Photo Courtesy of Abhi Sharma via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Whether you’re beginning your WCU journey as an English BSED and/or Special Education major, you’re in luck! Since I can remember, WCU has been a staple for its sublime teacher preparation programs. Going into the English BSED major, you are given the choice of choosing one of two concentrations: writings or literature track. The track you choose has a unique set of required courses that are displayed on your advising sheets (and English Majors handbook!). Both concentrations require you to take crossover courses in the track you are not in, to become well-rounded secondary English experts! As a writing track major, I have to take British, world, and American literature courses: one of each.
A select number of you may be dual majors existing of English BSED and Special Education. Courses that overlap for these two majors are deleted from your advising sheet, as you take specific classes for each major. All education majors must complete “Foundations of Special Education” (EDA 103), but special education majors receive a wide range of courses after this initial one to explore various types of methods in teaching children with special needs. This includes learning about special education assessments, disability laws and communication/behavior skills.
As an English BSED student, many of your courses will be held in Main Hall, in the academic quad, whereas the majority of your special education courses will be located in Recitation Hall; this building is directly across from Main. Going into each of these majors, you may be told there is little to no room for “fun electives.” Although, there are a wide range of choices for each writing course requirement in which something is bound to spark your interest. For example, as a first-year student, you must take two WRT courses: a writing 120 and writing 200 class. You are able to choose anything from a pop culture writing class to research writing for the writing 200 requirement!
As an English major, you may be eager to join an organization or two to show off your writing skills or to just collaborate with fellow aspiring educators. NCTE is a great way to connect with BSED peers and truly appreciate the importance of teaching English. You can also put your editing skills to the test and join the WCU English Club, where students review and edit works that go into Daedalus – WCU’s annual journal of poetry, prose, art and photography. Of course, you can always contact a student editor and write for The Quad! Writing for The Quad is a strengthening experience where you can learn from others’ articles and build up your own; there is something surreal about seeing your writing in a newspaper. Plenty more awaits you; find additional information on English organizations from the English Department homepage on wcupa.edu.
Special education majors can also engage themselves by participating in Best Buddies. Best Buddies pairs a WCU student with an individual with intellectual disabilities and promotes friendship building! There are also plenty outside organizations you can volunteer with to gain experience working with students with special needs; the Special Olympics is a wonderful example, I can attest!
You should never feel obligated to join a club or organization, but it’s always helpful to know what’s out there for you when and if you’re ready for it. In your first year, you may still be figuring out the ropes of your educational journey, and that is totally normal! Every student is unique and moves at a different pace.
I hope you all have an exemplary first semester and a stupendous summer; always feel free to reach out. Welcome to WCU, new Rams!
Madison Starinieri is a second-year student majoring in English education and special education. MS882527@wcupa.edu