Teachers’ Encouragement Has GTCC Student Thinking Bigger

Published on: March 30, 2021
Early Childhood Education student Michelle Bowden

When Michelle Bowden enrolled at Guilford Technical Community College two years ago, she planned on earning an associate degree and continue her work in a childcare center.

But that was two years ago, before she stepped on campus and experienced the culture of GTCC.

“My original plan was to earn my associate degree and end there,” said the 42-year-old Bowden, who eventually plans to apply for a position in the Guilford County School System. “However, my teachers at GTCC have really encouraged me to continue furthering my education and that is something I’ve really been thinking about.

“After I finish my education at GTCC, I’m considering pursuing a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education at a location still undecided.”

Oddly enough, attending classes almost solely during the COVID-19 pandemic may have left an even better impression of her college professors than during normal times.

“My teachers at GTCC have adapted to make a virtual class challenging and enjoyable by providing available online resources to review weekly before scheduled class times, engaging, and interacting with students via Google Zoom and/or Microsoft Teams, and striving to make the overall virtual classroom experience as easy to navigate as possible.” said Bowden.

And that has provided a valuable lesson to Bowden.

“Aside from the curriculum itself, what I have learned as a student from the COVID-19 experience that may help me as a teacher is that you must be flexible and learn to work with what you have,” said Bowden, who will graduate from GTCC in May. “Technology can sometimes be unpredictable, and it is always a good idea to have a back-up plan.

“I have also learned that as a teacher working with young children, it is important to try and provide some means of normalcy during these unprecedented times. Find ways to continue making learning enjoyable while providing support and encouragement.”

Bowden said she missed the interpersonal relationships offered by in-person classes and the opportunity for “face-to-face discussions with peers and teachers and being able to actively engage in hands on learning experiences within the classroom. “

And the same time, though, she said her teachers have done an amazing job with the hand they were dealt.

“One thing I would like to add about virtual learning at GTCC is that while is it not always ideal, it has been easy for me to navigate and continue working toward achieving my degree,” said Bowden, who will graduate in May. “I am thankful for how GTCC and teachers have been able to adapt and create alternative methods such as virtual learning for students to be able to safely attend and complete their classes.”

Bowden’s teachers were equally impressed by her passion and dedication during the past couple of years.

She was recently recognized as one of GTCC’s Student Excellence Awards winners for 2020-2021. This annual award recognizes outstanding academic achievement, co-curricular involvement, and contributions to GTCC and the surrounding community.

Shannon Burghart, associate professor of Early Childhood Education and one of Bowden’s teachers said she and another of Bowden’s instructors “both nominated Michelle because of her stellar abilities, consistent work ethic, willingness to help others, and dedication to the field and the education of young children.”

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