Tag Archives: microsoft

How I Left Microsoft to Become a Teacher (2011)

I wrote a letter to Teach for America (TFA) in 1991.  At the time I was an Engineering Cooperative Education (Intern) at Caterpillar in Peoria, Illinois.  As I read that letter today, I find the same passions surfacing now that are also in that letter.  If you are reading this, and have ever considered teaching, then you know what I mean.

The one website you need as you begin your journey to become a teacher is:  http://pathway.pesb.wa.gov/

It has a checklist, sample timelines, table of teacher preparation programs, and a FAQ.  If you still have questions or just want to ask me something, drop me an e-mail.

It may be helpful for me to relate my experience in this process, so let me do that here.  [rough outline]

  • Some time in 2009 I felt like I should look into teaching as a “next move”.
  • I took the WEST Exams in Feb ( B), Apr ( Math), Jun ( Physics) 2010.
  • I matriculated to MAT at SPU (2 year program) in Summer of 2010.
  • Fall of 2010 I realized that 9 credits per quarter was too much, so I opted for certificate only option in the MAT track.  That took me down to 6 credits per quarter.
  • January 2011 I sent e-mail to 300+ principals and superintendents in WA telling them about myself.  A few replied.  One of them has hired me.  That was also the month that I switched from being a manager at Microsoft to being an individual contributor.
  • Feb-Mar 2011 I realized that MAT wasn’t the best fit, I applied to ARC at SPU and PLU.  Got accepted to both.  Chose to stay at SPU in the ARC program MTMS (Master of Teaching Math and Science).
  • During the same time I realized that I needed to get paid during internship, that is possible if you are in an ARC program, and get a school district to hire you on a conditional or an emergency teacher certification.
  • August 31, 2011 is my last day at Microsoft.
  • September 1, 2011 is my first day as a teacher.  Stay tuned for more details on that.

Salaries for teachers in the State of Washington are determined by year of service and number of quarter hours above and beyond BA, MA or PhD.  Here is the breakdown in salary for 2010-2011 school year.


Ex Microsoft Resources



Konrad, Rachel.  “Life after Microsoft takes core alumni on varied paths”.  CNET News.com. Web. 11 February 2002. <http://news.cnet.com/2009-1001-831836.html>

Finn, Chester E. Jr. “Bill Gates’ New Education Plan”.  Forbes.com. Web. 13 November 2008. <http://www.forbes.com/2008/11/13/bill-gates-education-oped-cx_cef_1113finn.html>

Barret, Victoria.  “Bill Gates:  It’s the Teacher, Stupid”.  Forbes.com. Web. 26 January 2009.  <http://www.forbes.com/2009/01/26/bill-gates-letter-tech-enter-cz_vb_0126billgates.html>

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