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Posts Tagged ‘love of learning’

To teach is to serve God.  I do it with humility, passion and enthusiasm. It is humbling for me to teach, inspire, influence, encourage and love my students.  This past year, I stepped out of my comfort as an educator to high school mathematics students and entereNallined a Ph.D. Program at the Seattle Pacific University.  I was offered the opportunity to share my practical experiences as an educator to university students who have a desire to pursue education as their career.  I was humbled by the prospect to inspire future educators so I gratefully accepted challenge.  It was my mission to provide them with a strong educational foundation that will effectively demonstrate confidence, competence and passion when they are in the instructional environment.                                                                                                               My vocation as a university instructor is certainly a rewarding one, however, I quickly learned the challenge is unique and does not compare to teaching high school students.  As I reflect on my teaching schedule, my knowledge and expertise as an educator are resources I am able to integrate in the classroom.  My students belong to the Alternate Route to Certification (ARC), Masters in Teaching Mathematics and Science (MTMS), and Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT) programs.  Knowledge of their background, endorsement and grade level of teaching helps me to mold my instruction to address best practices specific to their needs.    I especially enjoy learning about the effect of the various instructional strategies and reflective tools they are able to utilize during their internship through reflections and class discussions.  I am grateful to teach students who have a desire to make a difference.  This has become a vital means to my educational goal and has opened up an array of future opportunities to explore.
                                                                                                                          The author, Nalline Baliram, taught high school mathematics for 14 years at a private Christian school in Boca Raton, Florida.   she earned a Bachelor’s in Mathematics at Florida Atlantic University and a Masters of Science in Mathematics Education at Florida State University.   Nalline is currently pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Teacher Preparation at Seattle Pacific University.  She enjoys teaching and influencing students who have a desire to learn.

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With good reason only a small percentage of people pursue and complete a doctoral degree. Earning a doctoral degree demonstrates attainment of the highest levels of knowledge and thinking available in formal education. The work is rigorous, challenging, and time consuming.

It’s best to chunk challenging tasks into doable parts. You can think of doctoral studies are a series of hoops to jump through… taking admissions tests, getting admitted, taking coursework, passing comprehensive exams, conducting dissertation research. But the pursuit of a doctoral degree is much more than jumping through hoops and completing products. While those earning a doctoral degree reap tangible benefits such as increased earning potential and professional opportunities, the processes involved can also be exceptionally rewarding in many other intangible ways.

The cognitive challenges presented during a rigorous doctoral program can drive students (along with faculty) to develop and grow. Synthesis, critical analysis of historical and current ideas, debate, application of ideas to professional contexts, and pursuit of new information are hallmarks of this level of learning. For many, these sorts of cognitive challenges are highly motivating. A love of learning and doctoral studies often goes hand in hand.

The professional and personal relationships built during doctoral studies will last a lifetime. Students and faculty spend time in the “trenches” together and the collaboration, support, and development of ideas cement relationships that pay multiple dividends. Many who earned degrees years ago remain in contact with professors and fellow students. The semi-cohort model employed in SPU’s doctoral programs, along with close interactions built with faculty members during mentoring and dissertation processes, ensures rewarding relationships for years to come.

Doctoral studies should be viewed holistically and the multiple rewards of the journey, along with the more tangible benefits, are to be cherished.

Andrew Lumpe, Ph.D., Associate Dean of Graduate Programs, Director of Doctoral Programs

Photo Credits-Creative Commons: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nicmcphee/, http://www.flickr.com/photos/fncll/

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