By Katie Bernardo
The doctorate degree is the most advanced degree available, showing the world that you have mastered your subject or field. Having a doctorate is an impressive accomplishment giving one the right to use the prefix of “Dr.” However, what is not always acknowledged is the hardship that goes into gaining this title.
Working toward a doctorate can often be viewed as something that will not only take three years of intense study, but will also affect the rest of your life. Earning any form of a doctorate degree such as a PhD or EdD is an elongated and arduous process.
There are several teachers at Granada Hills Charter (GHC) who have endured this process and furthered their knowledge within the subjects they teach.
The students on campus respect these GHC teachers for their expansive knowledge and work ethic. Teachers already work hard to expand students’ learning, making it impressive that some teachers have worked to further their own knowledge in such a rigorous way as well.
Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) teacher Julie Neumann is one of the teachers at GHC who is working through this challenging process. Neumann is currently in the process of achieving her EdD in Art Education.
Neumann refers to beginning her studying as “the same process as all high school seniors,” where one begins their college application process.
Neumann’s doctorate program gives around two years of “core classes,” where she acquires knowledge about art education, historical art studies, and instructional delivery systems. The next year and a half of her studying consists of independent research on her doctorate subject.
During these three and a half years, Neumann has furthered her knowledge on different techniques and artistic approaches. Neumann is currently researching to “engage people in making community-based mosaic tile installations.”
Working to earn a doctorate is an accomplishment Neumann has been aspiring to do for the past ten years.
“I had always dreamed of getting my doctorate,” Neumann said. “One of my master’s professors told me that you don’t want to get your doctorate unless it’s something that you absolutely love. Because it’s difficult, and it’s a lot of work.”
Neumann is excited about being able to do the entire program online. Not only does an online art education program make being a high school ceramics teacher, VAPA department chair, wife, and mother much more accessible, but it also allows Neumann to explore perspectives from far more people while earning an Art Education doctorate.
“I feel like connecting and collaborating with other art teachers across the nation has changed how I teach. I get project ideas from other art teachers and feedback on my current projects,” Neumann said. “It’s definitely making me a better teacher.”
Earning a doctorate such as an EdD or PhD as an educator is an accomplishment that not only displays a sense of acuity, but also shows students that teachers take pride in their knowledge.
They genuinely care about what they’re teaching because they were willing to go through such a rigorous program to learn more.