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Susan Faller, Instructor

Susan Faller

"In line with my own success as an educator, I want my adult learners to come away from my classes self-motivated and curious. They cannot learn enough in just one short offering, but perhaps they can see some avenues to pursue further in their own future work or educational program."

Degrees Held

  • MS in Mass Communication – San Jose State University, 1996

Career Highlights

During my 15 years as a classroom teacher in the public schools, I enjoyed learning about innovative instruction. This creativity always drove me to explore new ways to teach my students. In my tenth year of teaching, I was encouraged to pursue National Board Certification. This process involves developing, teaching, and presenting one’s classroom instruction for outside review. It requires months of work and documentation. Only about 35% of the teachers who pursue national certification are approved, so this was clearly a high achievement for me as an educator. It truly taught me the importance of being a reflective practitioner and has fueled my continual drive for inspirational teaching.

I have been awarded several grants over the years – many in the field of science and math integration. The PC2 Day award in the San Francisco Bay area provided my classroom with an incredible number of desktop computers as well as about a dozen laptops. I received the Bay Area Education Innovation Award, three different Impact Awards from Contra Costa County, and the California Technology Assistance Project’s Teacher Recognition Award. I see myself as one who looks ahead to exciting ways to teach our students which puts me on the cutting edge at times.

Moving into SOU as an instructor is certainly a career highlight. It was not necessarily planned, yet so much of my work in the public schools prepared me to now share with my adult learners.

In which online program do you teach?

Curriculum and Instruction in STEM Education Concentration of the MSEd

Which classes do you teach online?

ED 537 Science and the Young Child

What do you want students to take away from your classes?

In line with my own success as an educator, I want my adult learners to come away from my classes self-motivated and curious. They cannot learn enough in just one short offering, but perhaps they can see some avenues to pursue further in their own future work or educational program. I also hope my adult learners recognize that there is no one and correct way to teach. My desire is to share ideas for how varied students can most easily access our content and support my adult learners in working to apply some of those strategies.

How long have you been teaching online courses?

12 years.

Why did you start teaching?

I enjoy working with people (children and adults). Teaching allowed direct interaction and provided an opportunity for me to be continually learning myself.

What is the value of a master's degree in education?

A master's degree spotlights a specific course one chooses. The master’s student will spend a much larger percentage of their time uncovering the deeper analysis of their content. They will use higher level thinking skills to synthesize material and consider its impact within their own minds. They will delve deep into the content and reflect on what else needs to be explored to add to the body of knowledge. It is a responsibility worthy of a graduate degree and a person willing to take the time to compare ideas and present new perspectives.

What advice would you give to those considering an online MSEd program?

Clearly, being organized is invaluable. Online educational options require a mindset that one is still attending class. More importantly, a student in an online class is never wasting time "sitting in a chair," allowing others to take the lead in class discussions. Everyone is fully involved. An online program allows for every voice to be heard, so take advantage of that to make sure what you bring to the discussion and the projects is well-designed. Recognize there must be time invested to think about the readings, discussions, and projects before attempting to accomplish the tasks at hand.

What is the one book you think everyone should read?

The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher's Life by Parker J. Palmer.

Tell us something interesting about yourself that your students may not know.

I was a broadcast journalist for 11 years.

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