SPED Graduate Takes Her Place

Micro method teaching model gives graduate a push to independence.

As Sherae McRae ‘21 finished her graduate teaching residency to earn her Master's in Education degree she felt prepared to enter her own classroom because of a unique aspect of the Special Education (SPED) concentration—her professors. McRae said theySherae_Mcrae were virtually by her side during her teaching residency; evaluating, guiding, and supporting her through their “microteaching” method, which offers intense support and individualized feedback for students during their teaching residencies.

“It (SPED) genuinely does help you prepare for the life of a SPED teacher,” she said. The program faculty helped me with individualized educational plans, behavioral intervention plans, case management, co-teaching and so much more.”

The strong, honest, and open network with program faculty and her cohort exemplified Longwood’s graduate program as a tight community, “Anytime I had a question, I was able to go to any professor to ask for help. Dr. Khan, Dr. Feathers, Dr. Jones, and Dr. Alves were only one Slack message away. My cohort was also a great group; it was nice to talk to them. They understood my struggle as a first-year teacher since they were first-year teachers, too.”

She originally chose Longwood because, “Many of my high school teachers attended Longwood and said that our teaching program was the best in the state — a statement I back up 100%.”

As an undergraduate, she selected Longwood’s five-year master’s track for undergraduates who enter LU as a freshman and completed her liberal studies degree and teacher licensure in 2020. In 2021 she graduated again, this time with a Masters degree in Education.

Now, she teaches reading intervention and co-teaches English 1 and 3 at Central High School in Knoxville, Tenn.

“I am learning so much from my students and learning how to be a better teacher, thanks to all of the support from the teachers around me,” she said.

Her favorite part of her job is helping her students grow.

“My school is the biggest and best family there is.”