When choosing a college, I decided that I wanted to attend a small, Christian university in Indiana. I was looking for an institution that provided a rigorous academic environment that was firmly rooted in a Christian worldview.
After visiting a couple of other Christian colleges, Anderson was a breath of fresh air. During my visit, it was clear to my parents and me that both the academic and student life atmospheres were authentic. I met with a representative from the AU School of Education on my initial visit, and all of my questions were answered. After this meeting, I had a clear vision of what my academic life in the SOE would look like.
From an academic and technical standpoint, the SOE presented a rigorous and thorough four-year program. There were many checkpoints along the way in which I was required to show growth in my knowledge of pedagogy, professionalism, and my work with students.
In my four years at AU, I spent time in rural, suburban, and urban schools. I was in both public and private schools. I worked with students during a normal school day, after school programs, small group tutoring, and individual tutoring. Every placement was unique, and I spent time in every grade level K-6 in my four years.
I also appreciated the way that faith was integrated with academics. It was clear that Christian foundations ran throughout every aspect of the university, yet it was not overbearing nor stifling, which was something I experienced on my visits to other colleges. In my courses, I was able to learn how to live a life of Christian service in a public setting. My professors exemplified how to do this.
One of the most important aspects of my experience in the SOE was the availability of mentors at all times. If I had experienced a challenging day at practicum, I could drop by the office or email a professor and they would make time to debrief and problem-solve with me. I never felt insecure about discussing my shortfalls or areas that needed improvement. The professors never had an air of judgment — their goals were to see that I became as prepared as possible to enter the classroom as a teacher. These same mentors continue to encourage and support me even as I have begun my own career.
I am currently a 6th grade math teacher at an intermediate school. I have large classes and work in a community that is growing in diversity (socioeconomic, ethnic, student needs) each year. The transition from AU to my career was fairly smooth. I was aware of and understood the current policies, research, and best practices that would affect me as a classroom teacher. I knew I had been prepared well, so I was confident with the tools and resources I had been given as I entered the classroom for the first time on my own.
BA 2009, Anderson University
Elementary Education major (character education specialization)
Currently teaching 6th grade math