How I Crowdfunded My Alternative Teacher Certification
Natasha Akery always felt there was something important she was meant to do with her career. After exploring multiple avenues, she started to examine her skill set and years of volunteer experience.
“I’ve always ended up in some capacity with [helping] high school kids and I’m an avid writer and reader. So while considering all my skills, I thought, ‘I should try to be a teacher’,” Natasha said on a phone call with the American Board.
When she looked into going back to school, Natasha decided it was not something she could do right now with the time and monetary commitment it would require. She was a full-time mom with two young children, so she began looking into alternative programs and learned about the American Board.
“I did a free trial with the American Board and what was encouraging to me was the subject matter portion showed me I had it in the bag and even the teaching portion wasn’t strange for me because my father was a Special Education teacher for 25 years. I grew up in the classroom and watching him,” Natasha said. “It seemed like a natural fit and the price point was so affordable.”
After making the decision to pursue her teaching certification for English Language Arts with the American Board, Natasha said things just kept falling into place. Friends who were teachers began reaching out to her and suggested she shadow their classrooms, then another friend suggested she begin a GoFundMe campaign to cover the cost of enrollment.
“I thought, ‘who wants to pay for me to become a teacher?’ and apparently a lot of people did! It was super encouraging and friends of mine started sharing my GoFundMe page and writing paragraphs about me and how I change people through my writing and working with kids. That was even more confirmation that this was the right thing to do,” Natasha said.
She hit her GoFundMe goal to pay for enrollment with the American Board in three weeks thanks to donations from family and friends, plus a promise she made in week three to film herself doing the “Juju on that beat” dance if she reached her goal. She said it definitely helped incentivize her friends to chip in!
— Nat Akery (@ladyakery) November 1, 2016
“I would tell people who are thinking about the program to do the GoFundMe campaign because that’s how I realized people believed in me,” Natasha said. “I was really involving everyone in the process and telling people about the program. I provided statistics showing the need for teachers in Charleston County. I was really specific about not just why I want to be a teacher but why my state needs me and why American Board is making it possible.”
Natasha recommends people interested in becoming teachers should shadow current teachers and meet with representatives from the school district they hope to teach in. She looks forward to starting a career that will allow a schedule that aligns with her children’s, in fact her husband is now considering making a move to teaching as well. “The schedule is very conducive for people who have children and that was a big thing for us. Our priority is family and being together as much as possible, so if we’re all on the same schedule that’s great and it’s possible through this career choice.”