Why the Teacher Went Back to School

A forest? All I see are trees! During my 5th year in the classroom, I had a lot on my plate – two national fellowships, teaching around 100 students during the day and teaching virtually at night (like most teachers, I had to have a 2nd job) and many other responsibilities. However, I kept feeling that I was missing something… As I considered going back to get my Masters of Education, I began to realize all the things I was missing…

Updated educational research – While I could seek out updates on my own, I knew that pursuing my Master of Education would provide me with relevant educational research that addressed the needs of my students. Northeastern has a tremendous focus on research – check!

Broader points of view – While I enjoy collaborating with my colleagues at work, we are from fairly similar backgrounds and have fairly similar viewpoints. I wanted the chance to collaborate with a much broader set of minds to get fresh viewpoints on issues and approaches. Northeastern has a global community of both students and professors – check!

Opportunities for impact and feedback  – I get data every day on how my students are doing, but I wanted more frequent feedback about how I was doing, especially on challenging tasks. Stretching is an important part of not just exercising muscles but also of growing any practice. Northeastern’s focus on real-world applications challenged me then and still gives me the chance for impact – check!

A larger network and community – Teachers might “live” in one classroom, but our interactions should be much broader within the community. I wanted to better know Charlotte – both the educational network and the broader community. Northeastern University-Charlotte’s MacFarland teacher scholarship brought me together with other educators and the district – check! Bonus – the many degree programs and social gatherings offered via Northeastern University have broadened my connection with so many other professionals.

Continuing my education wasn’t about building a paved road, but rather about opening a wider environment for me to work and play in.

About the Author:

Joanna Schimizzi is a biology teacher for both Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and North Carolina Virtual Public Schools. She is an alumni of UNC Charlotte and received her M.Ed. as the first graduate of the Northeastern University-Charlotte’s campus. Joanna enjoys working on science literacy projects with organizations such as ISKME, Student Achievement Partners and the College Board. She is a fellow with both NAATE and America Achieves and supports new teachers through Teach Charlotte. Joanna was recognized by MeckEd as a 2012 Teacher of Excellence and has her National Board Certification. Joanna believes there is always room for reflection and growth for both her students and herself.


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