Omar Masis doesn’t want to get a teaching license just for himself. He also wants to do it for the preschoolers he sees every day at Blair Elementary School in Waukesha.
For two years now, he has been leading a class full of youngsters through lessons that focus on building their vocabularies and improving motor skills. But, with a background in agricultural engineering instead of education, he has been doing so on an emergency teaching permit sustained by six credits of education classes a year.
Now he’s ready to make the leap to become a credentialed teacher.
“There’s something in me that tells me I need a formal education so I can help these kids and improve my teaching style,” said Masis, a native of Nicaragua who also has worked as a teacher’s aide in Waukesha. “I can do better.”
Before, Masis might have had to go elsewhere to fulfill his new dream.
But a recent decision by the Milwaukee Teacher Education Center, one of the largest certification programs in the state for college graduates who want to become teachers, means he can stay in Waukesha.
After more than a dozen years of working to place teachers in hard-to-fill classrooms in Milwaukee Public Schools, MTEC has opened its program to work with other public school districts.