Do the math

Posted: Tuesday, February 25, 2003

My understanding is that most agree Alaska lacks quality teachers, ones who are willing to stay in Alaska. To them I say, "help!" I am a senior at the University of Alaska Anchorage where I am studying history and math. My dream, the only occupational goal I have ever had, is to become a teacher.

I've spent the past five years working full time while earning my bachelor's degree. I spent two years in Juneau before having to transfer to Anchorage to finish. This May, with my completed degree in hand, I will begin the daunting task of saving up some of the $20,000 it will cost me to go through the Masters in Teaching program. The rest will come from loans, as working while enrolled in such a rigorous program is not an option for me. I will apply to UAS, the last quality MAT program left in Alaska, and hope that my good grades, substitute teaching, and volunteer tutoring experience get me a place in the program. If not, I will be forced to leave the state, only to return when deemed ready to teach.

Becoming a teacher has been an obstacle for me, both financially and emotionally. I'm already $30,000 in debt from my undergrad work, and am looking at another $12,000 (in loans) for the MAT program. Yet, the only thing I have ever known is that I want to teach math. It's a simple dream for a determined college student.

Make becoming a teacher a little more user-friendly, and perhaps the pool of quality candidates will grow! How many college students do you know that are willing to stand up and say, "Sure! I'll take out $45,000 in loans to become a $35,000-a-year teacher!"

Katelynn Bendzsel

Anchorage



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