John Doyle '10 - Master of Education

 

"As soon as I took my first class, I knew this was the right place for me," says John Doyle, who found Curry College through his colleagues in the Milton (MA) Public Schools, where he teaches fourth grade. A Boston area native now living in Weymouth, John first moved to Milton after teaching for seven years in a private school in Boston. That made Curry's convenient location a plus because the campus was just a short commute after work.

"Although I didn't really think about who I would be studying with when I enrolled in the M.Ed. program, I discovered a strong connection to people I knew. In fact, one of my first course instructors, Cathy Cameron, was a principal at another Boston school whom I'd met during professional development activities." John also greatly respected the recommended course textbook and knew he would "look forward to going to class and feel comfortable speaking up and participating." John was also connected to the content of that first course - children's literature - and applied the information he learned in his classes at Curry on the job the next day.

As John continued through Curry's elementary education master's degree program, he found that every class offered either a connection to the professor or a connection to other classmates, many of whom were his professional colleagues from schools in the Boston metropolitan area. "The professors at Curry create a comfortable atmosphere where it's easy to share your personal perspective. They really respect what you have to say because they know that many of us already have at least some classroom teaching experience."

John appreciated the opportunity to learn from his diverse group of classmates. "Many were like me, working teachers adding to our professional education credentials, which made it feel very natural to share our stories. Some class members had just finished a bachelor's degree and were stepping right into the master's degree program, so they asked questions about what it was really like in the classroom and shared their more recent experience with professional research and the latest teaching tools and techniques. Other classmates were changing careers and wanted to learn everything. Several of them also had children in the school systems and offered the parents' point of view about education, which really added to the value of the program."

During the student-teaching practicum, John's current teaching position allowed him to combine his Curry course work and his job responsibilities. He kept journals and took the opportunity to reflect on his day-to-day activities, including the positive events and the outcomes that could be improved. In addition, Curry faculty members observed John's classroom interactions. "I felt an instant connection with my Curry advisor, Mary Cobb, who was a former teacher from my school in Milton. She made it very easy to ask for help with anything, and I always felt comfortable contacting her. Mary was on top of everything and offered excellent feedback from her classroom observations of my work with my own students."

For his final project, John created an activity for his school where older students worked with younger students to learn particular subjects and build relationships throughout the school community to support successful outcomes. "Making the presentation about the project to my Curry classmates and faculty was my most memorable experience," says John. "Seeing this effort through from beginning to end felt like a huge accomplishment. Michelle LeBlanc and everyone at Curry were such a great help, especially on the final project. If I'd known everything would go so well, I would have started the program sooner!"

Today, John's stack of Curry College textbooks sits on a shelf behind the desk in his fourth-grade classroom. "If I need help to resolve a question - no matter what the subject - I can pick a book, flip open a page and find a source or suggestion. That also triggers memories of issues we talked about in class. During my course work at Curry, we also developed units and lesson plans, and I use those with my students throughout the year."

 
 
 
 

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