As educators, we know (at least) one thing to be true. Education is all about effective relationship-building, and nurturing those relationships to reach students.
It seems counter-intuitive then, to break into this field through an online program where the student is largely walled off from face-to-face communication. That’s why it’s important to find the right program that affords you the right opportunities to be with real people. American College of Education's Transition to Teaching program is designed to prepare prospective educators for their chosen field while providing the latitude to be in a classroom setting and exercise those relationship-building skills.
In early 2016, I was all set to attend Western Governors University to jumpstart my move into the education field. I had an advisor that was working with me to set up my classes, start time, and everything else.
Thanks to targeted advertising, Facebook figured out I was in the market for an advanced degree. One day, while browsing the web at my then-job at the Evansville Courier and Press, I saw an ad on the side of my Facebook newsfeed for ACE. I had never heard of ACE, but I checked it out right away.
I was immediately intrigued by the affordability of the Transition to Teaching program, so I dug deeper. I found that ACE’s program was on the list of approved and recommended programs by the Indiana Department of Education. I looked up the class structure and requirements, and I was sold.
I canceled my plans with WGU and enrolled in ACE's T2T program in April 2016. The first class I took required that I observe classes in two separate schools.
Right away, I was thrust into a classroom setting and able to put into practice what I was learning by seeing it play out in real classrooms. I was also able to make connections with local educators and administrators, and pick the brains of the teachers I observed. I was full of questions at this point of my journey. For someone transitioning from one field to education, this experience was invaluable.
Each assignment carried practical, real-life application opportunities. The most valuable experience, though, was the student teaching portion of the program, which took place at the end of the year-long program. My situation was unique in that I was (fortunately) hired at a high school before I got to that point. Still, I had to complete that portion of the program, and that experience provided more focused coaching from my mentor and professor and a much-needed framework as I closed out my first year of teaching.
Initially, even before I researched WGU or ACE, my search for programs led me to local traditional brick-and-mortar schools. That’s all I’d ever known in my years of schooling. In fact, I’d never taken an online class in any capacity.
While those programs prepare students effectively, I was able to get everything I needed—and more!—to prepare for my teaching career through ACE’s program. Its integrated structure places a high value on real-world application and experience for its students, and that made it all the more impactful for me.