In 2011-2012, Anne Zietlow couldn’t wait to graduate, get married, and find a teaching job in the city where her fiancé, David Starr, would be a vicar. She deferred an assignment call but hoped that a public school job would be available. David was assigned to West Palm Beach, Florida, for his vicarship, but a teaching position for Anne did not materialize.
“I’d been looking forward to teaching (fresh out of school, gung-ho!), and I grew very discouraged. I was forgetting that my plans are not always God’s plans.”
She did find a great job as an administrative assistant to the director of a law office, and she got busy immediately in her husband’s church as a vocalist in the praise band, “Band of Hope.” And, though she did not yet have her own classroom, she decided to pursue her master’s degree.
“I’d been weighing the idea of graduate school since my sophomore year at MLC, but this idea converted to a goal during student teaching. I realized how much I loved learning, how much I loved teaching small groups of students (especially reflecting back to my junior clinical in a special education room), and how much I wanted to help students who deeply need a caring, patient, and loving teacher.”
She chose MLC for her graduate school and special education as her emphasis. “I chose MLC because all the other special education graduate programs I sought out could not prepare me for my greatest goal: to teach children with learning disabilities how much their God and Savior loves them. Beyond this, MLC offers an incredibly well-rounded and thorough education that appealed to my professional growth as much as other large universities.”
She also appreciated MLC’s flexibility. “The countless measures MLC takes to accommodate its students were impressive. Considering the relocating and new occupations I’ll experience in the next few years, the online graduate program was the best and most accommodating fit for my lifestyle.”
She admits, though, she was hesitant. “Will this education really help me that much? Is this program going to help me be a better teacher, beyond what my undergraduate program has already prepared me to do? And is the education worth the cost? Answers: Yes, yes, and yes. These concerns were all put to rest once I got started. Within the first week of my first online course, the knowledge and experiences shared by the members of my group demonstrated to me how I need to be more prepared to teach students in the way I dream of; that just as college is very different from high school, graduate work is very different from undergraduate work; that sharing ideas and discussing new journal articles with these peers will help me be a better teacher; and that it is worth the cost.”
Anne lives by her daybook now. A normal day consists of a 6:00 am workout, a 9-to-5:30 job, and a 6:30 return home for dinner with her new husband. She then spends two hours every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday night on homework. Tuesday nights are for in-home Bible study groups and Thursday nights are for Band of Hope rehearsals.
It’s busy, but she knows where her motivation lies. “I know how badly I want my future students to have my best. And that motivation is my joy during those two hours each night. My goal is to reach each and every one of my students on their level, to share knowledge in whatever way will be most meaningful for each child. When a child learns from a teacher who deeply cares for them, loves them unconditionally, loves teaching them, and loves learning, amazing things happen. And my faithful studies now are preparing me to do just that.”
All About Anne
MLC Graduation: 2012 – Elementary Education
Hometown: Montello, Wisconsin
Family: Married to David Starr (MLC ’10), “the most wonderful friend and companion.” Dad teaches at St. John, Montello, and Mom is an Clinical Nurse Educator at a nearby hospital. Older brother, Ben, is at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary; younger brother, Jake, is a first-year at MLC; and younger sister, Katie, is a junior at Luther Prep. “Our God blessed me with a supportive, loving, and selfless family. They support my goals and dreams, and they are such a solid Christian support system. God is so good to me.”
Favorites: Children’s literature (like The Giving Tree and Harold and the Purple Crayon), classical music, movies (like The Green Mile—and thank goodness the Redbox is only a two-minute walk from home)
Hobbies: Helping people, running a few days of the week, baking cupcakes for every and any reason, starting a Saturday afternoon with a good Jodi Picoult novel, or coming across a new journal topic about Asperger’s
Her advice to those considering an MLC master’s program: First, do your research; make sure the program fits what you’re looking for. You shouldn’t be surprised to find MLC’s program and institution’s accommodations exceed that of many popular and praised programs found elsewhere. Second, talk to your resources and peers: Professor John Meyer (director of graduate studies—he’s so down to earth and full of good guidance), undergraduate professors who can provide direction and suggestions, family, friends, possibly older students. And finally, pray. Prayer is so powerful, and having a heart-to-heart with your Savior about his plans for you may be all the encouragement you need.
(Article written by Laurie Gauger)