The Teacher becomes a student again

Ms. Jennifer Corrigan, Math Teacher, is balancing getting her doctorate degree online, while teachering her regular classes. She shares her experience with online college and comparing it to her experience she had being on campus at Ramapo College of New Jersey.

Posing for her ID, Ms. Corrigan smiles for the camera

Photo Credit: Yearbook Staff

Posing for her ID, Ms. Corrigan smiles for the camera

Math teacher Ms. Corrigan is currently receiving her doctorate degree through Nova Southeastern University in Florida. She will be receiving her degree in Instructional Technology and Distance Education. Of course, she is not traveling to Florida for class. She decided that it was best to receive her degree through online schooling.

Before getting her doctorate

Corrigan graduated for Ramapo College of New Jersey with a B.S. in Mathematics, concentrating in Secondary Education. Following this, Corrigan went to Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA in 2010 to receive her master’s degree in Instructional Technology. While completing her internship for her masters with Dr. Zega, Woodbridge Township Superintendent, she spoke to him about receiving her doctorate. Corrigan always had an interest in getting her doctorate. Zega had received his doctorate at Nova and recommended that Corrigan should look into that particular school. Dr. Zega received his doctorate through NSU 10 years ago. After a long and determined research, she discovered that NSU was just the school she was looking for.

Online Schooling

While reviewing the homework, Ms. Corrigan instructs her students on how to complete the problem.
Photo Credit: Bridget Trela
While reviewing the homework, Ms. Corrigan instructs her students on how to complete the problem.

“I would definitely recommend online schooling, but not for undergraduate students. I lived away at school (Ramapo) for four years and would not trade that experience for anything,” stated Corrigan. Living away and staying in a dorm at college should be an experience that all students should get. The experience of dorming at college is important to learn what life will be like in the real world.

Reaching the goal of receiving the doctorate can be difficult when working from home. In order to succeed in accomplishing this, time management is the key. Corrigan shares that she sets aside a certain amount of hours for schooling and tries to do at least one thing for her. These activities include, baking, spending time with her dogs, watching a TV show and getting in some exercise.

 

 Online School vs Campus Life

“I think distance education/learning is far more difficult than face-to-face learning,” stated Corrigan. When going through distance education, the student needs to stay self-motivated. There is nobody there to tell the student that they can achieve it. One can be considered being very isolated. No one there to work with you and it can become very difficult not telling direct questions to a professor. In some cases receiving your doctorate can sometimes feel unrealistic. When people have children, second jobs, and need to make ends meet, they may not be able to achieve such goals.

There are many benefits to living at home while attending college. One would not have to travel to the school and attend a live class. They can learn at the college level from the comfort of their home. Aliya White, senior, commented, “The whole experience of college is about being able to receive the proper education, not where you are.”

When we learn it opens our minds to new possibilities which helps us become better, more complete teachers.”

— Donald Meixner, Math Teacher

Why was online schooling the right choice?

Going back to school was not difficult for Corrigan. She went straight through from her undergraduate degree, to her masters, and then finally her doctorate. The only time she took a break was between her masters and her doctorate, and the span of time was only eight months. She feared that she would become too comfortable being at home and not want to go back to school and achieve something she always wanted. Having a long period of time without school, your mind never wants to go back. One could lose the drive to receive the degrees they want when take a long enough break. When challenging yourself to a new level like this, one begins to grow as a person. It can create a sense of positive self-worth.

Whether a student chooses to stay at home, or travel to the campus, is completely up to them. Depending on your lifestyle, will depend on which way of learning one may choose. Once someone begins to start a career or get their life started, they may choose that online schooling is the better option for them.

“When we learn it opens our minds to new possibilities which help us become better, more complete teachers,” noted Donald Meixner, Math teacher.

Finally reaching the goal she had dreamed about

After a long, hard, and time consuming experience, Ms. Corrigan is in the home stretch at finally reaching her goal. She is expected to finish her coursework in December. The dissertation portion, meaning a written essay or thesis paper for one achieving a doctorate, is expected to be completed in January or February. The time may vary due to the length of her study she will be completing her research on.

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