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More Retired Soldiers Are Starting Second Careers In The Classroom

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FAYETTEVILLE — Some retired soldiers are trading in theirweapons for chalk as they start second careers in the classroom.

Joe Gonzalez was in the Army for 20 years.The 50-year-old military police officer and analyst isnow a civics andeconomics teacher. He says he nowteaches a lot of what he learned in the Army.

"If you are taught to do something, you do it orface the consequences. Those things becomesecond nature to soldiers and that's what you tryto instill in students," he says.

Principal Diane Antolak's husband made a similar transition. She sayssoldiers bring a team player attitude, loyaltyand self-discipline to the job.

"That discipline shows up in a number of ways," she says. "It shows up inthe way they structure their classroom and it shows upin their organization. All are tremendous assetsto our children."

First Lady Laura Bush hopes to guide moresoldiers into theTroopsto Teachersprogram.She is encouraging the 28,000 servicemembers who retire every year to take on a newmission and help meet the teaching shortage.

Now in his eighth year, Gonzalez is happywith his second career choice. His students are pleased as well.

"He teaches us that we have to show himrespect, and when we give him respect, we areable to work in the classroom better," says student Courtney Locus.

The Troops to Teachers program includes referral and placementassistance.It used to offer money to help veterans take thecourses they need to become certified.

There is legislation pending in Congress thatwould reinstate the funding for up to 3,000military retirees.