I’m learning a lot more about research and action research, and how to take best practices and learn more about them. I have the time to study now because I’m in a structured program; then [I] bring those [ideas] back into my classroom, to not just benefit my students, but teachers, as well. For example, professional development is an area that I’m very interested in. Because of my coursework, I can delve into the areas that are interesting to me. Because of that structure, I’ve had the opportunity to learn a whole lot more and bring it back to the professional development that I lead with other staff. I like to teach them techniques and strategies to work effectively with these kids in the regular classroom setting, which is the best place for them; but it’s not fair to just dump them there and not give teachers the tools.
Through Walden, I’ve had the time to learn best-practice research and bring that to my professional learning community. I feel that I’ve had the opportunity to bring a lot to my district. I think they’re a beneficiary of it also.
We have just two teachers who have doctorates. It’s a new thing for teachers to go through this level of education. Typically, just administrators have that; a lot of administrators don’t even have that.
I think people look at you with new respect. They want to use that expertise. So they say, “Well, would you lead out on this committee or that,” and they really want to hear what you have to say. I work in a supportive school, so the voice of teachers has always been valued, but I think it gives you a little bit more credibility in your own building, as well as with some of the other things I do outside my own school.