Elizabeth Burrus teaches second grade at Uplift Peak Preparatory School in Dallas. She earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Missouri and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in education from Southern Methodist University.

(Photo Courtesy of Elizabeth Burrus)

(Photo Courtesy of Elizabeth Burrus)

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“I believe earning my master’s degree will provide me with the advanced knowledge and skills necessary to build on everything I have learned over the past four years working with my students. It will also compliment the knowledge I gained as a member of Teach for America, which I completed after two years with the program. I have aspirations of working in other capacities in the school setting, so I think having my master’s will be beneficial in my professional advancement as well,” said Burrus who shares her education path.

Why are you pursuing a master’s degree?

“I am pursuing a master’s degree because I did not get a traditional degree in education. I got my education certificate through an alternative certification program and thought it would be even more beneficial for me to get a master’s if I was staying in the classroom to teach. The certification program taught me how to make lesson plans and teach my students, but I wanted to learn about the new research in education and the theories and best practices of teaching.”

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

“Talk to other people who are in the program you want to apply to; this will give you a lot of insight to the degree program. I also asked others what they planned to do with a master’s degree. At the school I work at, many educators are in the same program or have finished the program I am in. It was helpful to talk to them about what they liked and what they didn’t like and why they were furthering their education. It made me feel confident in my decision to apply.”

What has been the biggest challenge you faced so far while pursuing your degree?

“The biggest challenge I have faced is working full-time while going to school part-time. I have had to learn how to manage my time on the weekends and be prepared for the classes I have in the evenings. Ultimately, it has been rewarding to use the concepts I have learned in class immediately into my own classroom, but it does take a lot of free time away from my weekends.”

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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