Grad Profile: Ethan Novak

Ethan Novak is a student from Imperial, California who will be graduating with an Elementary Master of Arts in Teaching. 

Why did you choose WOU?

I chose WOU after listening to a presentation they gave to the Corvallis School District on their brand new eMAT program. It was truly everything I was looking for in a grad school program. Work would be mostly online, there were small class sizes, it would help me obtain my preliminary teaching license, and I would have the opportunity to work with many excellent professors. I truly felt like WOU would give me the opportunity to develop into a quality elementary school teacher. Within 24 hours of hearing the presentation, I had my application submitted and never looked back. It is one of the best decisions I have made in my lifetime.

What do you love most about WOU?

Throughout my grad program, I truly felt like all of my professors were invested in my development as an educator. They were quick to respond to questions, they listened to feedback, and they were great about considering which learning experiences would be most impactful for my cohort. Having professors like that–ones who are truly dedicated to the profession–makes a world of difference for students at WOU.

 What do you love most about the Elementary Master of Arts in Teaching major you completed?

My cohort was exposed to so many different teaching styles, instructional approaches, resources, and strategies over the course of our two years in the program. Being able to take pieces from every experience has helped me grow significantly and become more well-rounded as an educator.

 What has been your biggest achievement, success or accomplishment in college?

For me, it has been passing the edTPA and completing my graduate portfolio project. I remember starting the program and receiving a brief rundown of each project/assignment. They seemed like gargantuan tasks that I’d never fully complete, but here I am! Can I use this section to shout-out everyone who helped me stay on track throughout these tasks? Thank you Matt, Emily, Stacey, Amanda, Tina, Maria, Alicia, Libbie, Kim, Liz, Arilene, Nam, Josh, Dallas, Ryan, and Jake. You guys are the best!

Has there been a class or professor that has been particularly inspiring to you? 

In my first term, I took Integrating the Creative Arts with Professor Beck. The whole class focused on how we can improve the presence of the creative arts throughout typical classroom subjects such as reading, writing, and mathematics. I went into the course feeling concerned about my ability to bring art into the classroom. I’ve never really been much of an artist, despite my best efforts. Regardless, Professor Beck taught us so many ways in which we can do advanced, engaging art projects in the classroom that connect to core subjects. I walked away confident and have already used several of his methods in the classroom.

What will you miss most about college?

I developed a strong bond with my cohort! By the end of the program, they felt like family. I can’t believe our time as a group is already over, and now we’re all preparing to go our separate ways. I’ll miss them greatly.

What are your plans for after graduation?

I want to continue to grow as an elementary school teacher. I’m definitely considering coming back to WOU to achieve an ESOL or SPED endorsement. Aside from that, being an elementary school teacher is my dream job, and I’m crazy excited to do this job for the rest of my life.

What advice do you have for current and future Wolves?

Challenging yourself or stepping out of your comfort zone can be a scary thing. Don’t let that fear stop you. I always found that those moments where I was able to step out of my comfort zone and take on a new challenge were the moments where I experienced the most growth. Believe in yourself and your abilities. Also, take up running (or some other form of exercise). Breaking up a long day of work with a run in the middle helped me so much! 

What’s the most important lesson you learned about yourself while in college?

I am capable of being a teacher and a leader in my own elementary classroom. I was so nervous about potentially having my own classroom coming into WOU, but I’m now in a place where I am certain that I can make a difference. It was a long two years, but I can say with certainty that all of the hard work was worth it.

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