Life changes led Joselyn to the CCV to NVU Pathway and a bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education.
While still in high school, Joselyn had worked as the assistant director of an afterschool program. She really enjoyed working with the kids, although the education field wasn’t in her career plans at the time. But life changes brought her back to it, which led her to the CCV to NVU Pathway and the bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education she will earn in spring 2021.
After high school, Joselyn earned her associate’s degree and easily passed the boards to work as a radiologic technician. But 2012 was a tough time to enter the workforce, she found. She had a number of interviews, but employers either wanted someone with more experience or staff that lived closer to the hospital, or both. With the clock ticking down the six-month grace period between graduation and when she’d need to start paying back her college loans, she had to find a job.
Remembering the afterschool program work and how she enjoyed it, Joselyn looked into teaching options and was hired as a substitute teacher. Her first assignment was to work as a paraeducator with a child with autism, and she fell in love with it. “I loved working with special needs kids,” she said. “It was both rewarding and challenging.”
So, she let her radiologic technician license go and continued on in education. Hired as a special education paraprofessional at Fisher Elementary School in Arlington, Vermont, she added behavioral intervention work with students from pre-K through grade 5 onto that role as well. She liked the work but once she had a child of her own, she needed a full-time job. She looked to the childcare field and was hired as an assistant teacher in the 3- and 4-year-old pre-K room at Bennington County Head Start.
Interested in returning to behavioral intervention work, Joselyn looked into the qualifications required and learned she needed a bachelor’s degree in a related field for such a position. So, Joselyn took her transcript from her associate’s degree to the Community College of Vermont (CCV) and said, “This is what I have. How can I do this?” There she learned she could get the bachelor’s degree she needed in the related field of Early Childhood Education (ECE) in five semesters with Northern Vermont University.
With the ECE experience hours required to enroll already earned through her employment, she only needed to take the Intro to Early Childhood Education course with CCV to be admitted. CCV also told her about a VSAC grant which would cover much of the cost of earning her bachelor’s degree. So, she signed up for the grant, took the CCV course, and applied to the NVU program. Accepted, Joselyn began the five-semester program in fall 2019 and will graduate in spring 2021 with her bachelor’s degree.
Joselyn needed to continue to work while taking classes, which worked fine as the program is fully online and asynchronous — meaning students learn and work on their own schedule. The class follows common assignment deadlines, and there are also group Zoom sessions where the students meet up and others that faculty join in, too.
Of the ECE program, Joselyn says, “It’s been great — super supportive and accommodating. My advisors have been great, and the registrar’s staff have, too.” Joselyn has really like that the students stay with the same teachers throughout the program. “We get to know them and they get to know us,” she said.
Educating the next generation is important work.
ECE students also stay with their cohort. “Even though we’re not physically in class together, we really get to know each other and have become a tight-knit community. We work in the same field and feel the same way about being teachers — that we’re educating the next generation and that it’s important work.”
“The bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education will open so many doors for me,” Joselyn said. “I can stay in this job and pursue a co-teaching position, and explore other options, too.”