You are a teacher. You are a military spouse. You like helping kids learn and you like moving your career forward. But mostly you like having a job – mostly you just like getting paid.
But getting a rewarding job as a teacher military spouse isn’t always the easiest thing to start and keep doing. First you have that whole licensing issue. Then you have the low pay problem. Teachers aren’t exactly rolling in cash, and like most American college graduates your age, you have student loans to pay off.
Enter Teach for America’s military spouse and veteran recruitment program.
Started in 1990, Teach for America places great teachers (like you, obviously) in challenged schools across the country. The teachers they place become employees of that school district. But when they finish their two year commitment to the program, they get something those regular district employees don’t – a $10,000 pay out to cover student loans or continuing education costs.
Teach for America is interested in military spouses and veteran program applications because of the fantastic qualities we have. To do well in the Teach for America program, which can be challenging because of the types of classrooms into which you may be placed, you have to have a commitment to something more than cold, hard cash: a desire to serve.
Veterans and military spouses have that in spades, said Eryn Mounticure, an Army spouse and director of Teach for America’s Military Veteran Initiative, which recruits spouses and veterans.
“When we admitted these folks in the program the first thing we saw was that they had a desire to serve,” she said. “And they had that passion and desire to do something bigger than themselves.”
Right now Teach for America has 118 spouses and veterans serving in the program across the U.S. and 32 spouses getting ready to start teaching through the program over the 2015-2016 school year.
While the application process is designed to place teachers where the greatest need exists, you are able to indicate during the process that you are not able to relocate to join the program as well as why. More than nine times out of 10, Mounticure said, spouse applicants are able to be placed near their base if they are located in one of the 50 urban areas Teach for America services.
And if you have to relocate thanks to the military before the end of your two year commitment? You won’t be penalized, Mounticure said, although you will forfeit the finishing bonus.
Working with Teach for America can also open doors for career growth after your commitment is done, Mounticure said. In addition to the professional development and coaching the program offers, the program has partnerships with higher education programs at schools such as Columbia University that often given preference to Teach for America applicants.
“I think it is something that you can do if you love teaching and you want to be a teacher,” said Mounticure. “I think it is a great program that has an extremely huge network with other programs that can open up other opportunities.”