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When Teachers Become Students

You received the great news that you have been accepted into the online Master of Education program! No doubt, your heart jumps for joy. You share the news with your friends and family.

Then reality hits. As a teacher, you know how hard your students work to complete their assignments. Now you will not only grade assignments but you will also be the one doing homework.

Balancing Work, School and Personal Lives With an Online M.Ed. Program

Thousands of students like Ty Jones attend graduate school, teach full time and have family obligations. You know you can do it, but you might need some help. Here are tips from current and past students on what you need to know to become a student again, and a successful one at that.

Jones' two kids played basketball. It was important to him that he attend their games. He also worked as a teacher in one school district and as a president of the school board in another. Fortunately, he found an online M.Ed. program that fit his schedule.

Enrolling in an online graduate program offers a learning experience that compares with attending classes on campus. The content is the same. In some schools, the same professors teach both online and on-campus courses. An online program gives you more control over your schedule as you will not need to commute to campus at a set time each week.

How Can Teachers Be Successful Graduate Students?

Jones also established a schedule and listened to audiobooks while driving. He recommends pairing up with a partner. You can hold each other accountable and check each other's progress on a scheduled basis. He encourages students to join the online discussions. Jones said he learned a lot from other students' comments. All of these allowed him to devote time to his jobs and family.

Furthermore, Ty Jones had a strong support system at home and at work. In "Ten Unwritten Rules for Success in Graduate School," Todd B. Kashdan Ph.D. recommends choosing a mentor. The online M.Ed. program at the University of Texas at Arlington requires students to have two mentors. The student chooses the site supervisor and UTA provides the field site supervisor.

Typically, the site supervisor is a principal or another administrator. While you may not have control over the second mentor, you can talk to the program's staff. The conversation can help them match you with the right person.

Teachers tend to bring work home. To be more efficient, keep graduate work and school work separate. When you need to bring work home, keep it in a separate place from your study space. Avoid bringing graduate work to school. Plan your time wisely to leave work at an hour that lets you get home to study.

Anytime you feel overwhelmed, take a deep breath. Then pick one thing to focus on while blocking the rest.

Save a few bucks by renting textbooks. Just remember to turn them in on time. Create a reminder on your calendar to return the books.

Teachers in the M.Ed. program have an advantage: Their careers are in education. Use your experience in education to your advantage. The experience is what you make of it. Before you know it, you will have your M.Ed. like Ty Jones.

Learn more about UTA's online Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies program.


Psychology Today: Ten Unwritten Rules for Success in Graduate Schools

UTA: Ty G. Jones Never Stops Learning, Educating

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