I am a wife, a mother to four beautiful girls, a preschool teacher, and… a student in the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program at EKU specializing in Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education (IECE) content. As I approach my final semester in the MAT IECE program, I cannot be more thankful for this experience and would like to pass along information to those considering going back to school to earn a teaching certificate.
How did I do it?
Sometimes I ask myself that very question. Balancing work and family are hard enough, so it wasn’t an easy decision to add graduate courses to the mix. However, the MAT IECE classes are set up to meet the needs of students who are working and have families. For me personally, I have tried to set up a schedule that worked around my family’s needs, my work needs and the requirements of my class assignments. Sometimes I work on assignments and do research after I put the kids to bed and then rise early and finish my assignments before they wake up. There were many weekends when I spent the days going to games or other activities for my children and the evenings working on my class assignments. The program offered the flexibility to do what worked best for my family and me.
In April of 2021, the middle of my program, I had my fourth child. During the hectic and often confusing times of Covid, I was teaching online and in-person, taking classes, and caring for a baby along with my three older girls, who are now 11 and 9 (twins). Oh, and I also moved to a new city and started teaching in a new school district as well. If I can manage all of this, I assure you – you can too!
The MAT program has a very supportive culture including advisors, faculty, and peers in my cohort. Every professor has been available if I needed him/her. When I have made mistakes, professors have been understanding. I remember on one occasion I had completed and submitted an assignment in one of my classes. The next evening while I was rocking my (then) 8-month-old to sleep, I realized I did the assignment incorrectly. In a bit of a panic, I emailed my professor. The issue was fixed quickly, and I was able to continue with peace of mind. They want us to succeed.
Confidence in my Preparation
As I start my fourth year of teaching preschool, now under the Option 6 alternate certificate, I realize how much I have grown as a teacher. I continue to learn new ideas and concepts with each class I take.
If you are on the fence about starting the EKU MAT program, you can do it. What a joy it will be in December to show my family, my co-workers and even myself that I did it!
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