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Student Spotlight - MA in Elementary Education

Elementary School Teacher Models Life-Long Learning

Rachael Utsey

Many teachers, like Rachael Utsey, want to model life-long learning for their students. Rachael knew she couldn't give up her job to continue her education, so enrolling in an online degree program was the perfect solution. 

“I've always felt there were so many more opportunities available in the field of education for those with master's degrees, and continuing my education helps me to be a better teacher and role model for my students,” said Rachael. 

Rachael graduated from UA with her Bachelor of Science in Education and later enrolled in the online master's degree program in Elementary Education to continue to work toward her goal of becoming the best teacher possible for her students. 

“The program's online format works well with my schedule and also provides many opportunities to help me see that I am learning. For instance, the education placement opportunities allow me to practice what we discuss in class. I can complete most of these placement opportunities in my own classroom.” 

Earning her master's degree from UA, where she earned her undergraduate degree, was important to Rachael. She said that, in many ways, she still feels connected to UA's campus whether she's interacting with her peers or learning from a favorite professor. 

She is thankful that she doesn't have to decide between working full time and continuing her education. 

“In public education, an advanced degree leads to higher pay and different opportunities than with a bachelor's degree. It allows me to gain additional certification. I also see that I am constantly improving in my teaching through the practices of reflection and learning implemented in my degree program.”