First graduate of AU’s online Master of Arts in Education program proud to have found her way – Jagwire
After graduating from Georgia Southern University with a degree in Psychology and Family and Child Development, Ellen Schlich thought she wanted a career as a school counselor.
âI initially went to Augusta University graduate school for the school board and did a semester in the school board program,” Schlich said. âI mean, I loved it, but I realized that it just wasn’t for me. The program kept comparing teachers and school counselors and all of a sudden I was like says, “Wow, I really want to teach.”
Schlich decided to take a semester off and become a substitute teacher in Richmond County. Then the COVID-19 pandemic struck and schools closed. There was no longer a substitute teaching position available, so Schlich decided to apply to Augusta University’s Master of Arts in Education program.
âI found out that I was two days late to apply for this spring semester,â Schlich said. âSo I had to make a decision. After the pandemic, I decided to return home to Roswell, Georgia. “
Luckily for Schlich, Augusta University began offering an online MAT program in the summer of 2020. Schlich was accepted and began earning her MAT degree online while living in Roswell.
âIt worked well that the program was online because I wanted to stay and teach in the Atlanta area,â Schlich said. âSo while I wanted to get my MAT degree at Augusta University, I also wanted to develop my relationships here in the Gwinnett County School District. Therefore, the MAT online program at AU was perfect for me. I am super happy with my choice.
While Schlich will be graduating from MAT from Augusta University this fall, she is also currently a third grade teacher at Peachtree Elementary School in Gwinnett County.
âI love it,â Schlich said. âI teach all subjects and although we’re still kind of in the middle of a pandemic, it’s a full classroom within a full school. We as teachers are now sort of seeing the ripple effect of the pandemic and the impact on students, so it’s definitely an interesting year being my first year of teaching. But I love this. It’s nice to have my own room.
Her mentor teacher and other colleagues at Peachtree Elementary School congratulated her on facing such a difficult first year and handling everything so well, Schlich said. She believes that professors at the College of Education at the University of Augusta have helped her prepare well for the classroom.
âAll of my professors at Augusta University have been honestly amazing,â Schlich said. âAnd I’m so happy I signed up for the MAT online program. I don’t think I would have done it any other way. It obviously got me where I’m supposed to be.
The best part about teaching is the fact that every day is different, Schlich said.
“I always told myself, even in high school when I had no idea what I wanted to do, that I knew I could never sit at a desk and do essentially the same thing every day,” he said. Schlich declared. âI always knew I wanted to work with children, but I didn’t think I wanted to be a teacher, even though all of my teachers and coaches always said, ‘You have to be a teacher.’ They were absolutely right. And I found my way through Augusta University’s online MAT program.