I am AACC: Mary Stanton
Hometown: Born in Missouri; calls Maryland home
Mary Stanton has started over. At 47 with over twenty years business experience, Mary took the plunge and left her position as vice president of administration for an insurance company and enrolled full time at AACC in the spring of 2006, fulfilling a lifelong dream to become a teacher.
“I always wanted to teach,” she says. “I spent a year subbing to see if it was what I really wanted to do. My husband encouraged me to take classes at the [community] college and I’ve been a full time student ever since.”
Starting over meant going to college for the first time and adjusting to life without a full-time job; personally, it meant remarrying her husband after seven years of separation; overall, it meant the beginning of a completely different way of life.
Choosing AACC seemed like an easy choice for Mary. “I like smaller schools,” she says. “When reading about it, it seemed more personalized towards the students, and of course the affordability. It’s more affordable than a four-year college and since I am not working full time, mom and dad aren’t paying for this so that’s definitely a consideration for me. It’s a big step when you stop working full time and go to school.”
Mary’s first experiences at AACC occurred at the Arundel Mills campus. As an adult learner, taking classes there proved to be just what she needed to alleviate her reservations about returning to school after twenty years. Her classes were in the day and evening and were made up of mostly adult learners like herself. After excelling in those classes and her confidence on the rise, she felt ready to take on the main campus.
“Once I arrived at the Arnold campus I felt very comfortable,” she says. “I usually don’t have trouble interacting with the other students. It’s funny sometimes they call me ‘Miss Mary’; I think I forget about the age difference more than they do.”
Mary hit the ground running with the teaching program, especially the required 45-hour field experience in the classroom.
“You’re working with a cooperative teacher in one of the county schools: elementary middle or high school; I tried each level,” she says. “You’re never alone with the students, but you help out with activities and planning lessons. There are a number of activities that the education department incorporates with your fieldwork that maximizes the learning experience of being in the classroom. You’re able to apply principles from lectures into actual work, into real life situations; you take theory and put it into practice and it’s so beneficial."
She continues, “The field experience reinforces for me that this is the right track; what I’m doing is what I meant to do.”
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