Post Written By: Elyse Bley
Major(s): Early Childhood - Middle Childhood
My name is Elyse Bley, and I am a sophomore here at UWL. I grew up in Delafield, Wisconsin, which is about twenty minutes from Waukesha. This is my first ever post for UWL’s School of Education, so, without getting too corny, here’s a little bit about myself: tacos are my favorite food, I’m pretty sure I have a caffeine addiction, dolls freak me out, I worked as a Teacher’s Assistant to K-3 students this summer, and have been a receptionist at a hair salon since I was sixteen. Most importantly, I’m majoring in Early Childhood - Middle Childhood Education with a Spanish minor.
Teaching is the only realistically attainable profession I have ever considered. Before I realized my true calling, I dreamed of being a princess or a superstar, though both would have been ideal. It wasn’t until I was ten-years-old that I really knew what I was meant to do. I went into fifth grade wondering how anyone could possibly choose to go to school for the rest of their life, and left planning which of my teacher’s methods I would carry into my future classroom. So, what changed? I guess I just had a really rocking time in fifth grade! I got straight A’s for the first time in my life, I had some really great friends, and a teacher I revered. Soon, I realized it wasn’t just fifth grade that was wonderful, it was my entire educational career up until that point. One night, in an attempt to spread my appreciation for learning, I sat on my kitchen floor forcing reading lessons upon my younger neighbor. My mom, who had been watching me as she made dinner, later came up to me and suggested the idea of becoming a reading specialist. While I didn’t find that specific path too exciting, it was at that moment that it occurred to me that just like school, teaching wasn't so lame either. Passing years only solidified my future in education. Regular babysitting and working in both a second and fifth grade classroom were not enough to scare me away, but instead fueled the fire.
When the time came to begin applying to universities, I was absolutely terrified of adulthood and responsibilities, and I had no idea what I was doing. I waited until the very last minute before I began blindly applying to schools. I still don’t know what drove me to include UW - La Crosse in my list, but it ended up as one of my top two choices due to its great reputation in the UW System, its location, and impressive education program. After visiting La Crosse, I knew it was the right fit; everyone is so friendly and active, the scenery is breathtaking, and there is no shortage of fun things to do. Between the small class sizes, easy communication with faculty, textbook rental, and so many other resources, it’s clear the school puts a lot into student care. The group of instructors in the School of Education are quick to communicate with one another and their students. I am not a number; my education is individualized, and my career is important.
I am really thankful for all of the opportunities and experiences that have been presented to me in my short time here. Since starting college in the fall of 2015 I have learned a lot about myself and my place in the world. I’ve done loads of volunteering, made some really great friends, and tutored and taught sixth graders after school. I am so proud to be an Eagle (I promise I’m not being forced to say this, I just really love it here) and while I have a long way to go and a lot more to accomplish, I’m so excited to continue studying education and to continue my journey with you all!