As an adult over the age of 25 who works full-time, I knew I would have to find a quality education program that would be both relevant to my field and flexible. After researching several universities, I found the program at Concordia University Texas to be best suited for me. The program there made pursuing a master’s degree convenient for me as a full-time working 4th grade teacher.
When I first began coursework in the college of education, it was immediately apparent that the instructors at Concordia fully understood the courses they were teaching and the nuances associated with them. Each instructor was sure to assign coursework anchored in occurrences similar to those found in normal school environments. Like me, the instructors were primarily former classroom teachers, and therefore, had years of valuable experience that corresponded with the material they were presenting. To add to this, many of the faculty in the program assessed new learning through a range of assignments and projects. This alternative approach provided me with many opportunities to present newly acquired skills in a more realistic way than a traditional test would offer.
The online education I received from Concordia proved to be practical as well. I found that I could relate what I learned, while doing coursework, to the job I did every day. This led to a deeper understanding of concepts, which in turn, improved my job performance.
Through the weekly post on the class discussion boards, others students shared relevant work-related examples and discussed recent experiences. The discussion boards not only fostered conversation among students and encouraged reflection, but also became a source of academic feedback and peer- to-peer support.
Most importantly, I did not have to sacrifice my lifestyle or work obligations to earn a graduate degree. The fast-paced program typically required me to only work one or two evenings a week. Online courses are accessible 24/7, 365 days a year; therefore, I could usually study around my work schedule and from anywhere. The online courses at Concordia gave me the opportunity to plan my study time around the rest of my day, and work at my convenience. All of these benefits helped me, as a student, balance work and family commitments with getting my education.
At the end of my educational journey, I received a master’s degree with a focus in advanced literacy instruction. This specialization further prepared me to deliver effective literacy instruction from early childhood to high school levels. Completing this specialization also allowed me to be eligible to take and pass the reading specialist exam and become a certified reading specialist. Being able to attend a school that offered such great convenience and support, helped me to achieve my educational and professional goals.