I was recently accepted to the Early Childhood - Middle Childhood Program in The University of Wisconsin - La Crosse’s Department of Educational Studies. In order to apply, I needed to have a minimum of 24 credits, have completed and passed EDS 203 (School and Society), have at least a 2.85 GPA, and have had received passing scores on the basic skills test. The most common test is the Praxis Core, which is kind of like another ACT, but only for aspiring teachers. It consists of math, reading, and writing subtests. The good news is, though, if you get a certain score on your ACT or SAT, it is enough to fulfill that requirement (so I didn’t have to take it - holla!) If you’d like more information about these requirements, here are some handy links: http://catalog.uwlax.edu/undergraduate/educationalstudies/ https://www.uwlax.edu/educational-studies/admission-requirements/ec-mc-admission/
The application required that I provide my name, phone number, home address, and a statement on what I hope to accomplish as a teacher. This is something that is very important to think about and will be asked often, including in applications to jobs or schools of ed (wink). In fact, it’s once of the twelve WECAN questions (WECAN is like the common app for teaching jobs in Wisconsin). I always find myself considering what I hope to accomplish as a teacher. With every new education class, classroom experience, attended workshop/presentation/conference, or reflection on my own education, it becomes more refined. So, of course, it is only appropriate that I share with you what I expressed to be my own goals as a teacher.
I could have discussed an overwhelming desire as an educator to meet all of the common core standards for my students' grade level, accomplish each class objective for the year, have my students’ test scores reach exceptional levels, and develop deep personal relationships with each of them - all of which are true! However, my first priority and ultimate goal is to educate young minds and enrich them as individuals during their time in my class. Every child that walks into my classroom has a different mind, is of a different background, and has a different future, and I must adapt to that. I want to do right by my students and leave them a little more prepared, a little better off in life, and filled with a little more knowledge than they were when they first came to me, whether I make it through the entire syllabus or not. I do not want to waste my students’ time, but instead I want them to feel valued and capable. I want them to exemplify competence in and out of the classroom. When my students move on from my classroom feeling more satisfied, confident, and successful compared to when they came to me, then I will have accomplished my responsibilities and hopes as their teacher.
I’m not going into education to be twenty-six eight-year-olds’ bff (though I would be pumped if that was the case). I’m doing it because I value education, the purpose of school, and what can be gained from it, provided students receive a proper experience. When I’m in a classroom I’m there to teach, to be a medium for learning, whether or not the students like it or me; I want to make a difference, even if it’s just a wrinkle of one. I will not be someone who pours knowledge into children’s heads, but I will draw understanding out of my students. School is a place that nourishes cognitive development. At school we gain knowledge, wisdom, social skills, and life experience; we progressively come to understand ourselves - who we are, what we like and believe, and how we can contribute to society. I have every intention of making those purposes of school and branches of knowledge just as much of a priority as knowing how to spell “pedagogy” (not that it will be an expectation that all of my eight-year-olds learn to spell pedagogy, but, you get me).
There is a lot more to be done before I actually get to turn my bark into bite, but this acceptance is one step closer to being able to do so. I am now eligible to enroll in more courses, join more student organizations for future educators, and begin working toward more teacher candidate exams, field experiences, student teaching, and even becoming licensed. As I progress through my program, my goals will inevitably adjust, and my philosophy will be tweaked, and I’m so excited to see how my ideals develop because of this amazing open door!