Karen Hewlett always knew what she wanted to be when she grew up. Today, she is living that dream as an 8th grade math teacher. For her, building her students’ confidence and being a part of their development has always been a highlight of her job. “I love to watch the kids as they understand; for those that struggle it is sometimes as though a light has come on and then they get it. It’s very rewarding,” she said.
Living the dream didn’t keep Hewlett from setting her sites on her future. After deciding to work towards her Master’s degree, she started a program with another university but found it to be unsatisfying. “The program just wasn’t doing it for me,” she explained. “I wanted something challenging that would take me in a new direction.” As it turns out, University of Cincinnati’s Master of Education in Educational Leadership program struck a chord.
Earning a Master’s degree certainly isn’t supposed to be easy. As challenging as it can be, Hewlett finds the work rewarding, especially since she’s been able to apply practice and theory in her current classroom. Being able to relate the course work to her role as an 8th grade math teacher has helped her to understand the concepts better and allowed her to put them into action. “In the classroom I’ve developed an understanding of what additional skills I can apply to help my students learn,” she said. “Additionally, the program has opened my eyes on how to interact with colleagues by ensuring professionalism and having open lines of communication. It’s taught me a new outlook on being a leader.”
One of the key elements that are contributing to Hewlett’s success, and is widely praised by most students within the online program, is the cohort. Here students from all over the country offer insight, suggestions, and tips from inside their own working classrooms. “The cohort has been a great opportunity for me; I’ve learned something new about every aspect of education by discussing topics with my cohort. I’ve gotten to be exposed to what is going on in all types of classrooms in all different types of geographic areas, which believe it or not, really make a difference sometimes on outcomes,” she said.
The ease of the program and the comfortable level with her classmates, cohort, facilitator, and professors has also helped Hewlett through the program. “There is definitely a lot of work, but the support I receive is invaluable. Everyone is quick to contact you back, answer your questions, and help you on your way,” she said. “The program lets you work at your own pace on your own time. Better yet, there are no limits on how much I can learn, it’s making me responsible for myself and for that I’m finding tremendous value in the program personally as well.”
Hewlett continues her journey towards earning her Master of Education and has already set her goals higher. “I hope to become an administrator one day. In fact, I hope to go even higher than that. I would love to be involved on some level where I can have the most impact. I would jump at the opportunity to help train other teachers, and maybe one day work at the college level,” she said.
“Once I finish my degree, I truly feel my possibilities will be endless.”