I spent several years considering my options to become a teacher. Some things that concerned me were making sure I still had time for my family, being sure we were in a good place financially (since you cannot hold a full-time position while student teaching), getting the knowledge and experience that would make me a great educator, and making sure I would be able to pay for this new adventure.
Western Governor's University was something that I had researched as a licensure path for a long time. Their courses are self-paced and when you pay for a term, you can complete as many classes as you want in that six month period. Their pricing is also very reasonable and there are no textbooks to buy. I was even able to apply for a TEACH Grant for my course of study. They also make sure that graduates of their program will be eligible for a teaching license in their state. This can be a little tricky because WGU is based in Utah, but the make absolutely sure that you will able to get a license. Due to this fact, they only offer certain licensures for each state, so do your research.
I earned two Master's with WGU. The first earned me an initial license in teaching Life Science for grades seven through twelve. With observation and student teaching requirement, this took me three terms. The second, let me add Integrated Mathematics for the same grade band. Student teaching experience is greatly abbreviated for already licensed teachers and I was able to complete my second degree in only six months, or one term.
Is WGU right for everyone? Absolutely not. WGU wants you to succeed and assigns a mentor to help keep you accountable. There are also course instructors that reach out to help. Student success resources have a wide range, but if you are not self-motivated, it is easy to not answer calls and emails and let that six months that you are paying for tick away with no progress. You have to want it and be willing to put in the work. This could mean asking for help watching a little one so you can get a test completed, working late after work, or sneaking studies in during breaks. It is doable, but you have to make the commitment to yourself that you will get it done. Again, you are not alone. Your mentor will help you come up with short and long term goals and instructors will support you academically, but you must do the work.
To get through your courses, there are two types of evaluations, or tasks, you may have to complete: objective assessments, performance assessments, or a combination of the two. Objective assessments are like a traditional multiple choice test. Something I love about these assessments is that each has a pretest that you can take and it will help you find what specific areas you need to study. I always liked to take this once, go over questions and areas I missed, then retake the practice test before taking on the real thing. Don't forget, this is a virtual program, so when you are ready to take your assessment, just schedule with the online proctor service, set up your webcam, and complete your assessment in the comfort of your own home. Another great aspect of this program is that these "tests" are graded immediately, no waiting to find out if you passed.
Performance assessments, on the other hand, can encompass a wide variety of written work. You could be submitting observation hours, writing reflection essays, creating lesson plans, or answering a variety of questions. These are completely open book, just be sure to properly cite any sources you use. These do take a little longer to receive feedback because an evaluator will go over the rubric that you are provided when you read the assignment and they will give personalized feedback on the task. Currently, WGU's goal is to get these back to you in 72 hours. If there are any parts that you did not pass right away, you can just fix that area and resubmit the assignment. Questions on why you missed something? This is a great time to reach out to your course instructor for assistance.
This is just a brief synopsis about some of WGU's benefits and how completing a course really works. If you are interested in furthering your education in a variety of subjects (information technology, nursing, business, education, or more), check out wgu.edu. Make sure you get the $65 off application voucher, so you can apply for free. Have your questions ready, because they will contact you ASAP to try to get you all the info you need to find the program that fits your needs. Happy learning!
Rayna Moore -
© 2021 by Rayna Moore