I passed my classes and have completed the required final portfolio in order to earn a Master of Science in Education from Johns Hopkins University.
However, it feels odd to be done. This feeling of relief and accomplishment reminds me of the joy I have as I lodge my kayak in the sand after an hours-long paddle in the lagoon at Agua Hedionda near my home in Southern California. Once done with my strenuous water adventure, I head to the nearest cozy restaurant where I rest and enjoy a delicious fish and chips dinner with a Coke. In similar fashion, I plan to dive deep into my favorite books and bury myself in planning creative and engaging lessons for my students.
This degree means a lot to me and to others who have graduated from this program. From my beginnings as a D.C. Teaching Fellow with TNTP, I knew I wanted to achieve the goal of a graduate degree in education. I never imagined that it would be from a university of such national prestige, or that it would combine so perfectly with my training from TNTP. How will I live up to the legacy of a graduate program from an institution like Johns Hopkins University?
To ensure that I live up to this degree, I will continue to hold myself accountable to student outcomes. I will not get stuck in my personal beliefs, my habits, or my biases in the classroom. Rather, I will continue to do research, gather data, and use student achievement to directly influence my instructional decisions. I will never forget that I am here to help students be successful in their academic, personal, and professional endeavors. My work must focus on student success. The top three lessons I have learned from my degree are all related to my deeper understanding of the nature of teaching:
This degree is a significant achievement in my goal to be an expert practitioner in the field of education. I hope to share my passion for a student-driven and student-focused teaching and learning experience with my colleagues nationwide. This program is a step in the direction of empowering me to effect change in the field of education as a leader among teachers.
As I work toward developing the perseverance and drive to achieve my goals, I am reading Grit by Angela Duckworth. My biggest learning so far has been the importance of identifying and defining my inner compass, "...the thing that takes you some time to build, tinnier with, and finally get right, and then that guides you on your long and winding road to where, ultimately, you want to be" (p. 60). I use this compass to set goals, plan my daily actions, and reflect.