you have some of the tools you are accustomed to wielding. However, to get those jobs, you are competing against teachers that are abandoning those conditions I was subjected.
Finally, I'm a bachelor w/o children. That played a significant part in my failure, unfamiliarity with the adolescent experience.

Pigasus said...

I think what I need to do (but don't have time for atm) is some substitute teaching. Get some exposure in the real world.