The Center conducted a pilot project in Baltimore County Schools during the 2009-10 academic year. Seven prospective career changers viewed three high schools: Lansdowne High School, New Town High School, and Towson High School.
During those visits, career changers had the opportunity to speak to the principals and observe classes in the areas in which they were certfied and/or interested in teaching. We observed classes in business, English, environmental science, mathematics, special education, and technology education. The principals also set up conference time with career changer teachers in their schools and the prosepctive career changers had the opportunity to discuss different pathways to teaching as well as some tips on first-year teaching.
In November, the director held a day of workshops where prospective career changers learned about school policies and procedures, teaching to diverse populations of students, classroom management techniques, and curriculum and assessment issues. It was a time to introduce the prospective career changers to the culture and langauge of teaching so that when they went into the classroom and faculty room with mentor teachers, they would have some background of knowledge.
Finally, two placements were made, one in special education at New Town High School and one in environmental science at Towson High School. These are some comments by the career changers and the mentor teachers:
Teacher in special education:
(This experience presented a wonderful opportunity for) “sharing my profession with someone. It was really enjoyable to show someone else what I do, and to have to clarify why I enjoy doing it. It was one big meta-cognition exercise that gave me a bit of a boost at the end of the school year.”