I often hear people talk about their desire to change careers, yet many people are unsure how to make this change, especially in a downturned economy where jobs are scarce. One industry that is in dire need of a new injection of talent and enthusiasm is teaching. The UN estimates that 8 million teachers are needed worldwide by 2015 in order to provide universal access to primary education. The timing couldn’t be better for a career change into teaching.
There are a number of teaching fellowships around the United States, some specifically for career changers with no previous teaching experience. The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation funds a teaching fellowship program in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio, to prepare career changers and college graduates to teach math, science, engineering and technology in rural and urban schools. Fellows commit to teach for at least 3 years, and receive a $30,000 stipend to complete a special intensive master’s program at a local university. This program is expanding thanks to a recent $4.9 million grant from the Lilly Endowment.
The New York City American Museum of Natural History also just launched a new teaching fellowship. The Museum has created a paid teaching fellowship for their 15-month Master of Arts program in science teaching, which is intended to train middle school and high school Earth science teachers. Students spend two summers working with scientists and educators at the Museum, one in a youth program and the other in a science practicum residency. In between, students spend 10 months in a New York City school, paired with an exemplary teacher selected by school principals.
If you are seeking an opportunity abroad, Teach for China recruits, selects, trains, and supports outstanding US and Chinese graduates to work side-by-side to deliver an excellent education in high poverty and rural Chinese communities.
These represent just a small selection of fellowships that support a career change to teaching. Check out ProFellow’s database for information on more than 25 teaching fellowship programs, as well as several hundred other professional fellowship opportunities.
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Our step-by-step guide for a competitive fellowship application
1. Create a plan
2. Project proposal ideas
3. Talk to current / former fellows
4. Prepare an effective resumé
5. Find a host institution
6. Write a compelling personal statement
7. Prepare a strong project proposal
8. Get great recommendation letters (P1)
9. Get great recommendation letters (P2)
10. Nail the individual and group interviews