James Latimer, a family doctor for 25 years in rural
upstate New York, will start a new career
later this month as a science teacher in Independence High
School in Baltimore City.
Latimer is one of more than 100 new teachers who,
through the Baltimore City Teaching
Residency Program, will be in the classroom this fall and
simultaneously working toward master of arts
in teaching degrees from Johns Hopkins' School of
Most of the 100 are leaving another career to start
teaching in Baltimore City.
Latimer and his wife wanted to move to a warmer
climate from their small remote community in
upstate New York, where the nearest city was Ottawa,
Ontario. The physician also wanted to start a
new career. After discussing various possibilities with
several career counselors, he chose teaching.
"As a teacher, I felt I could make a meaningful
difference in a child's life," Latimer said. "The
Baltimore City Teaching Residency Program was a great fit
for me. The program offered benefits and
an excellent master's degree in teaching program at the
Johns Hopkins School of Education." He will
start teaching science to high school students on Aug. 27,
when schools begin classes.
Latimer will join more than 200 students in the Johns
Hopkins MAT program who will start
teaching in the fall, and who comprise about 20 percent of
the city's incoming class of new teachers.
Their course work started in June at Johns Hopkins and
continued this month with new teacher
training at Digital High School. Additionally, the School
of Education offers mentors and university
supervisors to support new teachers during their first year
on the job.
"The career changer brings a strong sense of
dedication and a wealth of experience to the
classroom in subject areas that are hard for many schools
to fill," said Lydia Lafferty of the School of
Education, who coordinates the BCTR/Johns Hopkins program.
Across the country, the number of adults who go into
teaching from other careers has been
increasing and is expected to play an important role in
addressing the nation's teacher shortage. A
Harvard University study found that almost half (46
percent) of first- and second-year teachers in
New Jersey had earlier careers and did not start teaching
right after college.
Research has shown that individuals changing
professions to enter teaching bring valuable skills
from their prior work and a fresh perspective, which
includes helping students apply their knowledge
to the real world. The students in the Johns Hopkins MAT
program will be teaching in many of the
critical shortage areas as defined by the Maryland State
Department of Education, such as early
childhood education, foreign language, mathematics,
sciences (chemistry, earth/space, physics and
physical science) and special education.
The teacher candidates in the MAT program will bring a
variety of past experiences to the
classroom from such diverse fields as law, engineering,
medicine, science and business. Students who
will be teaching middle school math include a marketing
major and former office manager and a
master's degree graduate in aerospace engineering who has
just completed two years in Ghana with
the Peace Corps.