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Transforming Lives: Moving Beyond

Sean Keilty: Stepping stone

By: Sean Keilty

Transforming Lives: Moving Beyond is a testimonial series written by AU students and alumni who want to acknowledge how AU has helped shape their lives.

It’s a space for those who want to thank the people who have helped to support and transform their AU experience to achieve their greatest successes, all while looking forward to their future educational and personal potential.

Their story is worth shouting from the rooftops! Have an inspiring story of your own to share? Email us! We’d love to hear it.

No time to spare

I chose AU in order to become a teacher. Last year I applied to Simon Fraser University (SFU), into their Professional Development Program (PDP). I didn’t meet the requirements. I was short two history courses with little time to complete them.

Making it happen

If I wanted to make this dream happen, I had to get these courses done in little to no time. The applications office suggested online courses with AU. I searched and enrolled in two courses to satisfy those requirements; History 235: History of US, Civil War to Present and History 309: Ancient Greece.

Over the course of last summer I completed the readings, the assignments, took a trip to Greece, arranged for my final examination, and passed just in time to be eligible to start in the fall. It worked! I am now studying at SFU to become a teacher.

Why it worked

I am on track to graduate at the end of this year. AU gave me the opportunity to reach my potential. It was a very demanding schedule to keep, but I did it! The ability to learn at my own pace in a self-directed way with tutor assistance did more than just open the door for me. This experience gave me confidence in my future and allowed me to develop a very unique skill-set that I continue to employ today.

Last summer I was nervous. I wasn’t sure what online learning was going to look like.

Would I get the readings and assignments done on time? Could I set my own schedule? Could I make the deadline I had created for myself? Can I still work and enjoy the summer while studying?

These questions weighed heavily on me. What ended up happening however was quite unexpected. When I had control over my own learning schedule, I began to excel. In February of this year I was entering into my short practicum.

World flipped upside down

Then COVID-19 struck.

Schools closed after March break and my spring semester at SFU wrapped up prematurely. The announcement was made that the summer semester would be taught online. This caused stress for many of my classmates, however, I didn’t share that same anxiety because of my experience the previous year. I felt prepared.

COVID-19 has caused anxiety for me in many aspects of my life, but it hasn’t affected me academically in any way. The experience I had learning online last summer enabled me to take control of this aspect of the pandemic.

In control

Once again, I feel in control of the direction that my virtual learning is taking. AU helped me to develop academic discipline, the ability to navigate online learning, and to study with efficiency.

This pandemic also brought my children under the same roof as me as joint-learners. Again, my experience with AU proved to be useful. I was able to support their learning during a time of uncertainty. We navigated online learning supports and apps together. I collaborated with their teachers to carry on lessons. We completed assignments together.

What could have been a stressful and overwhelming situation turned into a unique bonding experience. I am going to be a teacher in the public school system one day soon. I believe to be a good teacher, you have to be a good student. AU helped me back into the role of a student. I am grateful for their support and continue to apply the skills I have developed while enrolled with AU.

Sean Keilty is a 33-year old Canadian. Originally from South-Eastern Ontario, he now resides in Vancouver with his wife and two children. He holds an Honours bachelor of Social Sciences in International Studies and Modern Languages from the University of Ottawa. In 2019, he completed on-line courses with Athabasca University to be eligible for Simon Fraser  University’s Bachelor of Education. Now in his third semester of the program, Sean looks forward to teaching within the public school system next year. 

  • November 17, 2020
Guest Blog from:
Sean Keilty