Minh David Pho graduated from Stevenson University in 2016 with a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT). After commencement, Minh secured a position at Wheaton High School in Montgomery County, Maryland where he will be teaching honors biology. He was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to reflect on his experience at Stevenson:
What led you to pursue the MAT Program at Stevenson?
The program was one that was not only affordable, but also flexible as it is offered as an online program. I was able to work in long-term substitute positions as well as full-time teaching positions while enrolled in the program. The approach taken by Stevenson University Online is exceptional and beneficial for the program and the students. They treat us like adults and understand we are each coming from different backgrounds.
How did this degree prepare you for your career?
Stevenson gave me the confidence and resources I needed to be an effective teacher in the classroom. I was able to learn and talk with others about what I can do to help my students succeed and grow. Specifically, I would say the strategies and suggestions given by faculty throughout the program were my number one takeaway.
Did anything stand out during the program that surprised you?
I was pleasantly surprised at how receptive the Program Coordinators and Faculty were to the students’ opinions – they genuinely listened to what we had to say. I have heard of other master’s programs where students are not treated as well; however, at Stevenson, not only do they ask for our opinion on how to improve or what they did well, but they actually take our thoughts into consideration and make changes.
They also understands each person comes from a different background. Whether you are a recent graduate, changing careers, or interested in furthering your education, the faculty and staff will work with you and provide a personalized experience.
Do you have any examples of how the coursework you completed immediately applied to your job?
In each of my interviews for Montgomery County Public Schools the interviewer asked me, “How will you incorporate project based learning into your classroom?” Throughout the MAT program, we learned about the various pedagogies related to education; they are used in many counties and I was able to apply what I learned and what we discussed during my interview. I have not implemented it yet in the school, but I’m excited about being able to use what I learned straight out of the gate.
How did the faculty and staff help you reach your educational or professional goals?
The faculty and staff were incredibly supportive and helpful. They were not afraid of letting us know where we were struggling, but they also gave us suggestions on how to grow.
What is the most important lesson you learned from your experience at Stevenson?
Learning never stops for the students or teachers. I can always learn from colleagues, journals, and academic websites on how to better teach students and become the best teacher I can be.
How has your career impacted your life and the lives of others?
Teaching has allowed me to see the growing generations and how I can help play a part in guiding them. I see firsthand the struggles some students face, but also the numerous successes both inside and outside of the classroom. Knowing I can make a difference in a child’s life just by being their teacher, role model, or mentor, is more than enough for me to go home at the end of the day with a smile on my face.