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

All posts

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Join the #TeacherLadyKY tribe!

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

Instagram

  • I apologize for the poor video quality, but five of my kiddos were in the school’s production of The Lion King Kids and I was so proud of them. They played Simba, Scar, and three of the hyenas. It was so amazing to see them come out of their shells and shine on stage.
.
.
Did I cry? Of course I cried. I cried the whole time.
.
.
#teachersofinstagram #theater #teacher #teacherlife #iteachtoo #iteachfifth
  • Puppy noses and happy smiles are my favorite.
.
.
#dogsofinstagram #dogstagram #crow #dogwalk #retriever #retrievers #retrieversofinstagram
  • Wake up and be awesome today. Make it happen.
.
.
.
#teachersofinstagram #motivationalquotes #mondaymotivation #monday #mondayquotes #mondaymood #fitgirldiary
  • Not going to lie, I had a self-hatred moment this morning. I haven’t been to the gym in ages and I keep putting it off because, what’s another day, right?  So, so wrong.

I hated how I looked in the mirror this morning. I hated how there were rolls where there shouldn’t be and dimples in places there should be no dimples. I literally wanted to throw up. Is that normal? Probably not. It’s not healthy, for sure, but it’s something most women go through.

Why?

But then, friends, I put on my face and opened the windows and felt that wet hair-fresh mind-sunshine kind of feeling and I felt better. Not 100%, but better.

I’m going to the gym today. Or at least walking the dog around the neighborhood. I’ll keep you posted.
  • He’s my favorite person to do stuff with.
  • Project based learning in progress. These kiddos came up with their own business plan to serve the community. They created missions, visions, slogans, and logos. Now they’re building their businesses. I can’t wait to see them finished!
.
.
#teachersofinstagram #teachersofog #iteachtoo #iteachfifth #fifthgrade #pbl #projectbasedlearning #business #communities
  • It's been a busy (and really weird) couple of weeks. Things have been messy, jumbled, cancelled, redone, and just over all insane. It's always nice to start a new week: clean, fresh, and organized.

I've been trying new weekly layouts each week of March this far... I'll let you know which one I liked best at the end.  This week's is more open, but still horizontal. Maybe a vertical layout next week? Stay tuned... #bujodaily #bujolayout #bujoideas #bujoinspiration #bujo #bulletjournal #bulletjournaling #bulletjournals #marchbulletjournal #march #cactus #cacti #succulents #freshweek #saturday #sunday
  • I attended #ECET2Bardstown this weekend and was in awe of how BEAUTIFUL Thomas Nelson High School is. The inspiration and empowerment run rapid at this place and you can feel it in every corner. #SchoolGoals #goodmojo
.
.
#teacherbsn #teachersofinstagram #teaxhertribe #schoolleadership #schoolsleaders #blbs
  • Finally.... My March bullet journal! It was hard to choose a theme, but I grabbed some inspiration from @amandarachlee's 2018 (2017?) March spread. I love it so far! Swipe to see my first weekly spread  and flip through of my monthly calendar, habit tracker, and mood tracker. Do you approve of my cacti/succulent theme, @jmeier205?
.
.
What's your March spread look like? I'd love to see them!
.
.
#bujoideas #bujoinspiration #march #marchbulletjournal #marchbujo #bujo #bujoweeklyspread #bujodaily #bujolayout #art #doodles #bujodoodles #bulletjournal #bulletjournaling #bulletjournals #planwithme #planning #plannergirls #cactus

Follow Me!

Twitter

Blog Archive

Credits

The TeacherLadyKY blog header and logo were designed by Sheryl, using fonts from A Primary Kind of Life and Brittney Murphy Design.  Clip art is courtesy of Irina Bandyk, whose Etsy shop is WatercolorCliparts.  The blog theme used is Emilia by Georgia Lou Studios.

 

 

×