Master of Education: Vanessa Araiza
Why did you choose the University of San Diego’s Master of Education Online versus other degrees?
I chose University of San Diego’s Masters of Education Online for the self-paced learning aspect of it. Being able to learn at my own pace was key. Working full time as a teacher, I needed to have the balance of work and school and these online courses gave me this opportunity. I loved how the program offered specializations! Being able to study and engage in a specialized course made my learning very meaningful. I also chose this program for due to their nationally ranked and recognized programs they have to offer in Education. Their reputation of serving quality education in a brick and mortar environment lead me to believe that their online environment would do the same. It did!
How have you applied the lessons you learned in the USD Master of Education Online degree in your classroom already?
The USD Masters of Education program has impacted my teaching tremendously. Curricular to pedagogical changes have occurred in just one year. The core courses have allowed me to view teaching from a theoretical point of view. I had never done this before and it made me view myself and my role as a classroom teacher differently. The specialization courses are what have really taken off in my classroom. I have implemented many lessons in regards to these courses and have been very successful with student outcomes, engagement, motivation and work.
What new skills have you learned from the degree?
Throughout my journey in this program I have gained an ample amount of instructional skills and strategies for my teaching practice. The program is centered on research based skills therefore I have been able to conduct many action research projects with my school site as well as classroom. I have learned the importance of research based teaching and know that it will be something I will continue to use throughout my entire teaching career.
Why did you choose to pursue the Literacy and Digital Learning specialization?
I chose the Literacy and Digital Learning specialization because I want to better prepare my students for the world they are entering once they leave my classroom. Literacy has changed tremendously since I was in school and I knew that this specialization would equip me with the essential knowledge to teach students 21st century skills necessary for college and their future ahead. These skills are important and should not be overlooked. I felt as though I was choosing the road less traveled and I knew I wanted to be a leader in this field.
Where do you currently teach? What grade and how long have you been teaching?
I currently teach at a wonderful school in San Diego called Darnall Charter. It is a K-8 school serving about 650 students. This is my third year teaching and have taught fifth grade for two years and currently teach sixth grade.
What is your fondest memory so far as a teacher regarding a student who comprehended a lesson you taught?
Because of the USD Masters of Education Online program, I have been able to work closely with an Associate Professor in making learning more meaningful to my students via writing, media studies and technology. This year I worked on narrative very different than ever before and the outcomes were astonishing. With just this one writing piece I was able to connect with my students authentically, build relationships, and learn more from them as a human being and not just my student. This has by far been the fondest memory I have in my teaching profession.