Domingo, 18/8/2019 | : : UTC-4
The Reflection

Teachers balance school and life while completing Master’s programs

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Earning a Masters degree means a higher pay and more opportunities. For teachers it means higher steps in pay and ability to acquire administrative positions. Numerous Gull Lake teachers have struggled to balance their own education, the education of their students, and their lives as a whole. 

Trisha Stevens AP Language Teacher. Courtesy of Trisha Stevens

One of these educators is English teacher, Trisha Stevens. Stevens teaches AP Language and Composition, which includes a major workload for both her and her students. While teaching demanding course, Stevens is completing  online courses herself titled MA in Education: Curriculum and Instruction. Stevens decided to do an online course instead of physically attending a class because it’s more feasible for her to work and to teach as well.

“It is very challenging. I try to prioritize and pay attention, very closely, to my due dates…whatever is due first is done first, and then I move onto my next task,” said Stevens in regards to teaching her AP Language class and working for her Masters.

Stevens had to read and study from this book in order to complete her class.
Photo by Sierra Mason.

Stevens organizes by due dates. She utilizes a planner in order to keep all of these dates in order. Therefore, she views both being a teacher and a student as equal importance.

Completing all of her tasks leaves very little time for her to even sleep. Stevens averages about four to five hours of sleep a night, during the week and about six to eight hours over the weekend. She has also has to exclude exercise, time spent with family and social time out of her day to day life.

“But, again, I’m always going to look at it as a temporary thing, because I’m not always going to have this Masters degree to work on,” Stevens said.

Stevens is working to compete her MA in Education: Curriculum and Instruction.
Photo by Sierra Mason

The most difficult assignment thus far that Stevens said she has to complete for her Masters was to write a 3,000 word essay on the differences between qualitative and quantitative research methodologies. This essay was due the same week of exams.

So, why do it? Why do teachers put themselves through this? It opens doors to new experiences and higher pay, but for teachers like Stevens, completing a Masters degree has always been a goal. She plans to remain an English teacher here, at Gull Lake High School.

Another teacher who is working towards her Masters degree is Senior English teacher and Model UN and Debate coach  Sheila Wood. Wood is nearing the final stages of completing her Masters in Education Leadership. Along with the task of completing this program, she is also tasked with running Debate and Model UN, teaching English and Speech classes along with running a bike shop that she owns alongside her husband.

“Life is utter chaos at the moment. Typically, owning the bike store adds to our lifestyle, in terms of we love to bicycle and that’s what we do,” Wood said.

Along with this shop, Wood coaches both Debate and Model UN, which takes up a substantial chunk of her time.

“I am so committed to [Debate and Model UN] that I squish my Master’s in around it,” said Wood about coaching these teams.

Wood has been committed to the programs for three years. These clubs usually include competition that has them traveling throughout Michigan and other areas throughout the Midwest, including Chicago, Illinois and Washington, D.C. on weekends.

Wood plans to wrap up the program in three weeks. She also needs to write a 130 page paper that accumulates all of the research that she has done throughout the trimester that is due in two weeks and grade exams.

After obtaining her degree, Wood plans on remaining within the Gull Lake district and mentoring  Model UN and Debate.

“I’d love to stay in this district. I can’t tell where the future will take me, but I am very, very happy with what I do,” said Wood.

Sierra Mason

This is my first year on the Newspaper staff. I have been wanting to be involved in it for a while, but I have never had room in my schedule. Although I am more into the photography aspect, I am also excited to write an assortment of articles.


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