Monday, March 31, 2014

An open letter to my cousin's son.

Your grandmother was an admirer of mine because I generally took the road less traveled. She also defended me and when I was about your age or maybe a little older she kept a bottle of good scotch handy for my visits. It was Johnny Walker Black Label.

So you are looking at acceptences to various schools now and have your sights set on being a history teacher. Good deal. We need good history teachers.

It's going to be an expensive road to hoe and see you're looking at minimizing debt.

Want a chunk if not all of it taken care of? Look at officer's candidate school. 

Don't say you're not that kind of person. The valedictorian of a local high school recently left a pile of scholarships on the table and opted for the Marine Corps. As an enlisted man.

You want to teach history, according to your mother. That's a good, steady honest career. I can look back on my teachers and think about the ones that were worth sour apples and the teachers that were a pain in the ass.

The thing most of the good ones had in common is that they had done something besides teach. Incidentally (put this in the For What It's Worth department) One of my favorite teachers was a black man that barely finished high school. He was a Staff sergeant and was my drill sergeant. That man could TEACH!

The worst of my teachers had simply graduated from high school, spent 4 years at Bridgewater State Teacher's College and showed up at Marshfield High the year after graduation.

Most of my favorites had brought some form of military or civilian experience along with them and in the classroom it showed. One of my favorites had spent a couple years in (then) Ceylon with the Peace Corps. Neat guy.

Walshes would likely make pretty lousy Marines but the army and navy have a whole slew of programs geared to people like you. ROTC in college and a four year hitch would put you in the fast track lane.

My neighbor is almost 40 now and graduated with a degree in enviornmental science and pulled four or five years in the army. He got plucked out of a bunch of contenders simply because of his experiences.

Companies like former military officers and senior NCOs because they don't have to teach them things. They already know them. 
In a way it's the same for teachers. Schools are dying for people that have more than a lousy piece of sheepskin. They want people to bring experiences into the classroom.

Most of the men that taught me were part of the WW2 generation and most of them had served in WW2. One of them used to tell us that he came from a family that had no money and that the GI bill had enabled him to become a teacher.

The guys with service backgrounds had all sorts of varying experiences, ranging from grunt to weather observer and had traveled, some extensively.

Incidentally one thing virtually all service people over the rank of corporal are is teachers. They teach the people below them in some pretty improvised classrooms. I have to this day a few skills I learned downrange in dirty weather under my belt.

Being a soldier or a sailor isn't all you think it is. Only about 10% of US servicemen handle or used weapons directly. There are a lot of jobs that involve different things that are not weapons related at all. 
For example, most people do not know that the army Corps of Engineers is charged with the upkeep of all of out western rivers.

All of the services also have museums, too.

You are going to have to face the day when you enter the classroom for the first time to teach. You can enter it as a 22 year old kid fresh out of school and be as nervous as a whore in church relying on the theory you learned in school.

Your other choice is to walk into the classroom as a 26 year old man. You'll be able to confidently look up and down the rows of desks and just know which kids are going to be problems. You won't be relying on classroom theory because you will have 4 years of practical knowledge under your belt.

Another thing is debt. I believe the services forgive either all or most student debt upon commissioning. That goes a long way. 

Having a degree and no debt at 22 years old is a pretty good deal in this day and age.

My advice to you is to investigate some of the programs the services have to offer and see what kind of deal you can cut.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

1 comment:

  1. I have a friends who has a history degree and is a history teacher - at the Airforce Academy. So, it's not impossible.