Minda’s Experience Far Exceeded Her Expectations
Minda Moskowitz came to Vermont State University’s Johnson campus to earn her Vermont teaching license. Her experience here “far exceeded” her expectations, she said.
“Yes, I expected to take courses that would lead to a Vermont teaching credential. But what I received was insightful guidance from educational experts who prepared me for my reimagined teaching career,” Minda said.
Minda’s journey as a teacher began “a long time ago,” she said when she taught French in New York. After raising her daughter and undergoing some larger life changes, she moved from New York to Stowe, Vermont. Wanting to teach again and needing a Vermont teaching license to do so, Minda decided to enroll.
A Master’s Level Program to Fit Her Needs
However, since Minda already held a master’s degree in French from New York University, she wasn’t eligible to enroll in the undergraduate Education program. In response, faculty created a master’s level program for her — Master of Arts in Education: Curriculum and Instruction, Inclusive Childhood Education, through which she earned her teaching licensure and endorsements in elementary and special education.
“Special education wasn’t on my radar,” Minda said, but “David [McGough, professor of Education] encouraged me to add it.” The addition has helped her to stand out in the job application process and also opened doors to a wider range of opportunities than she would have had without it. The second master’s degree has also increased her earning potential.
Minda began to apply for positions before she graduated and received a call from Hardwick Elementary School right away. “Special education unlocked the door,” she said.
She taught first grade and then third grade at Hardwick Elementary before moving on to Marion Cross School. Through a Transcript Review process and a supportive school principal at Marion Cross, Minda added a French teaching endorsement to her license. She taught third and fifth-grade French and worked as a Title I tutor during her first year there, and the following year she taught French to pre-K, third, and fifth grades and worked as an educational assistant.
In March 2020, Minda abruptly shifted to teaching remotely when Vermont schools closed for in-person instruction due to COVID-19. She continued to teach remotely during the summer of 2020, working with eight special education students as part of the Extended School Year program. “Teaching remotely makes it much easier for many students to learn, without worrying about peer pressure,” Minda said.
Minda’s flexibility, as well as her many endorsements, have allowed her to nimbly move among roles as schools adjust to the changing needs of the children. The MA program also offered the flexibility that Minda needed. “Anytime I needed a course, and it didn’t fit into my schedule, I completed it through independent study,” she said. David McGough also helped her to get a job as a writing coach in Academic Advising while she was in school, a position which she says “was both positive and reaffirming.”
Of the program, Minda says she learned a lot about herself — which is important “because it affects how you treat others and the children.” She incorporates the process of “reflective thinking” she learned into her everyday life. “Every day, I ask myself what I could have done better instead of berating myself. It’s a mindset. And a huge life-changing approach.”