Irina Lyapman works for Plano Independent School District as an educational diagnostician and resource teacher. She works with students in grades K through five with various levels of disabilities, ranging from mild to severe. I provide services in the resource classroom as well as inclusion classroom. She provides students with appropriate learning activities and experiences to help them fulfill their potential for intellectual, emotional, and social growth and is able to modify the educational curriculum, lesson plans and materials, when needed, to suit a student’s ability level. Lyapman earned her master’s degree in special education from Texas Woman’s University.

(Photo  Courtesy of Irina Lyapman)

(Photo Courtesy of Irina Lyapman)

Why did you pursue a master’s degree?

“I believe that I was limiting my career choices by only having bachelor’s degree. I wanted to grow professionally and learn more about child development and special education. I believe a master’s degree provided me with personal as well as professional growth, and the opportunity to move up in my career.”

What would you tell someone who is considering returning to school to earn a master’s degree?

“I would say that returning to school is not easy, but absolutely worth it. Not only for professional growth, but also personal growth.”

What was the biggest challenge you faced when pursuing your master’s degree?

“The biggest challenge for me was finding a childcare. We are lucky to have family near us and have a great support system, however, it was most challenging to pick kids up from school and daycare, take them to their grandmother’s house, drive an hour to the university, and make it to class on time.”

What was the biggest reward for earning the master’s degree?

“The biggest reward for me was internal. I was able to apply new knowledge in the classroom, provide my students with appropriate learning activities and experiences to help them fulfill their potential for intellectual, emotional and social growth.”

Robin D. Everson is a native Chicagoan who resides in Dallas, Texas. Her appreciation for art, food, wine, people and places has helped her become a well-respected journalist. A life-long lover of education, Robin seeks to learn and enlighten others about culture. You can find her work at Examiner.com