5 Tips for Earning an MEd While Still Teaching Full Time
Being a teacher is just as rewarding as it can be tiring. Nearly every day of the week, you’re grading papers and lesson planning. You may have kids of your own and advise Key Club. You may exercise every AM, or tutor every PM. Whatever your lifestyle, you don’t want to shuffle it around—but you do want a Master of Education.
Of all the potential benefits—increased pay, knowledge, respect, a leadership role—something is lighting a fire in you to do exactly what you implore of your students daily: learn something new. Invest in yourself. Dare to do.
So, can you really manage an MEd program with your current schedule? Absolutely. At Concordia University-Portland—where, according to IPEDS (2015), we’ve awarded more MEds than any other school—we have a lot of experience in empowering life-changers like you to earn that degree, and love the journey. You can totally do this; here are a few tips to help.
1. Create your inspiration board
It doesn’t matter whether your passion is glue sticks or graphs, this is one creative project we promise you can do (and will be worth it). As you research programs online, take a cue from those motivational posters that hang in grade school classrooms: create something digital (perhaps a Pinterest board) or analog (like a collage in your bedroom) that will inspire you day in and day out. For those times when you feel exhilarated or the exact opposite, this will help keep you going. Sound silly? Get this: In a recent survey by TD Bank, 82 percent of small business owners who used a vision board from the start reported that they achieved more than half their initial goals.
2. Build your support network
In addition to an inspiration board, having people in your life who can support you, cheer you on, have your back, fill in for you, and hold you accountable is invaluable for fitting a graduate program seamlessly into your life. Let your family know what your plan is and what your hopes are. Chat with your employer about your decision. Inform friends that some things may shift in your schedule, but it’s only temporary—and that you’d love their encouragement along the way. And if you’re up for it, share your news on social media. Earning a graduate degree is an immensely exciting decision, and one to be proud of!
3. Audit your schedule
As you’re reading this, you’re undoubtedly thinking about the fact that enrolling in a graduate program may mean you have to make a few sacrifices. The truth is, if you do have a packed schedule, you may at the very least have to hit pause on a few of your current weekly obligations to ensure that you have time for coursework. That’s okay! Remember, your program will end and you can resume doing everything you’re doing now. How about some help?
4. Consider the obvious
With your motivational tools and new schedule in place, it’s time to construct your initial list of programs. You probably already recognize that the most convenient modality for a working professional is an online format—and we agree. But you’re reading this guide for tips, and this is a big one: not all virtual programs are created equal. As you surf through the countless options out there, consider the obvious (and not-so-obvious) markers of a program worth your time.
5. Ask the right questions
Once you have a list of options that pass those obvious checkboxes on the previous page, now’s when you really want to dig in. At each of your top choices, connect with the enrollment team and ask questions that will shed light on whether or not you really belong in their program. Your goal is to love the school you pick so that you make it work, no matter what; otherwise, it’ll be too easy to delay starting your MEd program or lose the motivation to complete it. Consider asking these questions to find the school that truly speaks to you.
Our goal is that by the time you get to this page, you’re feeling more reassured about joining an MEd program no matter what’s going on in your life. With planning and motivation, it’s doable and worth it.