Troops to teachers brings veterans into classrooms
Of the leading battalions in the teaching in the classroom, a program that is aimed at helping soldiers succeed in civilian life as teachers.
PHOENIX – Frank Contreras, a 12-year Army veteran who retired as a sergeant, ran a team of five troops, who worked in the department of communication. But recently he has decided on a career said, he is just as heroic and that he believes will have a lasting impact: education.
“The future of our nation rests in the education of our children,” Contreras said. “So, this is actually the battlefield of today…this is my service.”
Contreras is a part of a program that aims to bring veterans into the classroom – teachers.
The Ministry of Defense recently gave a $735,513 grant to the Arizona Department of Education for the Troops to Teachers program. The grant will provide the ministry of education, a dedicated staff position and overhead for the program for the next five years.
“The future of our nation rests in the education of our children. So, this is basically the battlefield of today…this is my service.”
– Frank Contreras, Army veteran and high school teacher
Diane Douglas, Arizona’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, said this gives them an opportunity to military personnel to transition “from a very proud of his career to another very proud of his career.”
“I couldn’t be happier with it,” Douglas said. “I think the opportunities…the leadership that these people, our former military will bring when they go into the classroom and help our students…they will help them, I think, see the bigger picture—what does it mean to serve your country, what does it meant to be so proud.”
Troops of the Teachers already has more than 21,000 veteran teachers in the classroom, because it was started in 1993, according to the Ministry of Defence.
“I try to push everything that was instilled in the army to my students, so it will help them not only in the classroom but later in life,” said Frank Contreras, a 12-year Army veteran.
Contreras was on a completely different career, but saw one of his Troops to Teachers presentation, while those in the National Guard that changed the course of his career.
“I never thought that I would have been more of a teacher,” Contreras said. “I started my first course, computer science, wanted to work in computers, worked at Wells Fargo for eight years. At that time, during my service in the National Guard, I was on the border of the mission in 2006. That is when I started to work with the students at an elementary school and it just kind of touched me. It made me realize that I am here serving the country, but there are other ways that I can serve the country, and serving the community.”
From the battlefield to the classroom, the Troops to Teachers has placed 21,000+ veterans in education, jobs, according to the Ministry of Defence.
I talk with a 12-year-old U.S. Army veteran who still do not even have to think about this as a profession to the program.
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— Charlie Lapastora (@charlielap), June 14, 2018
Troops to Teachers helped Contreras gets a job as a teacher due to his military background for his teaching certification.
Contreras said the military and veterans can bring, the good manners they learned in the military to the classroom, including teaching selfless service and respect, along with the bring of discipline and motivation.
The U.S. Department of Education reports that during the 2017-18 school year, most states were still struggling with hiring qualified teachers in multiple fields—a majority of states, the shortage of teaches in multiple subjects.
“You can question of one of my former students and they say that my Number 1 rule is respect in my classroom, because it covers everything,” Contreras said. “Selfless service, we are always talking about community service and doing things for the community, not just ourselves. So, I try to push everything that was instilled in the army to my students, so it will help them not only in the classroom but later in life.”
Arizona officials hope the program also helps address a teacher shortage in the state and across the country.
The U.S. Department of Education reports that during the 2017-18 school year, most states were still struggling with hiring qualified teachers in multiple fields. A majority of states, the shortage of teaches in multiple subjects, including mathematics (47 states and the District of Columbia), special education (46 states and D. C.), science (43 states), and vocational and technical education (32 countries).
The Learning of the Policies of the Institute was the teacher education enrollment has decreased from 691,000 to 451,000, a 35% decrease between 2009 and 2014. Douglas says Arizona is losing about 40 percent of new teachers within the first three years.
Senator John McCain’s statement in 2009 on the Troops to Teachers program
“Not only will Troops to Teachers) to help us qualified teachers in the classroom, but we also have teachers who are very well trained and able to help us with some school problems, but also to ensure that our schools are safe,” Douglas said.
Of Sgt. Contreras to Mr. Contreras, he is in a field that he never thought that he would be more than a decade ago and has even determined that one of his former students who was having a rough home life. Contreras has also invested his money in a sports medicine program, and now takes his architecture students on field trips to Habitat for Humanity.
“I have hundreds of students who tell me all the time, via Facebook or other social media routes, which in the past students who say, ‘Hey, you affected my life, I wouldn’t be here without you,'” Contreras said. “None of those students would be where they are if I am not a teacher.”
Charlie Lapastora is a multimedia reporter based in Phoenix, Ariz.