College of Education and Behavioral Sciences News
Koger launches education career with applied learning experiences
- Mary Bidwell
- Friday, December 2nd, 2022
Senior Elementary Education major Haylee Koger didn’t start her college journey on the Hill, but fell in love with campus after a sudden change in plans.
After her father was diagnosed with cancer, Koger wanted to be closer to her family in Bardstown and transferred to WKU in the second semester of her freshman year. Over the next few years, she discovered a strong network of individuals to support her while she supported her family and pursued a degree.
"I wanted a school that would offer me fresh opportunities, a place that was brand new but would quickly feel like home. I took one visit to WKU, walked around campus, and knew it was the place for me," Koger said.
Once she arrived on the Hill, Koger joined the Elementary Education program within the WKU College of Education and Behavioral Sciences. On the path to her degree, she participated in applied learning opportunities that added practical context to lessons from her education classes.
"The program provides experiences in actual classrooms, which were extremely valuable. Being able to observe a teacher in a real setting is a learning experience that you can never get enough of. Having the opportunity to work with kids and see the information you are learning in class in action helps keep you motivated," Koger noted.
Koger is grateful for the opportunities for professional growth within the program. She also found numerous mentors and friends who encouraged her on her WKU journey.
"I have really been pushed out of my comfort zone in this program and it has boosted my self-confidence. This program has also given me the best people to learn and grow with," Koger shared.
One of those individuals was Jessica Hussung, a faculty member in the WKU School of Teacher Education who inspired Koger.
"If you ask anyone in the elementary education program at WKU about Professor Hussung, you will get the same answer over and over again: she is amazing! She came to class every day and not only taught us how to teach math, but she taught us to love to teach," Koger said.
As Koger is finishing up her student-teaching experiences, she is going above and beyond by working as a long-term substitute teacher at Rockfield Elementary in the Bowling Green Independent School District.
"Haylee has a strong work ethic and her desire to learn best math practices in the elementary setting was evident. Throughout the semester, she demonstrated a strong understanding of elementary math content. She was a natural candidate to fulfill a long-term substitute position during her student-teaching semester, which is no easy feat," Hussung shared.
Koger noted that she is applying the knowledge from her program every single day. After graduating, she hopes to accept a full-time position teaching mathematics to elementary school students.
Outside the classroom, Koger also cultivated close friendships and sparked personal growth through membership in her sorority, Alpha Omicron Pi.
"This organization is responsible for the extreme growth in me throughout my college experience. This organization always made sure to remind me what is a priority and has only supported me throughout the process of getting my degree," Koger shared.
For Koger, the best part of her WKU experience has been the individuals she has encountered.
"WKU has given me friends and relationships that I hope will last a lifetime. WKU would not be the place and home that it is without all the people that make it feel this way. The people at WKU are what makes the experience so special."
Looking back, Koger is grateful for where the journey has ultimately brought her.
"I came to WKU to be a little closer to home and my dad. My dad has now been in remission for 4 years. Although this was a difficult time in my life, I am so thankful that it brought me to Western."
For more information about majoring in elementary education at WKU, visit https://www.wku.edu/ste/.
#WKUGrad series: As part of our #WKUGrad series, articles on graduating students are shared in the weeks leading up to Fall Recognition Ceremonies. See all of their stories at https://www.wku.edu/news/articles/index.php?view=default&categoryid=799&multinewsid=187