How a Working Mother Earned a Teaching Degree in Less Than Two Years. A Student Success Story.

How a Working Mother Earned a Teaching Degree in Less Than Two Years. A Student Success Story.

4 minute read

StraighterLine Student - Earning a Teaching Degree

Johnnie G., StraighterLine Student

Johnnie Galbo’s career goal is to become a biology teacher. It’s been years since she earned her associate degree – but after taking a job as a paraprofessional in a high school, she knew wanted to go back to school and earn her bachelor’s degree in education. Even with one daughter still in high school, and another in college, Johnnie decided it was time to go back and get her Education degree at StraighterLine partner college, Western Governors University (WGU). There was just one speed bump–her advisor at WGU told her she would need to complete several prerequisite courses before being able to start her teaching degree program. Johnnie was concerned:  “If I couldn’t find a way to take these prerequisite courses online, I wouldn't be able to start my degree program.”

Choosing WGU - a Flexible Online Degree Program

While researching online degree options, Johnnie realized that a competency-based degree program would let her take her college courses at home – and allow her to move quickly through course material she already knew. She had heard great things about the affordability and reputation of StraighterLine partner college, Western Governors University and when she looked a little deeper into the school’s teacher education programs, she knew it would be a great fit.

What is Competency-Based Education?

A competency-based learning model measures student success by learning, not seat time, class attendance, or credit hours. A student earns a degree by demonstrating skills and knowledge in required subject areas through a series of carefully designed courses. Students are not required to spend a lot of time on subjects they’ve already mastered, allowing them to focus on the areas where they need to develop competency.

Taking Teaching Degree Prerequisites Online

“After my advisor at WGU told me I needed to complete a few general education courses prior to enrolling, I was fixing to give up,” said Johnnie. "I needed to know if there were any options online." That's when her student advisor suggested she take a look at StraighterLine's online college courses as an affordable and flexible way to complete prerequisite courses online. Johnnie was thrilled by what she found at StraighterLine. The courses were available 100% online, guaranteed to transfer into her degree program at WGU – and could help her save on her degree. She says, “My goal is to earn my bachelor’s degree in 1 to 2 years at most. With StraighterLine & WGU, I can.”

Getting Back into the Swing of College Level Courses

Johnnie looked through the online courses available through StraighterLine and found exactly what she needed to help her get back into the swing of taking college level courses. “I couldn’t have gone back to school without StraighterLine,” she added, “I needed to complete college algebra, but I had been out of school for like a 100 years.” Johnnie started her college journey with StraighterLine’s Introductory Algebra which helped build her confidence and get her back on the degree track with college level courses. She then went on to successfully complete College Algebra and keep moving forward with her prerequisites. In addition to the two math courses she completed with us, Johnnie also used StraighterLine to complete Intro to Biology, Introduction to Biology Lab, and Intro to Communications.

Advice to Students Earning an Education Degree Online

Johnnie has some words of wisdom for other future teachers:  “You need to be self-motivated.” She adds, “I wish someone had shown me early on about how to go back to school with online courses. Luckily, I found StraighterLine.” She suggests that adult learners also look into competency-based education as a way to reduce their time to finish their teaching degree, “WGU being competency-based is crazy! Within the first month of being enrolled, I finished 4 courses!” “My goal was to finish my degree in 1-2 years," said Johnnie, adding, “Without StraighterLine to help me complete my prerequisites so conveniently, I couldn’t have gone back to school at all.” 

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