Teaching and Graduate School

January 27, 2018 No Comments

Teaching and Graduate School

January 27, 2018 No Comments
How to Handle Teaching and Grad School Like a Boss
It’s not required of every state, but many states in the U.S. require teachers to obtain their Master’s degree so within a given range of time once they start teaching.  Here in Kentucky, for example, you have to start your Master’s degree within 5 years.  The demands of teaching layered with the demands of any graduate-level coursework will most definitely take a toll on other parts of your life.
I hate to brag, but I may very well be a professional at teaching while handling graduate school.  I started teaching in 2011 and started my master’s degree in 2012.  Since then, I’ve obtained my Master’s degree in Literacy, taken additional graduate classes in the field of literacy as part of a district initiative, obtained my Rank 1, and am currently working on my Educational Specialist in School Leadership and Administration.  I’ve been in graduate school for the last 6 years and have only taken one year off of school since 1994.
It’s okay, you can laugh.
You can call me insane.
The truth is, I just love school.  I love learning all that there is to know and getting better at the job that I love to do.  I have learned, however, that if you aren’t organized and purposeful about how you spend your time, your life can come crashing down.  All. Around. You.
Okay, maybe that’s being a bit dramatic.  But seriously.  

Navigating Teaching and Graduate School

There are ways to survive keeping full-time teaching job as well as a graduate course load and still have a life, however.  Below are my top five tips for thriving through life if you’re going to graduate school and teaching simultaneously.
1. Invest in a good planner.  This may seem like a no-brainer, but I don’t know how I would survive without my planner.  I’ve used a planner since I can remember but prior to this year, I’ve only ever used it for keeping track of school work.  I usually buy the cheap planners you can get for under $10 at Target.  This year, I switched to a Happy Planner and it is the best decision I’ve ever made.  My planner has three sections, which I use to organize my personal life, teaching responsibilities, and graduate coursework and homework.  This planner has literally saved my life and helped to keep me on track.  Before, I would forget even the simplest things. 
I got my Happy Planner during a back-to-school sale at Michael’s for 50% off, but you can find one similar to the one I got on Amazon using this link (affiliate link).  I also know several teachers who use the Erin Condren Teacher or Life Planner.  You can find them at www.erincondren.com.
Using a Happy planner to manage school, work, and personal items.
2. Get ahead of the game.  More than likely, you’ve got a syllabus outlining your assignments for the semester.  I usually try my best to get ahead in my classes, especially with the reading assignments.  Got an extra few hours one weekend?  Read ahead for a couple of classes.  That way, all you have to do is go back and skim your notes the day before.
I always write notes in the margins of my books and highlight throughout.  My absolute favorite pens for writing in my books are the Papermate Inkjoy Gel Pens and fat Sharpie highlighters (affiliate links).  The ink is super smooth and vivid in both of them.  As a bonus, they don’t often bleed through paper unless it’s very thin. You can pick up some over at Amazon.
I use Sharpie highlighters and Inkjoy gel pens to take notes in my books for my graduate school classes.
3. Choose a field that you are passionate about and fits with your current job.  Also a no-brainer.  I got my master’s degree in Literacy because I truly believe that changing the trajectory of my students’ lives and future depends on their ability to succeed in a literate world.  I loved my master’s program because I was learning about ideas and strategies I could immediately take back to my classroom and implement.  This not only made it easier, it made it relevant.  I knew that my coursework mattered because it was making me a better teacher, day by day.  
If you’re passionate about what you do, it doesn’t feel like work.
4. Connect with other teachers on social media.  There’s something special about connecting with teachers who understand what you’re going through on a daily basis.  I gain inspiration and understanding from my Instagram and Twitter PLNs, both from teachers in my district and those across the world.  The primarily visual aspect of Instagram gives you a peek into other classrooms, while Twitter chats give you the opportunity to hold discussions and collaborate with others.  Check out this link for a complete list of Twitter Education Chats.  The list below highlights some of my favorite hashtags on each platform.
teacher hashtags to use on social media, instagram and twitter
5. Schedule time to take a break and do something for YOU.  If you only commit to doing one thing from this list, make it this.  As a former workaholic who unabashedly loves her job, I have only recently come to recognize the importance of taking time for yourself.  Before I met my husband, actually, I had no problem working my tail off at work then coming home and working some more.  I enjoyed it, but I also realize that it wasn’t healthy.  It stressed me out to be in that mode 24/7 and my mental and physical health suffered.  
Take at least one day off a week.  Don’t work on the weekends or, if you can’t avoid it, limit it to only one day.  Also, find something that you love to do outside of work.  My husband and I love to play tabletop games with our friends, spend time with our families, and cook together.  We also love to pull out our paint and sketchbooks and get creative together.  I know that it’s easy to say, “I don’t have time for a hobby!”  But it’s vital to your sanity that you MAKE time.  Write it down on your to-do list so that you can mark it off.  Schedule it a week in advance.  Just don’t skip it.
I hope these tips will help you manage and stay organized while navigating through graduate school and the teaching profession.  Do you have other tips for thriving during this time in your life?  Leave us a comment below!  
sherylwoods

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About Me

About Me

Hi! My name is Sheryl and I am so thankful you've found your way to the TeacherLadyKY blog! I'm an elementary educator from Louisville, Kentucky who is passionate about building relationships and literacy skills with my students. I've taught everything from kindergarten to fifth grade and I can't wait to share my experiences with you! Enjoy! Read More

