Searching for grad schools is difficult. Unlike the undergraduate university hunt, you don’t have guidance counselors throwing due dates at you. You don’t have SAT’s scheduled and your parents pushing you to study. Applying to graduate school is a very independent process. You need to search for the program that will satisfy your needs as a student and future professional, as opposed to applying to 6 of the 10 Best Party Schools in America. For me, I needed an education program that would, in two years, manage to provide me with the best experience and knowledge I could get to prepare me for my future. Stumbling across UNH’s M.Ed. program in Elementary Education, I realized how perfectly tailored to my needs it is. UNH does not have an undergraduate major in education. It’s as though you should be an expert in a subject prior to learning how to teach it, which I believe is a great philosophy.
Many students in my program are a part of the Accelerated Master’s segment, in which accepted students are able to take courses for dual-credit and finish both undergrad and graduate school within five years’ time. I, however, chose a different path; I am spending a full year in classes, and next year I will be completing the internship—a full year student teaching at an elementary school. I have just recently started “the process.” This process involves choosing a cluster of offered schools, and, essentially, speed dating the cooperating teachers until I have found one who I believe will be able to instruct, guide, and encourage me on my journey. Having just gone to a breakfast at East Kingston Elementary, followed by visits with some teachers, I feel completely comfortable with putting my faith into this process. My advisor, Tom Schram, helps every student, and cooperating teacher, involved in the internship by being a glorified wingman of sorts: delivering messages between students and teachers, encouraging both contact and risk taking. He is truly a huge asset to the department, as well as the program’s, successes.
I cannot wait to find my perfect cooperating teacher. Having had the opportunity to sit down with some of this year’s interns, I can recognize that for the 2013-2014 academic year, my relationship with this teacher will be of utmost importance. I am so excited to see what else these next few months have in store for me! Deciding which school, and teacher, to pursue my internship with will truly determine the type of teacher I will become. Having the opportunity to work in a school for a full year is one that not many schools offer; however, schools all over New Hampshire jump at the opportunity to allow UNH interns, students, and prospects to work in their classrooms. Various professionals I have met told me they received their Master’s from UNH, or that they know someone who has. I can give myself a big ol’ pat on the back for finding a program that is designed to help me succeed not only as a student, but as a future teacher.