2020 Notables in Education: Changing Careers, Changing The Game

As 2020 begins, America's teacher shortage crisis continues. In fact, the Economic Policy Institute recently forecast that the teacher shortage could double from 2018 to 2025. However, one analyst disagrees that there's a teacher shortage. Instead, he thinks that states are overlooking available talent. 

At ZTL, we have an eye for talent. We see teachers across the country who are striving to make a difference. One trend being overlooked is that many teacher candidates are career-changers. For them, the best role models are current teachers who changed paths in order to change lives. 

Rochester, New York
Elementary School Teacher

Jordan Addison wants his students to be better decision makers; for him, it's a way of life. When Addison was in college, he was at a career crossroads: he had to decide between becoming a parole officer or an athletic director. Then, a third option became available. 

"After graduating, I was presented with an opportunity in the realm of education," Addison remembers. "I thought: 'What better way to lead my people to become the utmost of themselves?'"  

Soon, the former athlete changed career paths. Addison enrolled at Nazareth College for the Master of Education program. During graduate school, he was a standout student and "poster child" for the program. (For a brief time, he was featured on the school's website.) 

After graduate school, Addison hit the ground running as a sixth grade teacher. Later, he found a position for a fourth-grade classroom. His hard work garnered a New Teacher of The Year Award in 2018. 

At the beginning of the 19-20 school year, Addison tried some successful new techniques. "I put students in leadership positions," he explained. "But each student was held accountable by their peers based on our 'Class Mission' and the 'Six Principles'." 

In a short time span, Addison's strategy was working. Student behavior had improved, thus he could focus on his teaching. For the young professional, students perform better when they are self-regulated. "I want our kids to understand how it feels to be leaders and not simply take orders from someone," he shared with ZTL. 

Several weeks ago, he welcomed his own bundle of joy at home and became a father. But Addison's good fortune was eventually countered with bad news. As Addison enjoyed paternity leave, he was informed that he would lose his job. Now, he is back at the crossroads. 

In 2020, Addison has an optimistic outlook. He has received numerous job offers from nearby school districts. Yet, his heart remains faithful to Rochester. 

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