Many parts of the nation are facing a teacher shortage.
A new Troops to Teacher chapter that recently opened in the UI College of Education’s Iowa Supports Education and Resources for Veterans and Enlisted (I-SERVE) Office will help.
I-SERVE helps veterans and enlisted individuals transition into higher education at the University of Iowa.
When Laura Boddicker transitioned from the military to higher education, she says she faced many challenges.
Boddicker, who served in the U.S. Navy, was recently named the advising specialist for a new Troops to Teachers chapter that was created in the UI College of Education.
Troops to Teachers (TTT) is a program within I-SERVE that provides eligible military members and veterans with counseling, employment facilitation, and financial support services that help veterans transition from military service to employment as K-12 teachers. Troops to Teachers has employed more than 126,000 veterans within the U.S. and the number continues to increase. Iowa provides three different pathways to a teaching licensure, both traditional and non-traditional, which best suits the needs for a veteran at this time in their life.
Troops to Teachers was created to assist veterans in serving in another capacity by making a difference in the lives of children and youth. Veterans bring a robust set of skills, such as professionalism, accountability, structure, collaboration, and passion, according to Boddicker. All of these are important for the growth and development in the learning environment. As such, veterans are also able to find meaning and purpose by fulfilling another mission.
Boddicker earned a master’s in rehabilitation and mental health counseling from the UI College of Education. She now provides counseling and referral services to veterans on state teacher certification and equation requirements leading to employment opportunities while working on her doctorate in Counselor Education and Supervision.
“As a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, and knowing my own struggles transitioning from the military, I am very passionate about assisting veterans in finding employment that suits their needs and interests,” Boddicker says.
Boddicker works with school administrators, sharing how skills acquired in the military, such as leadership, initiative, discipline, integrity, and the ability to thrive in an ever-changing environment, help make veterans a natural fit for the classroom.
“After the military, it can be difficult to discover one’s self because coming home is different… veterans are different,” she says. “Finding a place to belong takes time, and we as veterans search for meaning.”
Boddicker says she has provided assistance to 11 veterans thus far, and one individual is now enrolled in the Teacher Education Program. She emphasizes that the TTT resources and support are for all veterans in the community, not just UI students.
The Troops To Teachers business office in Iowa is located in the UI College of Education, I-SERVE Office on the first floor of North Lindquist, 240 South Madison Street, Iowa City, Iowa. Student veterans, or members of the community, may contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or 319-335-5544 for more information. In addition, veterans may register online at proudtoserveagain.com or follow TTT on twitter at TTT_Iowa or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TTT.Iowa.