Earning your master’s degree in education can help you become an even better teacher, preparing you to shape young lives, improve student outcomes, and stay at the forefront of your field. Ask any veteran educator how to become a great teacher and you will likely hear the MS in Education degree is a great first step.
Educators become more effective over the years by learning from their students. Students’ engagement in class can help an educator determine what’s working and what isn’t, whether it’s a teaching style or specific approach to a lesson, or even how best to connect individually with students to inspire each one to learn and succeed.
In addition, effective educators learn from each other. Teacher observation and sharing best practices about teaching can help improve one’s efficacy in the classroom, whether it’s sharing instructional techniques and ideologies or learning how to handle certain student behaviors.
Hearing from other teachers has the power to transform an educator’s work and help them positively impact students’ lives. Here is some great insight from great teachers:
- Find ways to connect with individual students. “Students have interests, goals, and dreams,” says Jomayra Torres, an MS in Education graduate from Walden University and teacher at BelovED Community Charter School in Jersey City, New Jersey. “They look to you to help them grow and develop. Find out what makes each student tick and what their motivations are so you can help them be successful.” This approach, she says, “is about more than education. It’s teaching the whole child.”
- Be grateful to your own teachers. “I am the product of great teachers,” says Ainissa Ramirez, a mechanical engineering and materials science professor and science evangelist. “They can show you something that you have never seen before and awaken that little something inside of you that you’ve never seen before.”*
- Develop a classroom environment of respect. Caitlin Brennan, a music educator at Revere High School in Revere, Massachusetts, says, “Sometimes disciplinary tones and actions are needed, but it’s essential to smile and laugh with your students, too. It makes you more human to them; they will respect you more and you can build great relationships from there.”†
- Use engaging content that prompts students to immediately begin asking questions. Teresa St. Angelo, an MS in Education graduate of Walden University, longtime New Jersey teacher, and 2016-2017 Library of Congress teacher-in-residence, says to look for new ideas everywhere. Go to local museums, national parks, or historical societies to find new partners and ask about curriculum that you can adapt. The content will help you develop new lessons that can be meaningful and fun. “It’s amazing,” she says. “Once a challenge has been set, students question, describe, discover, search, talk to each other, and work to solve the challenge.”
- Always remember your motivation. “Constantly remind yourself why you are in the profession,” says Aaron Frazee, a high school social studies teacher. “If you keep in mind the kids you’re reaching and the difference you can make in one kid’s life, it will be worth it. Focus on your success stories, and don’t focus on the kids who won’t allow you to reach them (for whatever reason). And write down the funny stuff that happens. It’s good to have a drawer full of those things when you’re having a bad day.”‡
Though teachers have been known to develop formal and informal networks within their schools and school districts that allow them to share ideas with each other, those who choose to earn an MSEd degree online benefit from a far-reaching network of teachers from around the country who learn with and from each other. Many of those relationships continue long after graduation. Building camaraderie and connecting with other educators can have a lasting effect on teachers and students.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering online education degree programs, including the MS in Education with 17 specializations. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
*A. Kamenetz, How To Be A Great Teacher, From 12 Great Teachers, nprED, on the internet at www.npr.org/sections/ed/2016/01/30/463981852/how-to-be-a-great-teacher-from-12-great-teachers.
†N. Barile, Advice for New and Novice Teachers From Veteran Colleagues, Center for Teaching Quality, on the internet at www.teachingquality.org/content/blogs/nancy-barile/advice-new-and-novice-teachers-veteran-colleagues.
‡National Education Association, What I Wish I Had Known, NEA Benefits, on the internet at www.neamb.com/professional-resources/advice-for-new-teachers.htm.