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Pursuing Education: My Road to Success
Emporia State University: Winning Choice for Educators
I grew up playing school, bribing my brother to let me teach him in exchange for my having to play Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. School days never seemed long enough and summer lasted forever. Boxes and shelves of school supplies made me giddy with excitement, nearly as much as labeling and organizing my new supplies as I prepped for another year of school. My passion for school and learning started early and was consistently fed by great teachers. I was so in awe of my teachers; to me they were magicians and the classroom their stage. Each day I was transported to other worlds and found real joy in all of my discoveries. I desperately wanted to continue experiencing more of the stimuli they were nurturing our young minds with.
Life, as it happens, moved forward and with it came decisions and changes, hurdles and detours in the course of my life. I was blessed with three wondrous and as I focused more on them, I thought less about my passion to teach and more about parenting. Motherhood eventually brought me full circle. It renewed my desire and gave me an even greater sense of purpose. With my decision made to return to school, I now faced the challenge of choosing a program that allowed me to balance being a devoted mother throughout my studies and offered a challenging, respected level of education. Emporia State University was well known as "THE" teaching college. My obstacle was finding a feasible and efficient way of attaining my degree from ESU while also continuing to be Mom and Wife. The answer came in the form of the BEST program, Butler/Emporia Students to Teachers, a perfect fit for Wichita area students.
From my initial meeting with BEST advisors to discuss my interest in the program to the day I walked across the stage at graduation, I was impressed with the level of knowledge and support that was offered to each student. Advisors helped me determine my course by discussing my educational goals and understanding my challenges. They were informative and prepared.
As a nontraditional student I was looking for a program that was going to get me where I wanted to be and that I felt confident would leave me prepared for success upon completion. Structured, intermittent meetings kept things flowing and allowed me to feel prepared for each new phase of acquiring my degree. It became clear that the BEST program was not only going to lead me to my degree and the start of my career as an elementary educator, but that I would be a polished, prepped, and confident first year teacher once I got started. Relevant, challenging, and creative teacher prep lessons encouraged us to think critically. We were required to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate. Courses were purposeful, methods were flexible, and content was engaging. A full year of hands-on teaching followed and the observations, evaluations and reflections continued allowing each of us to really develop in our professional draft.
In my final semester of student teaching I had acquired a portfolio of my greatest works, a resume, letters of reference and confidence in my abilities. I interviewed for two different districts and received an immediate offer to teach in the grade level of my choice from each district. I decided on the one which most closely aligned with my philosophy of teaching and am now in my third year as a fourth grade teacher for Nelson Elementary in Haysville, KS. I've heard teachers talk about the first few years and the desire to just survive them. ESU left me prepared to do more than merely survive. Observations and evaluations from my first year were full of praise and I was proud, as ESU should be, that I was valued and thought to have accomplished, "more than a first year teacher would accomplish." Thank you BEST program for providing me the tools and methods of my calling and for making sure I'd be prepared from the start to make a difference in the lives of my students!