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Why Elementary Teachers Should Take Online Continuing Education Classes

written by: •edited by: Laurie Patsalides•updated: 10/31/2009

Teachers are expected to teach. But to be great teachers they must be prepared to make a lifetime commitment to learning. After all, the rules are always changing. Distance education is a great option for teachers who want to refresh their knowledge. Read on for great distance education options.

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    Expose Yourself To Different Teaching Styles

    Teachers lead by example, and the best way to promote education is to stay involved in education, and not only from the giving end of the spectrum, but from receiving. One reason to continue being a student is to learn different methods of teaching. Being exposed to different teaching styles and methodologies will most likely have a positive impact on your own style.

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    Keeping Up With Current Teaching Trends

    The unfortunates about getting a degree ten years ago, especially if you are teaching a myriad of subjects, is that teaching methods are constantly changing and evolving. If you are the type of person that likes to stay up-to-date on science, or the latest research trends, then you will be aware that what was believed in the past may have no resemblance to what is believed today. So much is being discovered, and re-discovered- every day. It is important to keep your education as current as possible, otherwise you might find yourself in a disagreement with a student, and you may be wrong. No one likes to hear, "I told you so", least of all from a student.

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    A Teacher's Time is Valuable

    Modern technology really is a wondrous thing. Not only can you go back to college while you are still working, but you can attend college from you own home through online education classes. A teacher's options are wide open, and are only limited by a bad Google search.

    But, why should you take online classes, and are they as good as traditional college? The answer to this question is, "Yes", that is, if you find the right colleges. I am not going to lie and say there are no diploma mills out there. There are. But, in order to find out if these colleges are legitimate, check with the Department of Education on their accreditation. That said, if you are only going to college to stay enlightened, then there are many classes you can take online for free, or for a relatively low cost. Also, a degree from a regionally accredited online college is just as good as a degree received from a traditional brick and mortar college.

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    How to Find Continuing Education Online for Teachers

    We have almost all heard of Phoenix Online and Walden University. These are very popular, and regionally accredited colleges that offer online classes and degree programs. But, you should know that colleges in your local area may have online classes that are less expensive. For example, Walden University charges a tuition of $425 per credit hour for online courses, according to their tuition and fees information page for 2009-2010. When checking tuition for Phoenix Online, the information page quoted a $540 per credit hour fee, in accordance to my zip code. On the contrary, one university in my city would charge less than $200 per credit hour, because I am a resident.

    If there are no colleges in your immediate area, check with the Department of Education for accredited colleges in your state.

    I promote taking classes in your own state for these reasons:

    1. Tuition is usually lower for residents.

    2. Continuing education courses will likely be applicable (you wouldn't want to waste your money on courses that are only applicable in a state you will never reside in).

    Another option that elementary teachers may want to consider when pursuing online continuing education classes, are the free classes offered by schools like MIT and Yale. Many reputable colleges offer free online courseware. Of course you have to purchase the books, but many can easily be found on Amazon, or similar websites. One thing I stress when opting for open courseware is, you must be self-motivated. The great thing is, there is no time limit. In my experience, you follow the instructed syllabus, and do it at your own pace.

    Please note, if you are looking to obtain continuing education for salary advancement, you must contact your own school district for their policy on taking courses online.