Interview with Kyle
Tell us a little bit about yourself and why you enrolled in the act! program.
Kyle - act! graduate
My name is Kyle. I enrolled in the act! Program in 2010. I think the act! program was my top choice to come back after working for seven years to get my teaching license, due to its flexibility with my work schedule. It allowed me to take one class a semester and still work full time, so that was an advantage of the act! program. I could take a class at any campus in the state of Wisconsin and it would transfer in. I tended to move around quite a bit every couple of years so it was nice to either take a class online or go to a specific UW campus within a half hour to 45-minute drive.
How was your experience in the act! program?
With the support that I had I was able to keep my job and go through the program instead of having to put the financial burden on my wife. We didn’t have to change our jobs for me to go back to school, which was nice. The most challenging part of the program was preparing for the Praxis II exam. The Praxis I exam wasn’t too difficult. You can’t really take a class to tell you how to take the Praxis II and how to prepare, so I did a lot of research on the ETS website, the Praxis website, downloaded some of the practice exams, bought some of the practice exams and took a couple of those. That helped me prepare for the Praxis II and refresh my memory on a lot of the content that I was going to be tested on. Other than that the act! program prepared me well for becoming a teacher. The resources here, the advisors, were very supportive and had some good constructive feedback for me, especially during student teaching when they came to observe me at my locations.
How did the act! program allow you to gain a well rounded student teaching experience?
The student teaching experience was very nice for me because I was able to work in a very small district, enrollment K-12 was about 400, and a very large district, which was a very challenging district to be in and had a lot larger class size, so it gave me the ability to work and see two different size districts and how they go about teaching math to their students and the levels of math that are expected at each grade level varied so that was good for me to see. I got the experience to teach Algebra I, Algebra II, Pre-Calculus, Geometry, all those different levels of course and then the middle school also. So I was able to teach pretty much any course that you are going to teach at the high school level other than calculus throughout my teaching experience.
Do you have any advice for those just entering the program?
My suggestion to those just entering the program would be to make as many connections as you can with other school districts [while in the program]. So if there is a school district that you're interested in – apply, or even ask the program advisors if they know of any districts that are hiring or will be hiring that are in your area that you want to look at. Just contact as many schools as you are interested in and just let them know that you will be graduating and you're interested in working for their district, ask if there is anything you can do to make myself stand out as a potential candidate. Be proactive in making those connections with districts that you want to. Even though math and science are high need areas, it's still pretty competitive. The positions that I applied for and got interviewed at least ten candidates for each position, so anything to separate yourself [from other applicants] would be beneficial.