Meet Kelly - 5th Grade Teacher
"God just orchestrated things so that they just fell into place." Kelly reflects, sitting peacefully in her 5th grade classroom. "I love it."
Transitioning to teaching had been on her mind for years – always hesitantly dismissed, waiting for the "right time. Maybe when my kids are in high school? Or out of high school?" Becoming a single mother forced the decision: teach or return to the business world after a 16-year absence.
Accounting degree in hand, Kelly started her career as a bank auditor, then office manager before leaving the workforce to stay home with her young daughter, with a son soon to follow. When he entered kindergarten, Kelly began working in their school so she could be on their same schedule.
One year turned into eight, as Kelly served in a variety of roles – guiding reading groups for the Title 1 Department, substitute teaching, and as a paraprofessional for special needs students. So, when she had to decide between teaching and business, she "felt like God was just calling me to teaching. I loved working with kids; just knowing you are making a difference with your life. So, I just decided — I've got to do this!"
Kelly checked out a couple of Transition to Teaching programs before finding Taylor’s. Going back to school had to fit around being a single mom and working two jobs. Taylor was simply "the best fit. I could do it from home. It was perfect!"
So, for the next year, Kelly balanced it all. Chauffeuring her kids to school, being present with them at mealtimes. Working during the day as a special needs aide and some evenings at church doing accounting work. Studying on lunch breaks, some evenings, and either all day Saturday or Sunday. This pace was "very difficult, but at the same time, it was a goal that I was reaching for myself and that gave me a purpose during that time."
"I knew that God had His hand on this the whole time because He just
kept opening doors right from the very start, right from the time when I looked into doing this program."
"A year later, I was finished with it! I couldn't believe it!" —all 8 classes, including 10 weeks of student teaching. She attacked the program one course at a time, at her pace of one module per week. Finding it to be "a great program — very reasonable amount of work and time." And, about the coursework "I liked the variety", which included research, essays, videos, and more.
"Everyone was so helpful there. They [the professors] got back to me within a very reasonable amount of time on any questions. They were very easy to work with." Kelly especially appreciated Dr. Medows, Director of Licensure Programs, who observed her student teaching. "Her presence was so sweet and gentle and accepting and encouraging. I knew Pam was going to pick out those things she saw me doing right and encourage me." Dr. Medows supported Kelly’s aggressive goal of student teaching in the spring so she'd be ready to enter the job market in the fall, saying: “I’m not quite sure that we can meet that goal, but I’m going to trust you. Let’s try to go for it.” Kelly "appreciated that she gave me that opportunity."
And, she was hired as a 5th grade teacher soon after!
Ultimately, Kelly felt prepared to have her own classroom. Her time at Taylor "was an incredible experience of actually growing my faith because of what I was going through in my personal life. I loved how every class and every professor had you integrate your faith into your teaching."