UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls
What did you like best about your program?
The elementary education program was great for two reasons: the faculty and the amount of time spent student teaching. My professors had valuable experience and knowledge that they shared in engaging ways. They also took the time to get to know their students. As for student teaching, I know people who have done teacher education programs at other colleges, and I feel like the elementary education program at UW-River Falls gave me many more opportunities than those other universities to connect with teachers in a variety of school districts. That's important because those connections are vital to getting a job in the education field. I would easily recommend this program to others.
In what ways did your UWRF education help you to find a job?
In the education field, getting a job is all about whom you know. Hundreds of people apply for teaching positions. The hardest part is getting your application to stand out. If your resume contains a reference from someone in the particular school district that you're applying, you have a much better chance for it to be noticed. The multiple student-teaching placements, rapport with my professors and my reputation as a hard-worker helped me find my job.
How are you using what you learned here in daily life?
As a preschool teacher last year, I used strategies that I had learned in my student-teaching placement to create a more positive classroom dynamic. Now that I am a first-grade teacher, I find myself using the classroom community activities I created in Block II frequently, as well as the child guidance techniques I learned in Early Childhood Management. When I am looking for books that are a specific genre, I can always look back at my reading log from Dr. Gay Ward's Children's Literature class. UWRF taught me how to work hard. It also taught me to never lose sight of the fact that I'm teaching little humans who have hearts and just want to be cared for.
What advice do you have for new students?
Enjoy college! Try some of the events on campus. Go to the etiquette dinner. (Not attending one is my biggest regrets.) Make sure to visit all of the outdoor art installations each fall. Live with people who have a different major. It will make you a well-rounded person. Take a few classes that are not a part of your major, especially any of the studio art classes. Get to know the other students in your program. Once you graduate, they will be feeling all the same anxieties about being in the real world. Then, once you all get jobs, you can share in all of the triumphs and heart-breaks of your profession.