Brian Skinner, METL Graduate, USD 373 High School Special Ed Teacher

Are there any specific areas of the University you feel have been particularly helpful?

Each class had a discussion board component. Through this I posted research, reflective thoughts, and samples of assignments. Each student doing this provides a great collaborative opportunity and networking opportunity. It is exceptionally valuable when looking to improve your own work to have other people to bounce ideas off of. The discussion boards provided me with new insight for teaching, affirmation of my ideas, and an opportunity to get a view into districts that are different than my own.

What do you like about your degree/program?

Friends University’s Masters of Teaching and Learning is an excellent program for those that are currently teaching. The opportunity for online courses as well as the structure of 8 week courses was exceptionally beneficial. Teachers regularly have so much going on within a week and a schedule that requires flexibility. At every step of the way, my professors were happy to accommodate and help fit my schedule.

Additionally, this program offered an array of courses. Each course offered an opportunity to grow in a different way. I particularly enjoyed my leadership course, as well as my curriculum design course. Both areas were vastly different, but very applicable, which is another theme of the program.

One of my biggest frustrations is completing work that I don’t think I will ever need later in life – “busy work”. With this program, essentially everything was directly applicable, because the assignments were flexible enough to directly fit into my current teaching.

How has your degree/program benefited you in your career so far?

I am only just completing the program, but have seen benefits in my teaching at every step of the way, which is a distinct value of the program. Each class focuses on direct classroom applicability, which has meant that I did not have to wait until I finished my program to see changes in my classroom.

Many of my units that I teach were able to be overhauled through extensively looking at how to structure a curriculum most appropriately for each individual group of students. We looked at classroom management, assessment styles, multiple intelligences, action research, unit objectives, and technological improvements. Each area provided subtle changes and improvements for my units and student achievement.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Each of the professors that I had throughout the program were exceptionally helpful. There was always quality feedback on my assignments that I could reflect upon and it was always prompt. I can not think of a single time when I needed feedback or response during this program and did not get it promptly. That does not happen everywhere and is a significant positive about this program.