Teachers pursue further education

The homework, the lectures, the rush of graduation: teachers are usually the guides, the instructors and the supporters as their students work their way through the year’s curriculum.

Some, however, have coursework of their own. From 7:20 until 2:10, these teachers may be instructing freshmen through seniors, but afterschool, on weekends or in the summer, they are taking graduate classes of their own, and pursuing advanced degrees.

English teacher Joyana Peters, for example, started pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing through the University of New Orleans last year.

“The way my program works, it’s online during the school year,” Peters said. During the summer, Peters spends her time at an affiliated residency program in Edinburg, Scotland.

“I’ve always loved creative writing,” she said. “It’s something I’m passionate about.”

Peters spends between five and ten hours every week working on her degree, which includes writing and editing four stories a quarter, and critiquing classmates’ work.

However, Peters added that she does not spend enough time on her graduate work.
“There’s a lot more time I should be putting towards it,” she said.

A master’s degree in creative writing, which is the highest degree in the field, Peters said, will help her become a better writer, prepare her for publication and open up career options.

“By the end of this program, I will have a degree and be qualified to teach as a college professor,” she said.

Peters, who did her first of three residencies last summer, is taking a break this semester.

“I’m kind of in an awkward position in that that I had to take the semester off because of my wedding,” she said.