After 30 years as a chemical plant operating technician, Pierre Moss went back to school for an education degree. Now he goes back to school every day.
When Monsanto Chemical Co. closed its Nitro plant in 2004, Moss, like so many chemical workers in the Kanawha Valley, found himself unemployed. So he decided to pursue a lifelong dream to become a teacher.
As he explained to Daily Mail Education Reporter Shay Maunz, Moss re-enrolled at West Virginia State University to pursue a four-year degree in education, a follow up to the undergraduate degree in sociology he earned 30 years previously.
Now, after much time, expense and dedication, Moss is living his dream as a 2nd grade teacher at Mary C. Snow Elementary School on Charleston's West Side. "I've always wanted to be a teacher. I have great respect for teachers," he said.
Congratulations to Moss for achieving his dream. The 2nd-grade students in his classroom are benefiting from his choice.
But transitioning to teaching from a previous career shouldn't be as difficult as it was for him.
There is no telling how many competent, qualified professionals like Moss are out there, having lived a full life, who remember the lessons they learned from their teachers and want to make a difference for today's children.
While West Virginia has made improvements — the Transition to Teachers and Troops to Teachers programs are good examples — the state received a grade of C- from the National Council on Teacher Quality for expanding the pool of teachers.
The council says West Virginia can do more. The report, dated 2012, says West Virginia's admission requirements for alternate routes to certification lack flexibility for nontraditional candidates, restrict alternate routes, and don't offer licenses that would allow content experts to teach part time.
With more than 600 classrooms without a certified teacher and two-thirds of the state's teachers approaching retirement age, West Virginia must streamline the path for qualified individuals to enter the teaching ranks, no matter what their initial career choices.