Father. Teacher. Role Model. WGU Tennessee Graduate.

By Curtis Cooley

WGU Tennessee Teachers College Graduate

I enrolled in WGU Tennessee’s Teachers College not only for myself and my career, but also to be a better role model for my children. When I found out that my oldest son had dyslexia, a disability I share with him, I knew it wasn’t fair for me to talk to him about the importance of a college degree if I had never actually earned one myself.

Throughout my early academic career, I fought hard to prove that dyslexia would not prevent me from graduating high school, and I enrolled in a two-year junior college after earning my diploma. Unfortunately, I simply gave up when I hit a few bumps in the road. WGU Tennessee has allowed me to pick up where I left off. I’m now able to be a better mentor to my son, encouraging him to continue setting goals for himself as he faces the same obstacles I once faced. 

As a child with a disability, nothing seemed to come easy for me. In fact, most school-related activities that were easy for others felt nearly impossible to me. I consistently underperformed in reading and math, and remained at the fourth-grade reading level during my freshman year of high school. Thanks to WGU Tennessee, the academic success I fought for as a teenager has become a reality. In just five months, I completed two years’ worth of coursework without the special accommodations I was used to my entire life.

I have a passion for teaching special education because I was once in the shoes of the children I interact with each day. For 12 years I have worked full time as a special education assistant in Tullahoma, Tenn. Now that I have a bachelor’s degree from WGU Tennessee, my title will change this fall from special education assistant to special education teacher.

WGU Tennessee stood out among other universities for three reasons: its accreditation, excellent online reviews, and the mentor program. WGU Tennessee does not feel at all like an online school. I attribute much of my success to my mentor, who encouraged me to push through the challenging coursework and was always just a phone call or email away. I would recommend WGU Tennessee to anyone looking to further their education.

Finishing my degree at WGU Tennessee is the best choice I have ever made for myself and my family. I am beyond blessed to hear my children say they want to “graduate from college just like Daddy did.”

Working toward a master’s degree through WGU Tennessee is #WhatsNext for me. I would love to become a principal one day. Who knows? I may earn my doctoral degree. The sky is the limit!

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