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Student Story: Abby LeBaron

I love learning, and graduate school was a natural choice, so I first began the Master of Arts program, with a secondary-level certificate in English Language Arts.

But during an orientation weekend, I heard Dr. Scott Beers speak about the Master’s of Education in Literacy and how I could, with an extra year, become certified and endorsed for Language Arts, as well as receive training in literacy with an endorsement in reading. I made a switch to the MEd in Literacy and Certification program.

Seeing students succeed in school ― and life ― has so much to do with their literacy levels, and I firmly believe that literacy is a basic civil right that many students do not fully possess. As a secondary-level teacher, I know that many students in middle and high school still struggle with reading and writing, and that this greatly hinders their academic progress and self-efficacy. It was Dr. Beers’ introduction concerning literacy that made me realize that not only do I want to teach Language Arts, but I also want to teach students the life skills that will allow them to flourish and thrive.

Teaching is a daily act that requires an awareness of one’s self, beliefs, philosophy, likes, and dislikes. It tests your identity to the core. My personal faith has grown as my professors weaved metaphors of teaching and persistence through biblical examples and Scriptures.

That gave me the opportunity to reflect throughout the program about where I must realign my personal beliefs with my identity as a teacher. I have a strong moral compass based on grace, faith, and my personal relationship with Jesus Christ, but I am also a teacher in a public setting. This master’s program offered me the chance to reflect on who I am in the classroom through my own responses and reactions with fellow teachers, peers, and the students.

I want to grow continually in my instructional practices, in my relationships with families and community members, and within my own ideals of an effective classroom. Now on the job hunt, I have a hard time imagining where or what my first true classroom will look like. But I know that my educational foundation is solid ― and so is my personal belief that every child deserves to learn and can learn. I will be there to facilitate that learning and see my students take on the responsibilities that come with their right to education.

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