Tech Exec Begins Career Path 2.0 Through Teacher Development Center
Brett Reisman, a student teacher at Lovejoy High School in Lucas this fall, listens as student James Rainey answers a question during a “Jeopardy”-style review for U.S. history.
Brett Reisman had worked his way up to vice president of a tech startup. He was making good money and living in Manhattan. But he felt like something was missing.
“I found that I was being rewarded in some ways, but not in others,” Reisman said. “I wanted to pursue a different career that I would find to be more fulfilling in every way.”
The 30-year-old decided to quit his job and become a teacher.
Reisman moved back to Dallas, where he grew up, and enrolled in UT Dallas’ Teacher Development Center in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies last spring. This fall, he completed the steps needed to earn his teacher certification through the center.
Since Reisman already had two bachelor’s degrees from UT Austin, the path to become a teacher included state certification tests, a semester-long student teaching internship and courses in subjects such as classroom management, curriculum planning and psychology.
Reisman served as a student teacher in Ashley Bonilla’s Pre-AP U.S. History and AP World History class at Lovejoy High School in Lucas.
“Brett is confident and yet very humble,” said Laurie Pollock, assistant director of the Teacher Development Center. “He will definitely make a difference in the classroom.”
On a recent afternoon, the teacher-in-training led the class in a “Jeopardy”-style game to review U.S. history lessons before an exam. Several students’ hands shot up in response each time he read a question also projected on a screen in the classroom.
Reisman said he was drawn to teaching after volunteering as a tutor over the years.
“I really love the interaction with high schoolers, seeing the aha moments and improvements.”
“I really love the interaction with high schoolers, seeing the aha moments and improvements,” he said.
Reisman said he chose UT Dallas because of its comprehensive program.
“I felt that UT Dallas offered a great grounding in pedagogical knowledge, mentorship, professional development and also networking and a collegial atmosphere,” he said.
More than 435 students are seeking state certification at the Teacher Development Center, which recommended 109 students for certification in the 2016-17 academic year.
Now that he will be certified to teach social studies and English language arts and reading for grades 7-12, Reisman is looking for his first teaching job. Wherever he lands, Reisman said his career change was the right decision.
“It’s difficult to reconcile financial realities and pragmatism with lofty dreams and idealism,” Reisman said. “But ultimately, I realized that life is short and there are more important ingredients to success and happiness than just financial compensation.”
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