From the military to the classroom

Veterans' Resource Center helps future teacher transition to the classroom

| Author: Eric Baerren | Media Contact: Aaron Mills

Brendan Beebe always knew he wanted to teach. The path to getting there was a different story.

For that, he followed his intuition. It led him through an enlistment in the U.S. Marine Corps and finally to Central Michigan University’s teacher preparation program.

He is preparing to student teach in the spring as his final step towards realizing his lifelong goal of teaching. CMU’s Veterans’ Resource Center provided a crucial bridge to help him transition from the service to the classroom.

The first step was enlisting in the Marines.

It happened very suddenly, Beebe said. He went into a recruiting office near where he lived in White Lake early one week and was preparing for boot camp by the end of it.

Beebe worked on electronic communications equipment for the Marine Corps, which required enough technical training that he needed to enlist for five years instead of the typical four. The training provided him with 16 college credits when it came time to transition back to civilian life.

His time in the Marines took him from the Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command in Twentynine Palms, California, to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. He also deployed to Norway as part of a NATO exercise.

Picking CMU was easy. He wanted to go into teaching, and the university’s teacher preparation program has a good reputation.

“I knew I wanted to get a good education from really good professors and faculty,” he said.

His grade point average is a point of pride and a product of Marine discipline, he said.

“I don’t think that would be the case if I hadn’t been in the military first,” he said. Beebe is working towards becoming a social studies teacher.

He also received helped from the staff of the Veterans Resource Center, which he said made things a lot easier. He also worked for the office for two years through a work study program.

CMU was recently named the third best Michigan university for veterans in a recent Military Times ranking of “Best for Vets” colleges.

Among the services CMU provides are financial aid programs developed for veterans and active duty service members, said Duane Kleinhardt, director of the Veterans’ Resource Center. Those include waiving application fees for veterans, scholarships for military-affiliated students, a new military tuition rate and converting prior learning to college credits.

Beebe plans to student teach and coach freshman baseball at Mt. Pleasant High School. When he starts his career, he hopes to teach social studies in middle school. Teaching is a critical profession, he said. The biggest payoff is in helping kids.

“Especially when you see the lightbulb click,” he said.

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