A Master’s Degree in Education can help you advance your career and make a bigger impact in your classroom and community. But pursing a graduate degree while teaching full-time can be a challenge—especially if you have other personal obligations. That’s why it’s important to set your goal, get organized, find support, and follow through.
1. Get Your M.Ed. Online
One of the best ways to fit anything new into an already busy schedule is to leverage all the efficiencies and technologies you can. Online learning can provide you with the same robust academic experience, while allowing you more flexibility. To get the most out of your online experience, make certain to brush up on your tech skills and create a schedule and a space to get your work done.
2. Share the News
Pursuing a master’s degree is a big deal. If you want to be successful from the start, let the people in your life know what you’re doing. That way, they’ll give you the space you need to step away at times. You can also accept their offers of help and encouragement if you stumble or get stressed.
3. Plan it Out
As a teacher, you’re already organized. Use the well-honed skills you already possess to plan your class sessions, studies, exams, papers, and projects. Take a proactive look at syllabi and schedules and connect them to your work schedule and family life. Map it all out, down to days and hours, and even minutes. Pursuing a degree while working full time will work best when all the pieces fit, but you won’t know how they do unless you look at the big picture.
4. Use Small Time Smartly
Even small 15-minute blocks of time you may have previously used to scroll through social media or watch TV can be valuable for your program. Attack your to-do list and studies whenever there’s a space in your schedule. For example, maybe you typically take lunch with fellow teachers, but you have an exam coming up. Stay in your classroom and study while you eat.
5. Don’t Miss M.Ed. Classes
Whether you pursue your degree on campus or online, it’s important that your attendance is near perfect. You can’t get what you need from your program if you don’t show up, do the work, pay attention, and contribute. If you absolutely cannot attend a class for some reason, make sure to communicate with your professor.
6. Ask for Help
Degree programs will have academic and career counseling components, along with your instructors. If you don’t understand a concept, have trouble adapting to the workload, or start to fall behind, reach out and ask for help. Many students have come before you, and there are people and resources available to help you find success. Also, lean on your teaching colleagues. Some of them may have already gotten their master’s degrees. How did they do it? What advice do they have to offer? They even may be willing to help with work commitments, when possible.
7. Work Ahead When You Can
Deadlines are great to plan around, but if you have some extra time and can finish assignments early, do it. It feels great to have items checked off your list, and if something unexpected comes up, you’ll be much better equipped to handle it if you’re not in the thick of a million things at once.
8. Practice Good Habits
Try to go to bed and wake up at the same times every day—even on the weekend. Be sure to eat well, get some exercise, and engage with family and friends. When it comes to studying, try to do so in a similar place. Remove distractions, put away your phone, and set your sights on the task at hand. Time isn’t something you’ll have a lot of, so maximizing yours, will be key.
9. Apply What You Learn
The beauty of earning a degree while you’re teaching, is that you can use what you’re learning in your job, along the way. If you have to do a lesson plan for school, why not make it one you can also use for work? If you learn a new instructional technique, try it out in your classroom. This real-world, hands-on application can expand your skillset and help you better internalize what you learn.
10. Practice Self-Care
You’re going to be busy. There’s no way around that. But knowing this in advance and remembering to take care of yourself is incredibly important. Make time for exercise, mindfulness, cooking, friends, family and hobbies. You’ll be surprised how even a bit of time for yourself can keep you fresh and productive.
Ready to pursue your master’s degree? Bluefield College offers an online Master of Arts in Education: Curriculum and Instruction (MAED) degree program that you can pursue from the convenience of your own home. You’ll learn strategies for assessing and evaluating student work, curriculum design, foundations of special education, and more. To find out more about this and all our programs, request more information today.