Tereasa Freeman is all about achieving life goals these days.
Her latest accomplishment: completing the Master of Science in Education (MSEd.) in Curriculum and Instruction – Teaching Technology online program at Northwest Missouri State University in August 2021.
"Earning a master's degree was always on my bucket list," Freeman said. "I have four children, so I could never afford to do it before. I could afford it this time around, and I didn't want to sit around and do nothing while the pandemic distanced us.
"After 20 years in teaching, I needed a change. I needed that spark to keep me going and rejuvenate me. I chose the teaching technology track because students need 21st-century skills."
After spending the first two decades of her career teaching at her alma mater, Mid-Buchanan High School, Freeman now teaches chemistry and biology at Lafayette High School in St. Joseph, Missouri.
"I love it," she said. "It was my first year of teaching with a hybrid schedule, so having that technology background helped me get through it."
The flexibility of the online format helped Freeman maintain a busy work schedule at a new school without missing a beat in the program.
"I finish teaching around 3 p.m. each day," she said. "I have a second job at an agricultural lab, as well. With the online format, I had the opportunity to manage my time well enough to do everything that I needed to do. It worked out perfectly. It was awesome."
Change of Direction
Freeman grew up in Faucett, Missouri, and planned to pursue a career as a pharmacist after she graduated from high school.
"I dropped out of pharmacy school at the University of Missouri – Kansas City with a high GPA," she said. "I stayed home with my children for 14 years before deciding to go back to school."
Once she returned to college, Freeman stayed the course to graduate with a bachelor's degree in unified science at Missouri Western State University in 2000.
Now, her four children — Ashton (35), Casey Sumner (33), Drew (32) and David (29) — are adults who encouraged her to earn a master's degree. Drew works for the same school district as Freeman.
"My kids loved the idea," she said. "I am pretty close to where I could retire if I want to, but I love teaching. Getting my master's was an important milestone for me and they knew it. They said, 'Mom, do it.'"
Freeman enrolled at Northwest Missouri State University on the recommendation of a co-worker. CSIS 44650: Building a Virtual Learning Environment was her favorite course in the online MSEd. in Curriculum & Instruction – Teaching Technology program curriculum. The course gave her an advantage as an educator.
"I built the virtual learning environment in Canvas, so I can use it here at Lafayette," she said. "That worked wonderfully to help me get going. It was a lifesaver when we switched to hybrid learning."
Freeman, who enjoys gardening in her spare time, also appreciated the support of the faculty members throughout her 12 months in the program.
"The professors at Northwest Missouri were great about answering questions and responding to emails in a timely manner," she said. "Once I had the idea of how things were presented to me and what they expected in return, everything went very well."
Cracking the Code
With a teaching position at a new school and a master's degree under her belt, Freeman is putting the knowledge she gained to use every day in the classroom.
"It's priceless," she said. "I have integrated so much technology into simple things we are doing in chemistry.
"I've created digital escape rooms, monitored learning with Peark Deck presentations, and used Padlet with collaboration. It's very beneficial. Plus, the master's degree is already opening up more job opportunities for me."
Two of Freeman's children, Casey and David, also have master's degrees. Three of them were valedictorians of their high school classes.
"They are very proud of me," she said. "It's been a big thing. We have a party planned to celebrate around the fire pit this fall."
Freeman believes that organization is a key to success in the online MSEd. program. She is glad that she took a leap of faith and enrolled.
"It's important to plan ahead to meet all of those deadlines, and keep things organized in folders on your computer," she said. "Also, sit back and enjoy it. It's fun. It really is. Northwest Missouri is the place to do it."
Learn more about Northwest's MSEd. in C&I – Teaching Technology online program.
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