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Are You a Career Changer?

Change your career path to become a NYC Teaching Fellow.

Teresa Curley worked as a television producer for ten years but had always wanted to teach special education. Jeffrey Perl argued dozens of cases as an attorney but ultimately felt unfulfilled. Teresa now teaches at a District 75 school; Jeffrey teaches at an elementary school in the Bronx. Among New York City Teaching Fellows, there are countless stories like these.

Approximately 60% of the more than 8,000 Fellows currently teaching in New York City public schools have transitioned from other careers. Fellows come from diverse professional backgrounds. Accountants, nurses, salespeople, police officers, secretaries, artists, social workers, doctors, journalists, and many others have entered the classroom through the NYC Teaching Fellows program.

This is your chance to join a growing group of motivated and energetic professionals who are answering the call to teach in traditionally underserved communities.

Whatever your motivations for changing career paths may be, the decision can be a challenging one and the questions surrounding your next steps may seem endless. Read on for information that might be helpful.

You will use your life experiences to your advantage.

Many career changers enter the classroom fearing that their lack of experience as teachers will make it impossible for them to manage a class, much less reach their students. You may think, “What do I know about teaching or about kids these days?” Our experience has been that you most likely know more than you realize.

The best teachers are those who use their diverse experiences, knowledge, and achievements to positively affect the lives of students. There is no equation or formula for what makes a good teacher. Even though you may not have a background in education, you have many unique and applicable skills to bring to the classroom!

Whether your skills are in focused in corporate management, the performing arts, data computations, or raising a family, you can use your skills to make a noticeable impact.

You will be teaching where you are needed the most.

You will not be teaching in private or prep schools, but you will be teaching where there is the greatest opportunity to impact student achievement. In the traditionally underserved communities of New York City, Fellows have the chance to become integrally connected to the students, their families, and their futures. We hear time and again from Fellows that while teaching is the most challenging job that they have ever had, it is also the most gratifying.

“The rewards are endless,” Jeffrey tells of his teaching experiences through the Fellowship.. “The students will always help you feel young and there’s no better feeling in the world than helping those who need help.”

Many of the schools that are in the greatest need of talented individuals are not without their share of problems, but we believe that all schools can and should succeed if they are staffed by the best educators and leaders. We are looking for applicants who are up to challenge of becoming the best.

“In ten years of television and after meeting countless celebrities and politicians, nothing can ever compare to the joy and the rewarding feeling of satisfaction you get from teaching,” Teresa said. “Nothing in life is as humbling, so remember that and believe in yourself every step of the way.”

Teaching might not be as much of a “salary drop” after all.

For many individuals considering their next career as a teacher, the biggest worry is about money. This year, NYC Teaching Fellows will receive a starting salary of approximately $42,500 plus ample benefits once they begin working as full time teachers. During training Fellows receive a non-taxable stipend to assist with living costs before they start teaching. Add to that a subsidized Master’s degree and the knowledge that becoming a Teaching Fellow can be the most fulfilling experience of your life, and the “salary drop” may seem less challenging.

Additionally, Fellows will see their salary increase each year that they teach, and with the completion of a Master’s Degree a Fellow’s salary takes a significant jump.

Nevertheless, it is important for you to plan ahead financially and think realistically about whether it would be possible to support yourself and your family throughout the Fellowship and then as a teacher.

“Arrange your finances carefully,” advises Katherine Callan, a third-year Fellow and career changer. “I made more in publishing, and while it is possible to live on a teacher’s salary, it takes planning and often thinking creatively about how to earn extra money.”

Fellows are actively involved in determining where they will teach.

The New York City public school system is the nation’s largest with 1.1 million students and approximately 1,450 schools located throughout the five boroughs. Our students are also the most culturally diverse in the world. Every school is different than the next and as unique as one New Yorker from another.

The NYC Teaching Fellows program will place new Fellows in a borough within New York City based upon the Fellows’ preferences and system needs. Each borough is made up of many neighborhoods and schools.

The Teaching Fellows program believes that the match between a teacher and a school is essential for the long-term success of students. While the program works to facilitate connections between schools with open positions and new Teaching Fellows, the Fellows have flexibility in their job searches and will have the ability to pursue positions in different schools within their assigned borough. Hiring decisions are ultimately left to principals to ensure a good match for both the school and the teacher.

The NYC Teaching Fellows program enables participants to complete the state certification requirements WHILE they teach.

NYC Teaching Fellows have the incredible opportunity to complete state certification requirements and pursue the required Master’s degree in Education, while they teach, instead of before, enabling them to make a difference in students’ lives right away.

For prospective educators without a background in education the only way to start teaching in New York City (and most other cities) is to complete a Master’s degree or substantial coursework in education. However, completing a Master’s degree takes time, costs money, and requires several years of work before an aspiring teacher may enter the classroom.

Through the Fellowship, however, Fellows will already have two to three years of full-time teaching experience with a teacher’s full salary and benefits and a Master’s degree under their belts in the same time it would have taken to step foot in the classroom through a more traditional approach.

Do Fellows Stay? Yes, they do.

Career changers find teaching to be rewarding and they stick with it. Seven out of ten Fellows who started in 2003 taught for three or more years.

By the time Fellows complete their Master’s degree there are attractive incentives to continue working within the NYC school system, among them a sizable salary increase and receipt of permanent state certification. Most importantly, a Fellow’s potential impact as a teacher will be at an all-time high. Teresa Curley worked as a television producer for ten years but had always wanted to teach special education. Jeffrey Perl argued dozens of cases as an attorney but ultimately felt unfulfilled. Teresa now teaches at a District 75 school; Jeffrey teaches at an elementary school in the Bronx. Among New York City Teaching Fellows, there are countless stories like these.

Approximately 60% of the more than 8,000 Fellows currently teaching in New York City public schools have transitioned from other careers. Fellows come from diverse professional backgrounds: accountants, nurses, salespeople, police officers, secretaries, artists, social workers, lawyers, doctors, journalists, among others have entered the classroom through the NYC Teaching Fellows program.

This is your chance to join a growing group of motivated and energetic professionals who are answering the call to teach in traditionally underserved communities.

Whatever your motivations for changing career paths may be, the decision can be a challenging one and the questions surrounding your next steps may seem endless. Read on for information that might be helpful.

Want more information?

If you are still not sure whether the NYC Teaching Fellows program is right for you, there are several ways to get more information so that you can make the most informed decision.

Our Website: You should make sure that you read through our website carefully. The site contains a great deal of information that is important for you to know.  Be sure to check out the videos on this page to hear firsthand from Fellows about their experiences.

Information Sessions: Current NYC Teaching Fellows and representatives of the program hold information sessions throughout the city and region. Attending these sessions is a great way to learn more about the program, ask questions, and hear from a current Fellow.

 

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[1] Kane, Thomas J., Rockoff, Jonah E., Staiger, Douglas O. “What Does Certification Tell Us About Teacher Effectiveness? Evidence From New York City,” Working Paper 12155; National Bureau of Economic Research. April 2006. P. 5.