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Interview with Patrick

Any background information which you would like to share…

Ryan, ACT! Graduate

Patrick completed the act!
program in 2007 and is the
owner/tutor of Math Tools!,
a private tutoring business

I have a bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering.  I worked for about 5 years as a computer programmer.  When I got married I became a stay at home Dad and raised and homeschooled my children while my wife pursued a career as a Family Practice Physician.  My wife left her career as a Doctor due to medical issues so I went back to work.  After exploring a few different career options I chose to go back to school and get a teaching license.

Why did you choose to change your career to secondary teaching in math or science?

I chose to teach because I've always enjoyed helping people to understand topics that were confusing them.  Math was an obvious choice because I already had a lot of math training with my Engineering degree.

Why did you choose the act! program?

The ACT! Program was a perfect place for me because it took into account my previous coursework and my current abilities.  Other full University programs wanted me to complete a full Math for Education minor and then enter the Department of Education.  This was not only too much time for me but had me retaking courses which I had mastered 20 years ago.

What is your current profession?

I am the owner/tutor at MathTools!  MathTools is my own private tutoring business.

How are you feeling about your decision to change professions?

I love it.  I truly enjoy helping students to be successful in their classroom or homeschooling math programs.  Since I have chosen to pursue tutoring instead of classroom work, some may question my need for a teaching license.  However, I still feel that my time in the ACT! Program was useful.  First, it was my student job as a tutor while in the program that brought to mind how much I like tutoring.  More importantly, however, is the legitimacy brought to my tutoring business by having a teaching license.  There is no regulated licensing program for tutors.  A teaching license is really the only way to document expertise in a subject area.  So my license is directly applicable to my chosen career path.  I've also gotten all of my clients through the relationships I've established with the local math teachers and guidance counselors.

What is the best part of the act! program and the alternative pathway to licensure?

It was FAST! The professors all took into account that the students were adult professionals and not 19 year old undergraduates.  In one of our ACT! Students only classes the professor was shocked after the first homework assignment when EVERY student had the assignment done.  This was a room full of professionals who were taking time and money away from daily life to get achieve a goal.  There were no “slackers”.  This was immediately taken into account in how the professor related with the students from then on.  She said that she considered us peers more than students.

What has been the most challenging component of licensure?

Time away from work (family in my case.)  It is always hard to add something extra to the daily schedule.  This was no exception, but it was over quickly and the results were worth it.