I chose to get a master’s degree in educational technology from Concordia University, Saint Paul to become a better classroom teacher. Yet being an elementary education teacher consumes an immense amount of time, and the thought of taking on yet another thing seemed a little daunting to me. I was already juggling teaching, tutoring, coaching, and trying to keep some semblance of a social life. I feared that working towards a master’s degree might disrupt my life balance. However, I ended up being pleasantly surprised. Taking master’s classes online didn’t make me feel overwhelmed or over-committed at all. Instead, I felt empowered to be bettering myself in my career and for my students. I liked getting back into the routine of school, and bringing what I learned back to the classroom to use on my students. I could not be happier with my decision to get a master’s degree and would highly recommend the online format for several reasons.
Online Classes Save Time
Completing the master’s program online was convenient and flexible. My classes started at 6 p.m. every Tuesday night. I didn’t have to waste time leaving 30 minutes before the start time and driving during rush hour. I would log on at 5:55 p.m., read the instructor’s directions for the night, make sure my assignments were pulled up, and be ready to start. This meant that my total class time was 1 hour and 5 minutes, instead of over 2 hours (when you figure the commute to and from). If you want to get technical and do the math, I saved over 100 hours of driving time in the two years it took me to get my master’s degree. And I can think of a lot of productive things to do with 100 extra hours.
Importance of Not Having to Miss Class
While I loved being able to take the master’s program from my couch, it was also nice being able to have the option of not having to be at home during my class time. There were a few times that I would have normally had to miss class due to school conferences or a family vacation, yet because of the online format, I never missed a single class. When my school had conferences twice a year, I would block off my one hour class time and sign on from school. When my family vacationed in the Caribbean, I signed on from the beach. This helped me because I didn’t have to do make-up assignments or feel like I missed out on important information. The flexibility of the online program was a key part for me deciding to get my master’s degree in the first place.
The Flexibility of Online Classes
Along with the flexibility of where I logged into class from, the online format was the most comfortable learning environment for me. I was able to attend class from my couch or my bed, in my pajamas, or sweaty from just finishing a workout. I liked that I could eat dinner during class or run to the bathroom faster than if I was physically at the university. I liked that my dog could sit next to me on the couch, and being at home made me feel like I wasn’t missing out on family time. I liked that I felt like I was in a safe environment to speak up and participate, because I had the confidence of my familiar surroundings. After becoming pregnant with twins halfway through the program, I was even more thankful to be taking the classes online rather than in a classroom. I was much more relaxed and less stressed with managing my time. I felt that the time I would have spent in the car was better spent getting readings, projects, and completing papers..
Why the Online Program was Best for Me
The decision to complete my master’s in educational technology from Concordia University, St. Paul using their online format was hardly a decision at all. I knew that when I started seeking out my master’s programs, being able to complete it online would be the best option for me. Not only was it convenient and flexible, but it saved time and money. On top of that, I got the bonus of learning in a more comfortable learning environment — my own home. Instead of feeling like I was taking on just another thing, as many teachers feel like they are always doing, I felt empowered to become a learner again. Thanks to Concordia offering an online format, I now have a master’s degree that I feel proud of and that continues to make a difference in my instruction each and every day.