Spouses to Teachers Program Expands to Europe
By Sgt. Aimee Millham, USA
Special to American Forces Press Service
HEIDELBERG, Germany, Sept. 29, 2006 Starting Oct. 1, military spouses in Europe interested in teaching can participate in the Department of Defense Spouses to Teachers program, which until now had been only available stateside.
The program’s services include information on state-specific educational requirements, teaching credentials and scholarship options, along with a maximum reimbursement of $600 for teacher certification examinations.
“Spouses serve too,” said Pamela K. Smith, the Spouse Education, Careers and Relocation program manager for the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. “It’s our goal to help them build careers.”
According to DoD research, teaching is one of the top five career choices among military spouses. And because keeping military spouses employed is a good retention tool, Smith said, the overseas expansion of the Spouses to Teachers program simply makes sense.
The program, directed by the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Educational Support, is open to spouses of all servicemembers, including reservists and Guardsmen. There are no higher-education requirements to enter the program, and the program is commitment-free. “You can change your mind and opt out any time,” said Marti Readel, advisor for DANTES in Europe.
Interested spouses can contact the Spouses to Teachers network to be assigned a counselor designated for the state where the spouse is interested in teaching. For convenience, the interaction between spouses in Europe and their program counselors will occur via the Internet and by phone.
While counselors will help prospective teachers map out their educational careers according to state and subject-based requirements, the program is not a job-placement service, Readel said. Plus counselors will not advise spouses which schools to attend.
“You have to be proactive,” Readel stressed. “In the military, we’re used to being told exactly where to go and what to do. That’s not the way this program works.”
Spouses can find a list of several military cooperative teacher certification programs available through distance learning at www.dantes.doded.mil.
Though the program does not find jobs for spouses, there is a planned partnership between the prgram and the DoD Education Activity, through which DODEA plans to provide support to spouses wherever it can, including possible student teaching opportunities, Smith said.
Additionally, Smith recommends two Websites -- www.military.com/spouse and www.milspouse.org -- that compliment the program by serving as career centers where spouses can research career information, post resumes and make job searches.
Spouses interested in the STT program in Europe can log onto www.spousestoteachers.com, and click on the “OCONUS” link. They also can contact the National Spouses to Teachers Office in Pensacola, Fla., by phone at 1-800-231-6282 or DSN 922-6282, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Army Sgt. Aimee Millham is assigned to U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs.)