When I made a career transition from classroom teacher to literacy interventionist, I wanted to get my reading specialist endorsement, and I was thrilled to learn UM-Flint offered an MA in Literacy Ed program. The program is almost entirely online, so I can teach, parent my 2- and 4-year olds, and fit in the coursework when I choose.
The course I am currently enrolled in, EDR 532 Multicultural Children’s Literature, is challenging, but incredibly interesting, and I feel like I am applying what I learn almost instantly in my high school classroom. I am now so much more aware of critical theory and why we need multicultural literature for our students. The assignments throughout the course have pushed me both as a teacher and as a student. Probably the best part about it has been the opportunity to read and analyze a handful of truly great books. I have become familiar with so many titles and authors that I wasn’t before.
Classes like these have helped me grow academically and professionally. I have built a base of online resources and lists that I can use and direct other teachers toward when we have a chance to bring in new literature. I feel ready to help teachers take on the role of critical facilitator when discussing multicultural literature, and I am confident in my ability to analyze a book collection and make recommendations based on relevant criteria.
The faculty at UM-Flint have also been a defining feature of my graduate experience. When I wasn’t sure where to start, Dr. Waldron actually video-conferenced with me, and we planned my coursework from my couch. While Professor Knezek has provided me with a truly unbelievable level of support and continuous feedback and encouragement!
On a personal level, I have gained confidence in my ability to take classes and meet the objectives while working and taking care of my family. It’s been nine years since I took a class, and this was a major point of insecurity when I got started. I am so grateful for this opportunity to push myself as a learner and as a professional, while still being able to meet the needs of my family and my students! Go Blue!