Choosing the right graduate school is an important decision – one that you shouldn't take lightly. One of the best ways to inform your decision is by talking to students and alumni who have been in your place. A little encouragement and a few tips from people who have been through the same experience can be reassuring. The following MIT alums discuss why Whitworth's MIT program was the best fit for them.
Employer: Central Valley School District
Job Title: Third-grade teacher, Adams Elementary
Describe your greatest joy as a teacher.
To be a teacher is to have an impact on children every day; each day, I can leave work and know that I did my part to make the world a better place. Going back to school to become a teacher enabled me to put my strengths and passions to work in an amazing field in which I can leave a positive, long-term impact.
How did Whitworth's program help prepare you as a teacher?
One of the best ways Whitworth's MIT program helped prepare me was by placing me in an amazing classroom with a talented mentor teacher for an entire academic year. Student-teaching for a full year enabled me to see the entire process -- setting up the classroom, running the first day, parent-teacher conferences, field trips -- through the end of the year. Also, the constant rigor and my professors' high expectations translated directly into the arduous evaluation and certification process one faces as an educator.
What did you like best about Whitworth's MIT program?
One of the things I liked best about the program was the cutting-edge focus. We discussed hot topics in education daily, and we were given the tools and practice not only to keep up in the field of education, but actually to excel and lead it.
How has Whitworth's program helped connect you with other community members, mentors, and/or school administrators?
Many of them were my teachers in the program. I got to see them at work, and they saw me at work and offered invaluable critiques. The mentor teachers we connected with for the year were some of the most impressive teachers I have ever met. They opened their classrooms and their hearts to us and helped mold us into prepared educators. These connections in the community are truly invaluable. When a new teacher is looking for a reference or a job, these respected colleagues assist and encourage.
Employer: Pioneer School; Spokane Valley, Wash. (Pioneer School is a nonprofit education organization serving gifted, talented and highly capable students.)
Job Title: Fourth- and fifth-grade teacher and science curriculum specialist
Why did you choose Whitworth?
I researched master-in-teaching programs in the Spokane area, and I found that the MIT program at Whitworth is the one that repeatedly receives the highest recommendations. And teachers I had worked with and admired for their teaching styles were Whitworth MIT graduates. The founder of Pioneer School, where I am currently employed, graduated from Whitworth with a master’s degree.
How has the program helped you in your current position?
I started the MIT program knowing I would emerge a middle-school science teacher. Yet, after one year of working as such, I find myself in a four/five combination general-education classroom. The elementary program did a great job of preparing me to meet the needs of students in the K-8 range. During literacy class I discovered that teaching science did not supersede the need to teach reading. Reading truly is fundamental.
I entered the MIT program with the knowledge that I did not want to teach high school. I wanted to teach middle school, and if I was going to move in one direction, it would be to intermediate or primary grades. I left the program with the knowledge that I was ready to meet the challenge. Any apprehension that I had entering the program was long lost by the time I sat in my first interview. The confidence I had in that interview, due to the preparation provided in the MIT program, landed me the job.
How does/did the schedule work for you?
The 13-month program, while challenging, worked well for me to complete my MIT. Other programs offer lighter scheduling and spread the program out over two full years. This might make it more manageable for some, but getting the program done quickly gets you into the workforce in a shorter time. Total immersion in the program and the integration of coursework across the curriculum, with one course feeding the others, was a wonderful way to learn and to earn my degree.
Whitworth Master in Teaching Program graduates are making a difference in their lives by making a difference in the lives of students.