Elizabeth Eubanks: Finding Success through the Paraprofessional+ Pathway Program

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When Elizabeth Eubanks was looking for a program to help her become a full-fledged teacher, she hoped she would find something that gave her the opportunity to continue her work as a paraprofessional while she student-taught. McKendree University’s new Paraprofessional+ Pathway program, which is offered completely online, helped her not only achieve that goal but also gave her the ability to spend more time with her children.

“Choosing this program was a no-brainer!” she said.

A native of Albers, Illinois, Elizabeth currently serves as a paraprofessional in District 118 teaching students in small reading groups from kindergarten through the second grade and also small reading and math groups with intermediate grades. After she earns her degree through McKendree’s Paraprofessional+ Pathway program, she hopes to teach math with both intermediate and middle school students and perhaps even obtain a math endorsement to become a junior high math teacher. For now, she has been working to align her lessons to common core standards so her students can get the most out of her lessons each day.

“I’ve been perfecting how to properly write a lesson plan, which helps me to better prepare for my lessons in the classroom,” Elizabeth said. “I’ve been taught the importance of building positive relationships to help students feel welcomed and accepted. I’ve become another adult whom they can trust.”

In her journey to become a teacher, Elizabeth has been learning the best instructional strategies to not only enhance her students’ knowledge but also to help them retain new information. Perhaps the greatest lesson that she’s learned recently is that behavior of any form is, in itself, a way of communicating.

“Communication helps me understand my students more and allows me to better fulfill their needs,” she said.

As a current student herself, Elizabeth has found that the professors at McKendree are among her favorite parts of the Paraprofessional+ Pathway program. Just as many McKendreans can attest, the faculty are very knowledgeable, kind, and want their students to succeed.

“They are always there when I need help and are understanding when it comes to life situations,” Elizabeth added. “What stood out to me the most was when I was sick with the flu recently. I asked my professors for extended time on that week’s assignment, and they all said to finish the assignment when I was well and able. That was extremely helpful!”

The program, which was in part developed to help solve the teaching shortage throughout the state of Illinois, allows students to attain a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education degree and initial licensure in only two years. McKendree also offers a special education add-on license, which makes it even easier for teachers-to-be to realize their dreams in a shorter amount of time.

“I would definitely recommend this program to others!” Elizabeth said. “There are so many benefits. You save time, and you get to keep doing your job while you do the two-year program.” For more information about the Paraprofessional+ Pathway program, please click here.