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Sarah Dunbar - A Change for the Better!

Sarah Dunbar

Sarah Dunbar has had a desire to be a teacher for as long as she can remember. But like many people, her professional life went in another direction.

“I have always wanted to be a teacher, and my bachelor’s is in religion,” Dunbar said. “So the career path I had taken wasn’t really one I had set out to take. I just ended up there.”

Since moving to Kansas from Texas in 2016, Dunbar had been working as a case manager, helping low-income families determine their eligibility for government assistance. Although her job was gratifying in some ways, she had been looking for a teaching program for the last five years. When she found out about the online Master of Arts in Teaching, or MAT, program at Kansas State University, she knew it was her chance.

“My husband said, ‘It’s now or never,’ so I took the leap and here I am,” Dunbar said.

Now she’s student teaching at an elementary school in Lebo, Kansas, and set to graduate in May 2019.

“It’s great to be in the classroom after all these years and know that I’ve made it. It’s a great feeling,” Dunbar said.

“I remember when I was 6 or 7, having all my stuffed animals lined up, taking roll,” Dunbar said. “I’ve literally wanted to be a teacher my whole life, and I thought that was a dream I’d missed.”

The journey has been rewarding, but not easy. The MAT program is an intensive one-year program that Dunbar described as “a lot.”

“That’s what it is,” she said. “There were weeks where I would work full time, 40 hours, come home and do another two to three hours of homework every night and then another six hours of homework on Saturday.

Sarah Dunbar quote“It was intense, but I would tell myself, ‘I can do this, it’s just for a year.’”

Dunbar said K-State prepares students for the difficulty of the program. Communication with faculty and advisors has helped her know what is expected of her. She said that while the online program was slightly intimidating at first, she hasn’t had any problems.

Dunbar said she has K-State to thank for helping her finally reach her career goals.

“It can be really scary to take that leap of faith and to try something new,” Dunbar said. “I’ve had a lot of people tell me, ‘You’re so brave for changing careers and starting over,’ but I’d say that K-State has made it really easy for me to make that transition. All I really had to do was take the first step and apply and they have walked me through every single step since.”

The difficulty of the program is far outweighed by the joy Dunbar feels at achieving her dream.

“When I talk to people and tell them I’m getting my master’s in teaching, it just makes me feel so good to know that I’m doing what I said I was going to do — plus, getting a master’s degree is pretty awesome.”