Student Success Stories
For those who ask, "What is TECTA?" or "Is it really worth my time?", read below just a few of our many success stories from our students.
My name is Ruth Royall. I am a 18 month to 30 month old teacher at Carousel Cottage. Presently, I am earning my Early Childhood Degree [Child Development Associate Degree (CDA)] through the TECTA program. This journey began in September of 2012, in which I took the orientation for Infants and Toddlers. The orientation was the determining factor in my decision making process. I have pondered on whether or not if I wanted to pursue a teaching degree, especially with the ages of 0 to 8 years. Throughout the years, I have worked at child care facilities, volunteered at a Head Start and also even had my own in home child care program. Even with all of that, I still was indecisive. The TECTA program was very informative, knowledgeable and willing to assist me with my goal. I am currently taking the first two classes into the preparation for my CDA. I must say its just like any other classes that any college student has ever taken. The professors are well informed. I feel that I will learn a lot and that I have made a great decision on going this route to follow my dreams.
My journey with TECTA began eleven years ago. I had always wanted to be an elementary school teacher and started college right out of high school. I was only in school for a little over a year when I got married. We could not afford for me to continue going to school so I dropped out and began working in a doctor’s office. I was not happy in what I was doing and decided I wanted to try working in child care. I loved it. I took a TECTA orientation in 2001 and shortly after moved out of state. When I came back to Tennessee I went to the same child care center that I had worked at in 2001. After a few years I decided it was time to see about getting my CDA. Needless to say I started the process in 2009 and I am now just a few classes away from having my Associates in Early Childhood Education. Like Mr. Rogers said in his quote, I am now at the beginning of something else. I have had the amazing opportunity to work this summer in the TECTA office and see firsthand how these wonderfully and caring women have helped so many achieve their goals. New doors are opening for me and I encourage all of you to continue on your path and remember you may be at the end of something but it is only “the beginning of something else”.
I started at NPUMC-CDC with my son when he was 2 1/2. It was September, 2011. I was looking for a daycare for him and went ahead and thought I would apply for a job so I could be near him due to bad experience in our hometown with his childcare. I had to take a basic training class to start working and I loved it. I did my 30 hour Orientation in 2002, about a year after I started at the center, while I was pregnant with my daughter. From there, I started working on my CDA with a co-worker which made it so much easier to do. It's a little scary getting back into school when your not fresh out of high school. But all my instructors and classmates were awesome. The other thing that made it easier was TECTA. If it weren't for the tuition assistance from TECTA I wouldn't have taken the classes. We had a 3 1/2 yr old and a newborn, and I was working at a childcare center. I loved my job but we all know I wasn't making much money.
Getting into the classes reminded me how much I wanted to work with kids and families. After my CDA, I continued on at Nashville State where I received my Associates Degree in December, 2010. Again, this would not have been done without the help of the TECTA tuition assistance. After receiving my degree from Nashville State I transferred into APSU with my minor in Early Childhood Education to work on my Bachelors Degree. During this time I got a chance to work with the wonderful ladies at the TECTA office that got me started on this track. I finished my last class August 10, 2012 and now have my Bachelors Degree in Sociology with an emphasis in Family Studies and a minor in Early Childhood Education. I pray I find a job where I can make a difference with children, there families and even childcare centers.
Thanks to TECTA I have finally finished something I started 17 years ago. It was a long road while working, being a wife and a mom. But having help and people that believe in you makes a huge difference!
Linda Wines & Carol Potters
I don’t want to go and you cannot make me, this class sucks and it is boring, the teacher is out to kill us, would it be a crime to hire body doubles? I have a headache, we can skip two classes and this will only be my third. It is raining outside, now look it is snowing and it might get ugly out there. But it is Wednesday, and it is two for one margarita night, I forgot to do my homework, did we have to type it, that was due this week. Why do they want us to do it, it is stupid and pointless, my kids feel bad and I have cramps. I think the teachers do not have a life, and want us to join them in boredom land.
All of these great excuses and reasons not to go to class seemed reasonable and applicable at the time, especially late at night when the bed was calling at the same time the exam clock was ticking. This was quite a wakeup call for Carol, who came from a world of happily ever after, not late nights of key board pecking. She had a supportive husband, a beautiful daughter, and a wonderful home that included many vacations, and few pets. Carol felt that something was still missing, which is when TECTA and a co-worker named Linda entered her life.
Linda was a mother of four, who was coming out of an abusive marriage that stripped her of her dignity and self-worth. She was working at her first job after many years of feeling insignificant, hoping to show her children how to survive and set goals. Linda thought a job was the way to show her children how to grow, but she still felt the need for more. This is when TECTA and Carol entered her life and set it upside down.
