A New Career? Transition to Teaching with TAP at Champlain College



{Disclaimer: We are working with the TAP program at Champlain College to bring you this post, however, all opinions are our own!}

When you have young children at home, your career can become the LAST thing on your mind.

It doesn’t seem possible to think of anything else apart from the endless feeding, changing, and cleaning of these little people whose lives are entirely dependent on you. You would be completely justified in checking out from all thoughts of work outside the home, much less considering leaping into a new career. BUT, if you’re at all like I was when my kiddos were little, maybe you find it hard to shut that career-oriented part of your brain off…? AND perhaps you’re thinking now might be just the right time to try something new…? OR maybe when you bought your kids’ school supplies this year, you got just a little bit jealous that they got to go back to school…?  

If any of these thoughts resonate with you, consider checking out the Teacher Apprenticeship Program (TAP) at Champlain College.

school supplies for that new career
Do school supplies make you happy?

(Full disclosure: I work at TAP teaching and supervising student teachers. I asked to write this post since some of my favorite interns to work with are new moms and dads!)

What is TAP?

The TAP program is designed for individuals who have previously earned a bachelor’s degree, have strong content knowledge and work experience, and who want to become teachers. The program includes an 8 month long full-time internship, coursework at our Champlain College campus in Burlington’s South End, and a solo student teaching period with a mentor teacher at a school typically near your home.

We offer two cohorts per year (our 1st intake is in August, the 2nd is in November).  Candidates should expect to be engaged from 7:30 to 3:30 five days a week for 18 weeks with the exception of school holidays.

I wanted to be a teacher for a long time, but didn’t know how I could make it happen. Fortunately, the instructors were very knowledgeable and supportive of everyone’s unique life situation. They understood how hard it was to take the leap to a new profession especially as a parent. Going back to school with a baby at home isn’t ideal; I had to lean on my wife and family for support on a regular basis. Now my wife and I are teachers in the same district, so we will spend a lot of time with our daughter on school vacations. There was certainly no promise of a job at the end and that made me nervous, but TAP shares everything you need to be successful in the field. — Dan Bahrenburg

Why should I consider TAP?

It took me five years to train to become a teacher back in the day. I took loads of classes in my undergraduate major and in my graduate education program at the same time, and it was not an inexpensive process. Because I was young and inexperienced though, I needed every minute of those five years in order to become an effective teacher.  My teacher training program offered me all the time, practice, and support I needed before I began my career in education.   

By contrast, someone who chooses to enter TAP typically has a wealth of life experiences and knowledge already to draw on. Our interns are adult learners who know their content area (e.g. math, science, French), understand how they learn best and are ready to start making a difference in the classroom immediately. This enables TAP to offer the program at a faster pace than a more traditional teacher preparation program.

TAP alumni also speak highly about the amount of time they spend in schools and the wide variety of instructional strategies we model that are research-based and designed to engage diverse learners. Schools appreciate how well-prepared our teachers are, and you’ll find graduates of our program teaching all across the state.   

school sign
Consider a career in teaching!

But can I afford to start a new career?  

Starting a new career can be a financial challenge for most families. We’re able to keep the cost of the program lower than traditional programs because of the shorter timeline and because we are not a degree program. There are also places that can offer some financial assistance to new students. The Vermont Student Assistance Program (VSAC) may provide low-interest loans with cost of living expenses included. Also, VSAC grants are available to qualified candidates. Contact VSAC at (800) 226-1029 for more information. Other sources of funding may be the Department of Labor, or veteran’s benefits, such as the Troops to Teachers program.

What do other parents say about the program?

We have had many parents complete the program who have gone on to successful teaching careers. And while it can be tough to balance the demands of beginning a new career with being a parent, our graduates tell us how glad they are to have chosen TAP. But don’t just take my word on starting a new career in teaching. Below are the thoughts of some of our current and former interns on becoming teachers while raising their families.

My kids love that I go to school too! –Jessica Greiner

…(A)s a parent, I am much more patient with my students. I argued with a toddler about whether or not to put on pants. I lost that argument. That was humbling. My newly-found patience has made me a much better teacher. I find that I enjoy my students more when I can recognize that they are going through a developmental phase. I have found that being a parent is the perfect training for becoming a good teacher. You know a lot more than you think about child development because you have lived it first-hand.  — Shanna Moyer

Picture Yourself Here

Being a part of the inside of the school world gives me a newfound respect for what my children’s teachers are like. I feel like I understand more about how my child’s school works. Having children prepared me for teaching in a way that no other training could have provided. —  Jessica Greiner

My partner and I decided I would go back to school to become a teacher when our daughter was only a couple of months old. This choice involved a financial investment, significant time dedication, and somewhat unknown future, all of which seemed like obstacles not worth taking on. However, I believed, and still do, that teaching is a rewarding profession that works well for the rhythm of family life, and allows for a wide range of opportunities and creative freedom. — Blake Hoberman

Though it is hard with an 8 month-old, I decided to do the program now for my kids. I look at them and the hours I was working in retail and I was really unhappy where I was. I had to work nights and weekends. I was never home and I missed so much. I really wanted to be in a career that not only allowed me to be with my kids more but really made a difference.

I feel like my time with my family is now more valuable as I have to balance school, homework, and family. And I know all this hard work, and time spent is going to result in a more rewarding career path that will give me more time with my kids and I can be proud of the work I do. –Melynda Foley

I also see the value and need for more mature and experienced folks to become educators, especially parents, community members, and unique individuals who are passionate about making the world a better place.

— Blake Hoberman

How can you find out more?

Learn more about changing careers with TAP at our next info session on October 17th from 6 to 7pm. Register online or call 802 651-5844 for more information.

We also invite you to visit us during one of our seminar days to see the program in action.  Finally, you can learn more about us online or reach out directly to Associate Director Caitlin Hollister with any questions at [email protected] or at (802) 383-6657. 

TAP LOGO Career at Champlain College


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