What are the benefits of pursuing additional education for a teacher in the Chicago area? We spoke with Mary Moran, a kindergarten teacher at Saint Mary School in the northwest Chicago suburb of Buffalo Grove. Moran has a bachelor’s degree in education and is currently working on an endorsement in special education and English as a second language (ESL). Moran is also working toward a master’s degree in education.

Kindergarten Teacher Mary Moran (photo courtesy of Mary Moran)

Kindergarten Teacher Mary Moran (photo courtesy of Mary Moran)

What is a typical day like for you?

“Most of my time is devoted to school, with prep time before and after school so I can make sure I have everything I need because there aren’t many breaks during the school day. I will meet with the other kindergarten teacher daily, too. After school, I’ll spend time on preparation so I can get all of the activities ready for my classroom for the next day. I’ll also spend time to help get the parents involved.”

What is the benefit of continuing education as a teacher?

“Keeping up is so important with ESL. I must be able to connect with students, and I need to find more techniques and resources to help me do that. Every school year is so different, and that’s why education is important.”

How does your degree help you in your classroom?

“With my class, I am able to explain and pull in resources. The classes also helped me find the right resources to help the students. What I am learning now is being applied right away to my classroom.”

How do you keep your teaching skills up-to-date?

“I take continuing education units on how to become a police officer. In addition to the endorsements, I will attend workshops and conferences, and I will also attend meetings. It is so important to keep up with your education, as you need to stay up-to-date to help students and their families in order to be well-rounded.”

Megan Horst-Hatch is a runner, reader, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in “-er.” She is also the president of Megan Writes, LLC. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.