EdD

The Start of My EdD Journey

I have officially started an EdD program! I am thrilled to be a part of the Boise State EdD in Educational Technology 2019 cohort! I know it’s going to be a ton of work, and I also know it’s going to be worth it in the end. This program is entirely online, and can be done in 4 years.

My goal is to blog throughout my EdD journey. I meant to have this starter post out 7 weeks ago, but my first class was time and brain intensive (and I loved it), and I didn’t have time to get it done. I’m not pressuring myself to post at regular intervals, just whenever I have time an energy. I will also share out smaller parts of my journey on Twitter and Instagram using #MariEdDJourney. I hope these reflective practices are useful for me as well as anyone considering this journey.

How did I get to now?

Since finishing my Masters in 2012, I knew I wanted to go all the way with my education. I love learning and I love school, so why not add on a doctorate? With how much work a doctorate is, simply wanting to get a terminal degree is not enough. Although I’m not decided on where I’d like to be in 5, 10, or 15 years, I do know I’d love to work with preservice and new teachers in a larger capacity; right now, I think I’d like to teach or supervise student teachers at the university level.

When researching programs, I looked at a variety of options, including online, in person, PhD, and EdD. I narrowed down my applications to the UC San Diego PhD and Boise State EdD programs; they had very different formats and focuses, and both aligned with my values and interests. I applied to both, then waited.

When I had my video chat interview with the UC San Diego PhD program coordinator, we both quickly realized the program wasn’t for me. It was 6+ years and full-time, meaning I could no longer teach. The program coordinator recommended their EdD program, with applications due in the summer. I told myself that if I didn’t get into the Boise State program, I’d apply to that one.

A few weeks later, Boise State sent me a follow-up questionnaire to fill out, then I had to record six asynchronous video interview answers. A couple weeks later, I received an email that I was admitted!

I started my first 7-week summer class in May 2019. My cohort seems awesome, and I know I’m going to enjoy getting to know them over the next 4 years.

Are you on this doctorate journey too? Considering a program, working on it, already graduated? I’m collecting advice on this Padlet — please add your own wisdom. I hope this can be a resource for myself and anyone else on this great adventure.

Reflections

2018-2019 School Year Reflection

This is one of my favorite blog posts of the year! I love reflecting back on a whole school year, seeing how I met my goals, and how I’ve grown as a person and as a teacher. Plus, it’s an excellent opportunity to look back on 2017-2018, and see areas of growth and success.

When I set my 2018-2019 school year goals, I had no idea what this year would bring. Though I planned to be more reflective, I didn’t regularly come back to my goals throughout the year. However, when I read back on what I wanted to accomplish, I did a fairly good job of meeting my goals. Next year, I’ll have to put my goals in a more visible place.

Working at work, relaxing at home

At this time last year, I was borderline burned out. I know I wasn’t fully burned out because I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel or search for a different job; however, I recognized that I was exhausted and needed to make a change. I did so much better with leaving the majority of work at work. Overall, I felt much better and more relaxed this year! I reversed a lot of the burnouty feeling, and kept up my energy better.

I love this quote painted on the wall at Robert Anderson MS (Anderson 5 district, Anderson, SC)! 

I was thrown a curveball in December when a teacher in my department decided to resign and left us scrambling to cover the classes. This, paired with the district cutting our resource positions, left me teaching two additional classes, including a new prep: AVID 0 period, 4 sections of 7th grade science, and 1 section of 7th grade science elective. It was exhausting, but I loved every second with my kids. With the added load, I somehow managed to complete the April No-Work Challenge again this year.

Additionally, there were some serious personal ups and downs this year. I had a huge life change in the fall, and spent the better part of December – February rearranging some pieces. In February, I turned 30 and celebrated by committing to work on myself and invest in my own happiness. I celebrated my 30th birthday with a solo trip to New York City!

Building relationships

Of my seven years of teaching, this year was one of the best, relationships-wise. I built strong relationships with my classes. It was tough to gain two new classes at the semester, and it took a while to build a functional relationship; the time and effort was worth it, and we ended the year on an amazingly positive note. I often received random hugs from my kids, and we ended most classes with, “I love you, bye!”

Google Expeditions AR in 7th grade science!

For the entire year, my fourth period class was a dream. They were this unique blend of students who figured out how to work well together, asked great questions, and knew how to transition between joking and serious–you all know that’s a huge deal in middle school. Academically, they weren’t the most skilled, but they made up for that in determination and joy! In fact, when I did my last day of school thank you speech, a few raised their hands and contributed their own thank you’s.

On the other hand, I really struggled with my third period class for the first two-thirds of the year. There were multiple behavior challenges, and students negatively fed off of each other’s energy. Teaching that class made me exhausted and a little frustrated; it was a great opportunity to model restorative practices and being honest about my own emotions. But, I didn’t give up! In late February, they began to turn a corner and became a goofy, empathetic, and productive bunch.

Finally, this year my first group of 7th graders graduated high school! I attended graduation with a few colleagues, and I’m so proud of my former students! It was great to see so many familiar (and grown up!) faces, and cheer for them and all they’ve accomplished.

Mentoring new teachers

Even though there weren’t many science student teachers and I didn’t have one placed with me either semester, I spent some quality time informally mentoring new teachers. We had the most awesome

Celina (history student teacher) came to observe during a science lab. Safety first! 

right-out-of-college first year teacher at our school this year, and she and I really hit it off! I enjoyed teaching science in her classroom, sharing advice and silly stories, and providing some support. Additionally, we had an incredible history student teacher; she and I spent quality time together, discussing teaching, life, and kids. I am grateful for these opportunities to give back and live the “it takes a village to raise a student teacher” idea.

Back to school!

I’m excited to share that I was accepted into the 2019 Boise State EdD in Educational Technology cohort. We started our first class in mid-May, and it has been non-stop work since then. With an expectation to devote 18-25 hours per week to school, I have had to be more proactive with my self-care and balance. Despite it being a significant time investment, I love the work I’m doing, and I’m grateful for this opportunity. It’s a much different feeling being in school because I want to, not because I have to.

Overall, I’m thrilled that this year was so successful. Looking back at all my photos, it’s fun to reminisce on the fun memories, activities, and journey we had together. Even though I am excited for next school year and making to-do and goals lists, I know I need to take this time to enjoy some sunshine. I’m grateful for summer break! I am looking forward to more schoolwork, relaxing, and a few fun adventures!