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From ABCs to PhDs: A Day in the Life of an Education Student
Nothing is mundane for an education student. Each day presents new opportunities and challenges.

Andre Manseau is a second-year student in the education department of Atlantic Baptist University in Moncton, N.B. There really is no such thing as a typical day for any Atlantic Baptist University (ABU) education student.

Andre Manseau: Gone are the days when teachers simply talked and students were forced to listen.

Each day presents us with opportunities to learn and new challenges to meet.

Prior to being accepted to the program, I had done a year’s worth of supply teaching at my own high school. I learned a tremendous amount and, by the time I left, I was convinced I could easily teach a class. I had also attended two different universities for my English degree. By the time my four years were up, I was thrilled. No longer would I be forced to cram my six-foot five-inch frame into uncomfortable seats and fight sleep while an eccentric professor pontificated. This is what I had also expected from the education program at ABU. I was so wrong.

A part of me definitely expected this program to be a means to an end rather than true training. What I didn’t realize was that I didn’t know much about teaching at all.

The program at ABU is difficult and there is a lot of work to be done. But for the first time in my academic career, I feel as though my work has a purpose. The work we are doing is always relevant and engaging. Gone are the days when teachers simply talked and students were forced to listen.

We have a faculty of teachers who care and make sure we are on the frontier of educational practices. Each teacher brings a different quality: Stewart West and his “never give up” positive attitude, Vince Ryan and his firm, fair and authoritative style, and Bryan Taylor’s distinct tell-it-like-it-is nature.

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ABU’s education program is one that thinks outside the box. It is a carefully designed series of tests and challenges that force you to overcome one of the biggest hurdles a teacher may have: teaching the way they’ve been taught. I believe this is going to be a struggle for me for years to come, but I am completely aware of the habits that are ingrained in me. I have regularly caught myself thinking about some of my worst mistakes as a supply teacher.

One of the best ways a person can learn is by teaching others. Well over half of the learning done in our program is from our peers. We often split into groups with a topic that we have researched and teach it to one another in some form. This can be done through skits, plays, art activities and exercise – the possibilities are endless. Group projects allow students to work with different types of learners, manage their time and work as a team. And we learn to chunk material up while still maintaining a big picture.

It’s not uncommon at ABU to organize a group meeting to organize your group meetings.

The program teaches you to manage time and priorities well enough so that, by the end of the year, you can have a well-oiled machine and do it in much less time.

And when it becomes too overwhelming, you can still relax by taking part in any of ABU’s enlightening chapels. I know my racing mind and pulse were often put at ease by some amazing people in chapel.

In my studies, I believe God is there for me, watching over me. God will not help me write my papers. God will not do my presentations for me.

And God won’t help me pass tests. God is there to provide support and peace of mind and to ease burdens through my personal dialogue with Him. Like a great teacher, God is my “guide on the side.”

Originally published in Faith Today, January/February 2009.

Used with permission. Copyright © 2009 Christianity.ca.

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