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In the most recent edition of Teaching Today, TeacherReady® teacher Whitney Daws (July 2011) reflects on her TeacherReady experience and on her first year as a teacher:
My journey with TeacherReady began when I won a scholarship from the National Military Association. As a military wife, I struggled with being able to finish teacher preparatory programs because my family and I were moving so frequently. I started a program in Texas that I was unable to complete due to a move to California. We were in California such a short time that I didn’t have the opportunity to begin anything new and finish an entire program. I searched the internet for programs that allowed me to learn at my own pace and work remotely. I was thrilled to find the TeacherReady program based out of my hometown- Pensacola, Florida.
After receiving my scholarship, I immediately enrolled in TeacherReady. The scholarship didn’t cover the entire program, but I was very impressed with how affordable the alternative certification program was compared to others. The flexibility the program allowed and the personal communication from the staff allowed me to earn my teaching certification in FL while student teaching in NJ. I had my second child during my time with TeacherReady and due to the convenience of online teacher education, it was a smooth transition of being able to take care of my family and continue my education.
We now live in Tampa, FL, and I am so excited to have my own classroom! This past year I was hired at a private school called The Reading Corner. I currently teach a half day VPK program where we focus on providing a strong early literacy foundation and developing the whole child to become independent, life-long learners. I switch gears in the afternoon and teach a social studies block to our 4th and 5th graders. This type of varied instruction on a day to day basis is something that I spent a great deal of time learning about during my time at TeacherReady. I go from 4 and 5 year olds in the morning to 4th and 5th graders in the afternoon- I prepare differentiated lessons for different ages and classes every week. The scaffolding of instruction I learned through my TeacherReady studies actually makes this easy; I know exactly where my lessons are going based on what my students have achieved the prior week.
As a first year teacher, I expected to be thrown some curve balls. The VPK classroom I am ending the year with is not the one I began with! Even coming into a new classroom half way through the year was a smooth transition because I was prepared to do so. One of the main topics I learned about during my online teacher education was developing strong classroom management procedures. These were laid out for the teacher that took my place and I implemented them into my new classroom as well. My preschool students know exactly what to do when they enter their classroom. They know where to go when they’re done and what to do during transitional times. I have had several teachers comment on my well behaved VPK class and I credit knowing how to teach students to own their own learning in the classroom from everything I learned through TeacherReady.
I found out I am teaching 2nd grade next school year. This is what I did my TeacherReady student teaching in and I am so excited to implement all of the planning and learning strategies I have developed into this new age group. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t found [TeacherReady. It] taught me best practices for the classroom and I am blessed to have the opportunity to teach where I am right now with the skills I have earned from my online education.
The teaching profession benefits from service members and their families choosing to teach. More importantly, students in K-12 benefit. TeacherReady’s online delivery and enrollment processes help serve aspiring teachers like Ms. Daws, whose military family moved frequently. We hope that you connect with Ms. Daw’s experience and see teaching as a service to our nation; and that it becomes an “option” for you and other individuals who may have never considered it before. Choose to teach.
Many, many thanks to Ms. Whitney Daws, The Reading Corner, for sharing her experience with readers of Teaching Today and What’s Right. We thank her for choosing to teach and working to create a classroom full of engaged learners.
TeacherReady is state approved online alternative certification program and is the Educator Preparation Institute of the NCATE accredited Professional Education Unit at the University of West Florida. Upon completion of TeacherReady, individuals earn a professional teaching certificate from the State of Florida. Visit the TeacherReady website or connect with them on Facebook for more information. Dr. Sarah Miller is director of TeacherReady®. Please contact her by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (850.432.7051) for more information about enrolling in TeacherReady®.
Our mission at Studer Education is to provide students with a great place to learn, teachers with a great place to teach, and parents with confidence that their children are getting a great education. Visit us online at http://studereducation.com. Studer Education is a division of Studer Group, ranked for the sixth straight year on the Best Small and Medium Workplaces by Great Place to Work® and a recipient of the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.