Beyond The Bell: From The Frontlines To The Classroom

Thursday, December 26th 2013, 8:57 pm
By: News 9

A growing number of veterans are making a career change, but still serving their country just in a different way.

In Thursday night's Beyond the Bell, Chris McKinnon introduces to a program putting our troops into the classroom. A sixth-grade computer class sits at attention as Randy Lister lays out the strategy to finish their final projects. It's a position he didn't know he'd be in.

"They gave you these tests that said ‘What would you be good at after the Army?' And at the top of the list was ‘teacher'," said Lister.

That was years ago when Lister retired from the Army.

"I started off in the infantry, so I left the University of Oklahoma, got commissioned as a second lieutenant. I spent 22 years, three months and 19 days," Lister said.

The former Army instructor-turned Middle School teacher through Oklahoma City's Troops to Teachers, now falls back on some of the things he learned in his previous career.

"Being in the Army was a little bit easier though, because being a Lt. Colonel, I can just say 'Serge, I need you to do this.' and it's already done," Lister said. "[It is] a little different in the classroom. Instead of pushing the rope, you can pull the rope and a get a little more out of them."

But the student's in Lister's class learn more than just how to use a computer. He brings in experiences from his time all over the world.

"It seems to have an impact on them and they know to where have I been, what have I done."

And it all boils down to what he learned in the Army.

"I treat all the students with respect. I respect what they need. I respect what they already know and then I also ask them to respect me. I was the same way in the Army, mutual respect and that sort of thing."

There are 31 teachers in the Oklahoma City Public School district who are a part of the Troops to Teachers program.