Jeanne Marll couldn't have found a better inspiration for a teaching career than her mother, Ellen, who never graduated from high school.
"My mom taught all of my nieces and nephews to read and write before they were 5 years old," Marll said. "I thought that was amazing because she dropped out with a 10th-grade education. However, she values the importance of education."
Marll started on the path to a teaching career by graduating with a bachelor's degree in literacy, reading and writing from Eastern Washington University (EWU) in December 2017. Less than one year later, she enrolled in the Master of Education – Curriculum and Instruction online program at EWU.
"I knew I wanted to get my master's degree," she said. "I shopped around for a few different things in M.Ed. programs, but I knew I wanted to do it online. I wasn't sure if I would get a full-time teaching position or if I would be a substitute teacher, but I decided to go for it. The M.Ed. was a new online program at Eastern. It was a great price, online and accelerated."
The flexibility of the online format helps her balance school with work while remaining on track to graduate in 12 months. Marll is a long-term substitute teacher for Ponderosa Elementary in Spokane Valley.
"The online M.Ed. program is going well," she said. "The professors are on top of everything. The technology isn't too hard, thank goodness. I'm not super tech savvy. It's accessible to everyone."
After earning the bachelor's degree on campus in Cheney, Marll is enjoying the convenience of doing schoolwork when it fits into her schedule, with the online format allowing her to plan out each week ahead of time.
"I usually come home, do a couple of hours of work and then take one day on the weekend to do four or five hours of work and get it done," she said. "You don't feel helpless, either. With online programs, I thought I'd never be able to get in touch with my instructors. They are so helpful and absolutely get back to you quickly."
Marll is originally from California, but moved frequently with her family. After high school, she followed her mother's lead and made teaching children a priority. In addition to the bachelor's degree, Marll has teaching endorsements in elementary education and literacy.
"I graduated and couldn't figure out what I wanted to do," she said. "I also had some friends who were teachers. I said, 'You know what? That's a good fit for me.' I want to teach anything from kindergarten through third grade full time after I finish the M.Ed. program."
EDUC 533: Instructional Systems Development and EDUC 538: Media Literacy for Teachers, both taught by Ashley Lepisi, are Marll's two favorite courses in the online M.Ed. C&I curriculum, so far.
"They are good for me because the focus is something a little outside my realm," Marll said. "Ashley presents the material in such a way where you are trying these little things and by the end of the course, you are like, 'Oh, wow, I'm doing all of this. I made a website!'"
Marll also enjoyed the EDUC 505: Current Issues in Education course and believes all of the information in the program curriculum is applicable to her job and is preparing her to teach full time.
"When learning about current issues, I thought, 'I didn't even know these things were going on,'" she said. "The undergraduate program grazed over everything. Now, we're getting into why we do it this way."
Because Marll graduated from EWU with a bachelor's degree and earned certifications so recently, she isn't planning to walk the graduation stage after completing the online M.Ed. – Curriculum and Instruction in Summer 2019.
"I'm sure I will celebrate in some way," she said. "I had my family all come down for the commencement ceremony in 2017. It's a big deal to get all of your family together. I'm not going to ask them do that again."
Marll, who enjoys attending comedy shows and sporting events and eating brunch, knows the significance of the accomplishment of earning a graduate degree.
"I would tell anybody considering the M.Ed. My friends and family are amazing. I'm a first-generation college graduate, so for me to go and get my master's degree is a very big deal."
Learn more about the EWU M.Ed. – Curriculum and Instruction online program.
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