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The American Board has certified over 6,000 teachers across the country in the last decade. With so many educators in the field holding an American Board certification, we thought we’d check in on some of our alumni to hear their stories. Below is part three of our American Board Alumni series. Read parts one and two here.

Matthew Palmer, American Board Alumni
Matthew Palmer, American Board Alumni

As a teenager, American Board alumnus Matthew Palmer wasn’t sold on teaching as a possible career, despite feedback from others. “My family always encouraged me to look into teaching, (but) I was never quite convinced that it was my calling,” Palmer told the American Board in an email.

Instead, the Jamaican native earned his Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences with a concentration in Economics from the University of Southern California. By the time he finished school, he knew his passion wasn’t in economics, and decided to pursue other employment opportunities.

After a move from San Francisco to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a chance meeting in a local park changed his life. He was approached by a stranger while working out. “A coach saw me and asked if I could help instruct his athletes. After saying no a couple of times, I conceded.”

That coaching job eventually lead to Palmer substitute teaching. “I loved it,” Palmer gushes. “I found it very excited to be a sub and loved sharing stories with the students.”

Substitute teaching soon transitioned into teaching middle and high school classes at a private school on a temporary educator’s certificate. That’s where the American Board stepped in.

“After spending hours online searching for avenues to convert my temporary certificate to a professional certificate, I found the American Board’s program. I was thrilled.” And why did Palmer choose our program? “The other options required me to take about five or six college courses. This would have been extremely difficult as I taught while also coaching the track team and assisting with my school’s National Honor Society.”

Palmer describes his American Board experience as flexible and a perfect fit. “The program was very straight forward and fit perfectly into my busy schedule. I really appreciated the flexibility the program afforded me as opposed to having to attend classes in the evenings after school.”

Mr. Palmer, engaging his algebra students
Mr. Palmer, engaging his algebra students

The greatest asset of our program? “I found the practice tests to be invaluable resources.”

Palmer is so pleased with the program, he’s recommending it to colleagues. “I have since shared my experience with the American Board with several teachers at my school, some of whom plan on starting this summer!”

Thank you to Matthew Palmer for that fantastic advice! If you are an alumnus of the American Board and want to share your story, drop us a line at blog@abcte.org.

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