Turning Troops into Teachers

Johnny Moye
Veteran, retired teacher, and ODU alum Johnny Moye

"If you have the experience and the degree, you have the job," says Johnny Moye, Ph.D., and he would know. He's on his second career retirement. His most recent full-time position was with Chesapeake Public Schools, where he taught technology education. The Virginia Technology Education Association (VTEA) even recognized Moye as the 2008 High School Technology Education Teacher of the Year.

His first career was no less impressive. Moye is a 27-year U.S. Navy veteran who earned the rank of Master Chief Petty Officer. He earned, among other awards, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal.

How did Moye transition out of the military into an impressive education career? Old Dominion University is a big part of it, but so is a recommendation. Moye was stationed in Spain and thinking about his next steps after his service ended, and a friend had some advice. "'You need to go to Old Dominion University and get a technology teacher degree,' he said. So I said, 'Okay, tell me about it.'"

As his friend suggested and Moye found out in his master's and Ph.D. studies, the path from sailor to award-winning teacher is a more natural transition than one might believe.

"The problem with most teachers is that they never left school," says Moye. While he emphasizes the utmost respect for his colleagues in education, he also shares why veterans make terrific teachers. They are used to adaptations, new jobs, and challenging situations. Veterans have a strong grasp of technology, especially practical applications. Last but not least, during their service veterans must lift up subordinates and serve as a mentor to those who are at a lower rank.

Veterans make terrific teachers. They are used to adaptations, new jobs, and challenging situations.

Yet, the path from service member to teacher isn't always obvious. Military members tend to seek education and careers when returning to civilian life in the fields in which they worked during their service. That is an option, of course, but often the service member must earn additional training or certification to work in the civilian world.

Regardless of whether veterans decide to continue a career that began in their military service or to switch to teaching, Moye has one overarching piece of advice: "Education is, by far, the most important thing they can do."

Old Dominion University has a legacy of distance learning education for active duty military members and veterans that goes back more than 30 years. Join one of more than 100 highly-ranked and proven programs. We have a special reduced undergraduate tuition rate for active duty military members. Visit online.odu.edu/info-military-students for more information and to get started.