Carol and Linda came from two separate places in life and started the long journey to achieve their goal of getting a CDA. They had to learn how to type, use Microsoft Word, and how to balance family/work/school and their mental stability, without losing it. They became fast friends and relied on each other to give just the right push to keep moving. This allowed them to keep their sanity, and to have someone on their side who knew what they were going through. Times got hard, tears fell, emotions ran high, and laughs were vital to ease the stress. And this was only the first part of their long journey.
After several years of thinking they would never make it, Carol and Linda were able to sigh with relief, that all of their hard work was actually for something. They smiled and thought this is it we are finished, we are not going any further. A small ceremony was given in honor of the CDA recipients, and a terrifying interview and test was conducted by representatives. Linda and Carol said “We did it, we are done, and we are not doing it again” That is when Dr. Linda Sitton came in and said “Girls, wait there is more.”
Linda and Carol were once again enrolled in college going after the “more” when told a Technical was only three classes away… They were back to late night and crying, forcing the other one to do the homework, and asking “Why did we do this again?” It was a long three classes, but when it was finished Linda and Carol looked at each other and said “We did it, we are done and we are not doing it again.” This is when Dr. Linda Sitton once again said “Girls, wait there is more.” We cried…….
Later that semester Linda and Carol were back on campus purchasing textbooks, obtaining parking passes, and wondering how they got themselves back into this mess. The syllabus was crazy, the classes were tough, and the teachers were insane to think they wanted to do ALL of that work. When complaints were made they were told they were college students and must now behave like ones. Shoot when did this growing up on our own happen, where are the guiding hands, the instructions, the reminders, and where do you find tutors? Life as they knew it was over, now it was the real stuff “core classes.” There were more tears, threats to quitting, lots of screaming, and a lot more of moral support needed to keep it all together.
Carol’s marriage ended, her daughter moved away, and her world crumbled. She was going to just quit school, walk away and never look back. Linda had other ideas; she wanted Carol to keep going and to finish school so that all of her self-worth would not be gone. Linda would hound Carol every day and make her do her work, make her type that paper, and made her attend that class even in her pajamas. Together Linda and Carol trudged forward, moved that mountain and took one day at a time. In the mean time they tried avoiding Dr. Linda Sitton and the TECTA office.
Through it all, the hardships, feelings of neglect on our families, stress to the max, wanting to give up, being afraid to fail, and feeling like we had given everything we had to school and saved nothing for ourselves, it came to an end.
WE DID IT! WE finally did it! We had started out with only one goal in mind and had achieved three, CDA, Technical, and an A.A.S. in Early Childhood Education in ten years. We stuck together, pushed one another, and we did not fall for each other’s tricks or tears. We were the Best Partners in Crime fighting all of the odds that were stacked against us and proved to ourselves we were worthy. “We did it, we are done, and we are not doing it again.” That is when Claudia Rodriguez said “Girls, wait there is more.”
God is great! My journey with TECTA has been just that; a journey or should I say a bouncy voyage. My voyage began in 1999 while I was working at a center in the infant/toddler room. The director asked me if I was interested in taking an orientation class through TECTA and I was like, ‘sure’. I signed up for the Fall 1999 Infant/Toddler Orientation and was so excited about my new adventure. While working at the center I was offered a position as three year old teacher. I accepted and changed my orientation to the preschool setting and the rest is history. I was not too sure what to expect but continued on with my classes to complete my CDA in 2002. I remember speaking at the reception and crying about completing my CDA. I was a statistic; single mom with two children while working and going to school but while completing my CDA I planned a wedding and married. I was on top of the world, so I thought. I was fulfilling my goals one step at a time and just happy. I continued on through NSCC working towards my Associates in Early Childhood Education with the help of TECTA once again. I never could have imagined what I was going to have to endure. Sleep deprivation, long nights of studying, a couple of computers, that drive to Nashville and that dreaded math class made me want to give up, but I continued with much prayer and tears. I took several online classes even though online classes scared me at first, but now I would not have it any other way. I was able to complete my AAS in ECE in May 2005. That was a bittersweet accomplishment, I once again through the help of God completed another goal but was also separated and filing for divorce. I was depressed and did not see my way out of this stink but God and TECTA had a different plan for me. I immediately started working on my Bachelor of Science the summer of 2005 at Austin Peay. I went through two or three major changes and a university change by fall 2010. I then transferred to Tennessee State University in the spring of 2010. Well, to make a long story short I have once again complete a goal and long time dream. I have completed my studies at Tennessee State University and will graduate December 15th with my BS in Family and Consumer Science with a minor in Family Relations and Child Development. I know God and much prayer helped me to accomplish my goals but I could NOT have done it without out the love and support of my family, friends, co-workers, my job and TECTA. I am so grateful for TECTA being a part of my life back then and now. The staff has been awesome and through the years I have had the honor of befriending some wonderful people. God is good!
Am I finished? Not at all, it is now time to start on my Masters; eventually but hopefully sooner than later. Remember you can do and complete anything you set your mind to regardless. God bless and thank you so much TECTA!