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  • This week's #bulletjournal setup. Usually, I do a day at a time, but after binge watching see @amandarachlee on YouTube this weekend, I thought I'd set it all up at once. One thing I love about my #bujo is that I can do WHATEVER I want, WHENEVER I want to. 😁
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#bulletjournals #bulletjournaling #bujoweeklyspread  #bujoideas #bujoinspiration #penguins
  • ⭐ D R E A M E R ⭐
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Honestly, there are so many good MLK, Jr. quotes, it was hard to choose just one. Instead of choosing one of his justice-oriented quotes (which are completely relevant at the moment and let's not forget that), I decided to go with this one.
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At the end of the day, all you have is your dreams. Don't let someone else take that you. Know what you want and make it manifest in your life.#besavagenotaverage #thebestisyettocome #teacherladyky .
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#teacherbsn #teacherblogger #teachersofinstagram  #mlkjrday #martinlutherkingjr #martinluutherkingjrquotes #mlkquotes #mondaymotivation #motivationalmonday #motivationalquotes #dreams #dreamers
  • A couple of nights ago, this sweet boy scared the crap out of us. He couldn't stand and, once he did stand, he just lobbed from side to side like he was unable to hold his balance. Then, as suddenly as it started, it was over. Five minutes at the most. .
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It's happened once before, months ago, and the vet who saw him a few hours after it happened said he checked out perfectly healthy. We think it's vertigo, but it happens so suddenly and goes so quickly, that it seems there's nothing we could do to stop it from happening.  I hate that I don't know when it will happen (or if it even will happen again) and I have there's nothing I can do for my sweet boy.
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Also, side note, be thankful that you can't smell through Instagram because this boy needs a BATH.
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#dogsofinstagram #instagramdogs #teacherladyky
  • I'm working on something for the blog that involves these babies. 😍 If you had told me five years ago that I'd be obsessed with dice, I would have laughed in your face. Oh, how things change.  I mean, how can you not be obsessed with something that comes in so many beautiful colors?
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#teachersofinstagram #iteach456 #teacherbsn #teacherlife #roleplayinggames #rpg #dungeonsanddragons #pathfinder #tabletopgames #polyhedraldice #dice #teacherladyky
  • S A T U R D A Y
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I've spent my morning doing lesson plans and working on some new TPT products. I have housework to do (so much housework to do), but I love a good laid back, productive Saturday morning and I wish every day could be this way.
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What are you doing on this dreary day? And, if you're local, what's your snow prediction? πŸ€”β„οΈπŸ€”β„οΈπŸ€”
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#teachersofinstagram #teachersfollowteachers #teacherinstagram #iteachtoo #iteachfifth #iteachfifthgrade #iteach456 #teacherpreneur #thebestisyettocome
  • You are not here to please someone else.  You are not here to fall into someone else's story, play someone else's sidekick, or help someone else achieve their dreams.  This life is YOUR story and it is your purpose to fulfill YOUR own dreams.
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If your dream is to serve others, then by all means, go do THAT.  But do not put their needs above your own.  If what is happening in your life doesn't align with the goals that you've set forth in your life, it's time to let it (or them) go.  You only purpose to be the best, most authentic version of you.  First, foremost, and always.
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#teachersofinstagram #teachersfollowteachers #thebestisyettocome #besavagenotaverage #youareabadass #jensincero #iteachtoo #quote #quotesofinstagram #instagramquotes #motivationalquotes #motivationmonday
  • *Trying to do report cards*
Crow: But, mom, it's windy outside and I'm scared...
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One day, I'm going to be able to stay home and work with him in my lap all day and I can't wait. #BeSavageNotAverage #thebestisyettocome
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#dogsofinstagram #instadogs #instadog #teacherlife #teachersofIG #teacherladyky #teacherBSN #teachersfollowteachers #teacherblogger #teacherbloggersellernetwork
  • β€’ G R O W I N G β€’
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I spent the majority of the day attending doctor's appointments and listening to Brendon Burchard's book, "High Performance Habits." Like I've mentioned before, I've been stuck lately and the first part of his book is about finding clarity in your life.
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I NEEDED to hear him tell the story of one of his clients who was great at what she did, but still felt stuck. It's hard not to feel guilty about admitting that what you're doing isn't what you want, especially when you've poured years of work and thousands of dollars to get there. That's where I'm at right now. I feel restless, unfulfilled, and uninspired.
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Let me be clear, I LOVE what I do. I love my job, my students, and my life. But something is off and it's not enough. I've been searching for a long time trying to figure out what it is and I am getting closer.  I AM a teacher, but so much more than that too. I am always learning, always growing, always working on my next great adventure. I hope you are too. #BeSavageNotAverage #thebestisyettocome
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#teachersfollowteachers #teachersofinsta #teachersofinstagram #teachersofIG #iteachtoo #iteach456 #highperformancehabits #brendonshow #gogetterspodcast #
  • What a day, y'all. I was expecting my fifth graders to be tired and dragging, but no such luck.  They met me in full force this morning and we went nonstop to 8:50 to 4:00.
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Honestly, I enjoyed my break and I was ready to delve into the some personal projects, so I dreaded heading back today.  I've got big goals and dreams for the future, but being with my kiddos was exactly what I needed. I love my job and, more importantly, I love my students. Everything that I do for my business is for students, for the ones currently in my classroom and those that may never sit in classroom.  TeacherLadyKY is about making an impact to change the world and it may be small now, but my dreams are big. Believe that. #BeSavageNotAverage #thebestisyettocome
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The TeacherLadyKY blog header and logo were designed by Sheryl, using fonts from A Primary Kind of Life and Brittney Murphy Design.Β  Clip art is courtesy of Irina Bandyk, whose Etsy shop is WatercolorCliparts.Β Β The blog theme used is Emilia by Georgia Lou Studios.

 

 

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