Joseph Boyer, age 26, MiT '12, Clover Park High School Humanities Teacher
Education: B.A. Western Washington University, M.A. University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Endorsement Area: Secondary Social Studies/History
Why Evergreen: I chose to attend Evergreen because the overall mission of the program fit with my beliefs and expectations as an educator. In addition, the program gives a lot of ‘bang’ for your ‘buck.’ You have personally-invested and dedicated faculty that are committed to teaching and mentoring their students. Your same faculty stay with you during your student teaching and that is something that certainly makes this program unique in my point of view.
How I Make It Work: I am able to attend the MiT program without taking out any student loans. I received a partial scholarship for my first year in the program due to my academic record and community service, and was also awarded a tuition waiver for my first year from the MiT program. I work two part-time jobs, one as a private tutor and one as a graduate assistant in the MiT office. I commute two hours a day, and Evergreen is certainly supportive of my needs as a commuter—there is always parking, the fees are inexpensive, and classes do not start until 9:00 am.
What I Like So Far: I think the single thing that stands out the most to me as a positive result of this program is the close collaborative nature of my cohort. I am not alone in tackling tough and complex issues, tasks, and assignments. I routinely get opportunities to work with other dedicated pre-service professionals and this allows for a great amount of personal and communal growth.
Christie Tran, age 34, MiT '11, River Ridge High School Arts Teacher
Education/Career Background: B.S., Illustration - Utah State University, Free-lance Illustrator/Graphic Designer, Volunteer Military Family Readiness Group Leader
Endorsement Area: Visual Arts and Reading
Why Evergreen: I visited the website and was impressed with Evergreen's mission statement. For the first time, I felt that an MiT program shared my perspective on student-centered education, the promotion of equity, and social justice. The tuition was manageable and as a military spouse, I was willing to take the chance that my family might receive orders to move in the middle of the program. I felt this was a rare opportunity for me to become a teacher that was truly prepared to affect positive change.
How I Make It Work: Contributing to a savings account over the last 5 years provided for most of my tuition costs. Putting in the time and effort to apply for the Spouses Career Advancement Account grant offered through MilitaryOneSource also helped with covering tuition as well as books and some transportation expenses. My family has taken on more responsibilities at home which has been a necessity for me to be able to accomplish as much as I do as a student. The friends that I have made in the cohort have also helped by reminding me to take time to relax, make crafts, and have a life outside of the program.
What I Like So Far: This program has truly served to expand my concept of what public education is, what it could be, and how I can effectively facilitate changes in education through teaching that supports democracy, respect for multiculturalism, environmental sustainability, and social justice in an increasingly global world. I am also honored to be a part of a cohort that shares these goals and who are there to challenge as well as support one another throughout our learning experiences together.
Leah Baugh, age 26, MiT '12, Seattle School District Substitute
Education/Career Background: B.A., Anthropology - James Madison University Non-Profit Environmental Educator & Event Planner
Endorsement Area: Middle Level Humanities
Why Evergreen: Growing up in the Washington, D.C. area, I have always been interested in the connections between history, politics, and culture. That, and my experiences as a camp counselor, anthropology major, and environmental educator all drove me to become a middle-school humanities teacher. I knew I wanted a program that would support my interests in interdisciplinary education and prepare me to run a democratic, community-oriented classroom. I chose Evergreen’s MIT program because of its reputation of producing teachers who are both effective and passionate about social justice in the classroom.
How I Make It Work: Evergreen was one of the most affordable programs I found in Washington – and seemed to offer the most quality education. I’ve been able to make it work through the Americorps award-matching scholarship, financial aid loans, and work-study. Also, moving to Olympia was a no-brainer… it is a fantastic town with great people, and the rent is cheap!
What I Like So Far: The connections I’ve made with the cohort and faculty. This program is structured so that you are always collaborating with and learning from your colleagues. I am constantly challenged, supported, and inspired by those around me to become a better teacher.
Jennifer Pasternak, MiT '12, Special Education Teacher in Kansas
I have wanted to become a teacher since I was in high school. Since I graduated, I have worked towards this goal by being a substitute teacher, fostering children, raising my own children, and owning and operating a home daycare. I have also spent many years working with adults and children with disabilities in both school and work environments. During this time, I didn’t think it was an affordable option to go back to school to get a teaching degree. While I was investigating various colleges for my 18 year old son, I discovered The Evergreen State College Master in Teaching Program. While exploring the MiT Program, I realized that I could actually fulfill my dream of becoming a full-fledged teacher in a regular school environment. There were several deciding factors for me, all of which were enough for me to sell my home and my car, quit my job and leave my family to move 2,000 miles to attend the MiT Program. To complicate matters, my son in the meantime decided on a college closer to home, and is now attending a college more than 2,000 miles away from me.
One of the deciding factors that was most important to me in choosing The Evergreen State College MiT Program was the financial aid choices that were available to me. I am paying out of state tuition and supporting a family as a single parent with no outside employment while attending the program. The heavy costs of tuition and living expenses are covered by the generous financial aid package that I was awarded. I can only attend classes and still be able to support my family due to a scholarship that I applied for and received, work study, a TEACH grant and graduate student loans. This is what made the program very affordable to me. The availability of work study is invaluable to me, because it allows me to earn a portion of my tuition and living expenses in a flexible, educational environment that is conveniently located within walking distance to all of my classes. It was also an incentive to me that up to $17,500 of my graduate student loans may be forgiven in a federal program if I choose to teach for 5 years in a targeted school.
Another significant factor in choosing the Evergreen MiT Program was the daytime hours that the courses are offered this year. If not for the daytime classes, I could not attend at all. As a single parent with children in school activities during the hours of 8:45 am to 3:30 pm Monday through Friday, I needed a program that worked within those hours. The Evergreen MiT program fits very snugly within those hours. I turned down several other programs that only offered classes in the evenings because I would not be able to spend quality time with my children if I was away from them from 8:45 am to after 9:15 pm 4- 5 days a week with required evening classes. I also could not afford the upwards of $1,000 a month just for evening childcare. The savings in childcare alone make the program significantly more affordable and convenient for parents with young children in school.
I also weighed the benefits of having a block program versus individual classes that went year round. It is very beneficial to me to have one focus each block, even as diverse and detailed as that block is. It is refreshing to go through the entire two years with the same group of people and the same faculty. I appreciate the benefits of having a diverse, open-minded classroom in which I can learn to teach in the most effective way to as many students as possible. The Evergreen State College Master in Teaching Program was the best choice for me due to its affordability, financial aid, daytime hours, block scheduling and the unequaled high quality of learning.