Chelsee Earley knew what she was looking for.

As she researched online master’s programs, she wanted a personal experience, one where she could really interact with the professors. Her friends had told her that their programs were impersonal—just a matter of “checking boxes.” She wanted a relationship with her professors and peers.

She also wanted applicability—courses that were meaningful, that would demonstrably change the way she managed her classroom and instructed her students.

She found what she wanted at MLC.

“The program has exceeded my expectations in every way I could imagine,” she says. “And MLC is also affordable, which is a bonus!”

The Search
Chelsee began her search three years ago. She was teaching second grade at Mills Lawn Elementary in Yellow Springs, Ohio. She’d graduated from Appalachian State University (North Carolina) with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and then Wittenberg University (Ohio) with post-baccalaureate certification in early childhood education PreK-3.

“I missed being a student,” she says. “It was the right time to begin because I’m still fresh and full of zest for teaching. I also wanted to earn my master’s while my children were young and we didn’t have many extracurriculars during the evenings and weekends.”

She found MLC’s program online, and even though she isn’t WELS, the program was a fit. “I think it’s important to be able to view education through different lenses,” she says. “I get the opportunity to glimpse what education looks like from a WELS perspective in the same way my peers get a glimpse of public education.”

Goals Met
With one semester left, she can’t say enough about the program.

“The coursework is authentic, and much of what I study, read, and practice I can then transfer to my classroom. The interactions I’ve had with professors have always been positive, and they’re very accommodating and mindful that most of us lead very full lives outside of our studies. They make a personal investment in each of us. Interacting with peers from around the country (and world) has been engaging and has helped me view educational practices from different perspectives.”

High-Impact Instruction was an especially meaningful course—and it came at just the right time. “This 2020-2021 school year has been very trying for all teachers, and I am no exception. I taught 100% virtually from August through March 1, and it became discouraging at times. It’s difficult to replicate the relationships you have with students while teaching online, and keeping young learners engaged is challenging. High-Impact Instruction introduced me to numerous ways of engaging my students that I had not tried before. It excites me, and I very much look forward to applying what I am learning in the course.”

Chelsee notes that MLC’s master’s program has resulted in both professional and personal improvement.

“I’ve grown professionally because I am more confident in how I am teaching and why. I feel more capable of making decisions in planning and implementation that are best practices. Personally, I’ve grown into all of my roles. As a wife and mother, I’m setting a great example of someone who works hard to achieve goals and who has a growth mindset.”

New Goals Set
Chelsee will graduate in December 2021 with her MS Education (Instruction emphasis). But she isn’t finished. She hopes to jump into the Educational Administration program next. “Knowing that I am bettering myself makes me a better teacher of others.”

Looking back, she appreciates the advice her friends in other graduate programs gave her—to look for a program that was personal and applicable. Now she’s ready to tell others, “Try MLC’s program and you will not look back! It’s an amazing program with a multitude of benefits.”

Chelsee Earley is married to Alex Earley, and they have three boys: A.J. (7), Emmitt (2), and Baby Boy (due May 7, 2021). At Mills Lawn Elementary in Yellow Springs, Ohio, she’s taught grades 2 and 3, and she serves on the Anti-Racism team, which is creating a comprehensive plan to promote equity and inclusion in their school district. She enjoyed high school volleyball, where she played every position on the court, and she now makes time for golf, gardening, and Cleveland Browns football.

Written by Laurie Gauger-Hested