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Archive for the ‘Current Doctor Student’ Category

Working as a school psychologist in the northwest for the past eight years, I was ready for a change. In the Fall of 2012, I had a “heart to heart” conversation with my supervisor/mentor and spoke to her about my interest in continuing my educational journey. At the time, I was interested in becoming a director of special education, and wondered which schools offered such a program. In speaking with my mentor, she mentioned, “You can go the easy route and do an online administrator credential from a less reputable institution, or you can enroll in one of the better programs like Seattle Pacific University.” As we discussed my future, she went on to share that she had received her Ed.D. from SPU and spoke very highly of its professors and the positive learning environment. I was motivated to apply and by the Winter of 2013, I was enrolled in my first course! As with any new experience, I had some trepidation in returning to school, and not being affiliated with a particular denomination, was apprehensive about SPU being a faith-based institution. Nevertheless, I decided to have an open mind and submitted myself to the experience.Omar Flores_SPU

Taking courses for the program administrator credential at the Olympia campus was incredibly convenient and beneficial in my return to school. I found the instructors at SPU to be well rounded; with “real world experiences”, humble but firm, and immediately made me feel welcome in the classroom. My apprehensions about attending a faith based institution quickly diminished; and I found some advantages to SPU. One of the major advantages was the camaraderie and sense of community created by the instructors. Compared to past educational experiences, which were rigid and “cut throat” in nature, SPU presented as flexible and compassionate in their approach to learning.

In June of 2014 I received my program administrator credential from SPU. By that time, my vision as an educator and dreams for the future had evolved. So motivated was I from my experience at SPU, that I decided to apply for the Ph.D. in Education program. I was accepted and began my coursework that very summer.

As I write this piece, I am now into my third quarter in the Ph.D. program. For the first time in my life, I feel I am where I truly belong. Compassionate professionals and a community of educators with a higher sense of purpose surround me. My professors, for whom I have a tremendous amount of respect, support and challenge me. I am encouraged by the possibilities the future holds for me in education. My interest continues to be in the field of special education, and my hopes are to become a professor specializing in school psychology one day. In the immediate, my role is to provide educational leadership in my schools, and to be an encouraging example to educators who desire to make positive change in their community. I am keenly aware of the influence I have on underrepresented youth disenfranchised from their schools that may need a role model/mentor to push them along their educational journey. I strive make a positive impact on a daily basis.

Taking the next step has been the most rewarding experience in my educational journey. I am grateful for making the decision to go to SPU to advance my career in education. As with any journey, the first step should be planned toward success!

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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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