Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I finished my first class at WGU!

I finished my first class at WGU! Although, it was only the introductory class teaching me how to use WGU's website system. But hey, its one of the many credits that I will be receiving.

One assignment was to write a five paragraph essay. A simple essay, but a format that is used in elementary school. I had write about why I want to become a teacher. I wrote what I thought was a great essay, but my mentor told me that it didn't really follow the assignment. I was worried that I would have to start over again, but he also said that the assignment was to show if we could write well or not and I can write very well. Damn write! I'd better be a good writer, I only worked as a journalist for two years and then as a technical writer for three years and then as a blogger for two years.

I'm glad this course is finished. It was kinda frustrating having to take an introductory class. It was very helpful, but I wanted to get into the core classes as soon as possible.

I took a preassessment test to find out where I need to study and I think I injured my brain during that test. More on that in another post. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

My first class at WGU

I started my first class last week. Its called Education Without Boundaries. All WGU students have to take it as their first class. It teaches you how to use the WGU student portal website and how to work on your online degree. I thought this class would be easy, but it is actually a bit hard. There is a ton of information on the website and finding your way around could be a daunting task. This class helps you through all of that.

Before I started this class I was hoping to have it done in a week. But after a week long vacation last week and having to do other stuff this week I feel that I am getting behind. WGU wants me to have this class done by the end of the month, which won't be a problem, I was just hoping to finish it much faster. Oh well.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Conference call

I called into the Elementary Education orientation conference call conference call with WGU tonight. Not much of the info was new to me; I have read and re-read so much of the info on the internet and in the packet that the University sent me.

Although, we did talk about the amount of work that will be involved. There is a ton of work because we are working on our state certification plus the Masters degree. I wasn't surprised, but when the professor mentioned that during the first and second concentration areas will have over 25 assignments I heard several people gasping on the phone. What did they expect? This is a certification and masters program...Of course there is going to be work.

I did learn that if I plan things correctly and work very hard, I can have all of the classes finished for the state certification so that I could start the student teaching in August 2007. If I can do that, then I will be state certified close to the end of the year and could start applying and interviewing for licensed jobs that begin in January 2008. If I took this route, I would then finish the Masters while I am teaching as a licensed teacher. I would just have to make sure that I actually finish it at that point.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Waiting for school to start

I start classes on October 1. So now I just have to sit around and wait. I am started to substitute teach at my local school district and created another blog, My Path to Teaching, around my experiences there. I hope to get enough experience that by the time I do my student teaching I won't feel really out of place. Hopefully this won't backfire on me. I can see myself getting blacklisted from the district even before I start student teaching.

This Thursday I do have an Elementary Education orientation conference call conference call with WGU. I downloaded the Power Point presentation today and took a quick look at it. We will go over the Masters in Teaching program during the call. This includes different classes that I will be taking, the different types of assignments, and the different tests. Also, ways to get help, WGU communities, student teaching, and a lot of other stuff.

The presentation shows that this masters program can take 48 months based on a 20-25 hour week. I hope to have it finished under two years. If I stick with my plan of doing this full time, I can do that. I just have to be carefull not to get burned out of the program. I hope it will be fun, it should be, and hard too, but mixed with some fun.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Ouch! Paid my tuition today

My first term at WGU starts on October 1, 2006. So I had to pay for my first six months of classes. At WGU, you take as many classes as you can during your six month term. I am required to take somewhere around 8 credit hours, but I hope to take at least twice that amount. Each term will cost around $3K.

Even though the cost is much less than other programs in Utah and other states, I don't want to spend more time than necessary in the program.

They have a great system. If I don't finish all of the classes I signed up for, then I continue with them during the following six month term. This way, if did take too many classes or found one that was harder than the rest, I can take more time learning that topic.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Talked with my local school district about careers

I called up the school district that I live in, which is also the one I would like to work in. I wanted to make sure that I am making the right decision with attending WGU. I just wanted to make sure that they wouldn't look at my degree differently from those that are graduating from universities such as the U or USU.

The HR rep that I talked with said that they don't care what university you go to as long as it is accredited and you receive a teaching license for the State of Utah.

I also asked what the competition is like for jobs in that district. The kind of laughed at that question. Basically, if I had my teaching certificate right now I would probably get a teaching job there.

The district looks at three major items during the interview process. You have to have a Utah teachers licence, of course. You have to have passed the Praxis Content Test. And they look at your teaching evaluations from your student teaching.

That last item, the student teaching evaluations, is the most important. All of my competition are going to have the licence and will have past the Praxis test. So I will have to make myself stand out during my student teaching. I will have to make sure that I am always happy, smiling, teaching and all of that other stuff that I will be learning.

I also asked if they are looking at out-of-state applicants more, because the elementary school by my house just hired several teachers from other states. The district HR rep said they did that because not enough teachers in Utah are applying at this school district.

The HR rep sounded very excited that I getting a masters degree, teachers certificate, and then looking at their school district for employment. They are having a hard time attracting teachers because they just changed their retirement benefits and health benefits. But almost no company or organization is offering benefits like they used to. I'm not worried about that at all, so it looks like my career has a bright future ahead.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

My intake interview

As part of the application process, I had a short "intake interview" over the phone with my admissions counselor.

According to WGU, The intake interview is an important "checkpoint" to make sure we have all the correct information for you to begin. The interview includes a review of your program of interest, understanding of the WGU model, tuition and payment, and any questions you may have.

We talked for about 15 minutes and covered each of those topics. The Masters in Education plus the teaching certificate is not going to be easy, but I feel even better about the program after talking with my enrollment counselor again.

I start the program on October 1, 2006. As long as they get my transcripts from USU in time.