Maima Chea, a 2014 graduate of the online Reading Education Masters program at UGA, has been able to take what she has learned from her classes and use it in her own classroom. In addition to the information she gained from her professors, she also learned from the students in her cohort. “Many of the people in my class are teachers, and we all teach different programs – and some teach in other states – so I get a chance to hear from people near and far,” she said. “That’s what really drew me to the online program – I get the flexibility of communication and the rigor UGA is known for. This has exceeded my expectations regarding what I expected to learn in my master’s program.”
Although she has been teaching full time for three years, Chea still feels like a new teacher. The strategies she is learning online are already proving to be useful in her classroom. “This is my third year of teaching, and I love it,” she said. “I guess until you get to your fourth or fifth year, you’re still a new teacher. I’m loving my job, and now that I’m in grad school, I like it a lot more because I’m learning things I can actually apply in my classroom.”
Maima Chea graduated from the University of Georgia in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in English education and soon after she began her career teaching English Language Arts at Rockdale County High School in the Atlanta suburbs. “I decided to pursue a master’s degree because I wanted to make sure I was consistently improving my craft as a teacher,” said Chea. “I felt prepared after graduating from UGA, but I found there was a lot I wanted to learn about how students learn how to read, as well as how I can improve their reading and use technology in my classes.” Chea hoped to return to UGA to pursue a master’s degree in reading education, but couldn’t find time in her busy schedule. As a teacher, coach of the school’s dance team, tutor and volunteer, she didn’t know how she could return to Athens for her coursework, until she discovered UGA online.
For Chea, getting her master’s degree through UGA online was an easy decision, and lead her to even more academic pursuits. She said that “My graduate studies in the Online M.Ed. Reading Education program inspired me to pursue my doctoral studies. I will be a full-time doctoral student in the fall at Georgia State University”.