by Claire Miller
Melissa Cosgrove wasn’t expecting one of her high school science teachers to start a fire on his desk when she walked into class one day, but it certainly caught her attention.
Her physics and chemistry teachers always found ways to make their classes engaging for their students and they inspired Cosgrove to become a science teacher herself.
“My teachers were both phenomenal – they made science fun and interesting,” she said. “I wanted to take a subject that I enjoyed, but that a lot of people find difficult, and I wanted to make it fun for them the way my science teachers made it fun for me.”
Cosgrove earned her undergraduate teaching degree at the University of Georgia and after graduation, started teaching 7th grade life science at Palmer Middle School in Kennesaw, Ga. Four years later, she switched to 8th grade physical science and math at Palmer and has loved the time she’s spent with both her students and her colleagues at the school.
“You don’t know how difficult your first year is going to be until you’re in it, and if I hadn’t had such a good staff here, I could have seen myself quitting the profession,” she said. “That first year is stressful but I had such great support. We also have a great group of kids at this school, so it’s been great to work here.”
For the last year and a half, Cosgrove has not only dedicated her time to creating lesson plans and finding the best ways to teach the material to her students, but has also managed to work toward her master’s degree in science education at Georgia State University through the Georgia OnMyLine program.
Georgia OnMyLine (GOML) is a cross-collaboration among all 35 colleges and universities in the University System of Georgia that allows students to earn select degrees through online classes.
The online degree program gives Cosgrove the chance to expand her knowledge of physical science with the flexibility to complete assignments around her busy teaching schedule.
“I love the fact that I can do it on my time,” she explained. “And the science classes I’ve taken – especially because I took two semesters of physics – have really helped me expand my knowledge of the subject area.”
She’s already been able to apply her newfound content knowledge to her classroom and incorporate new technologies into her teaching – ones that she learned about through a technology course required for her program.
Cosgrove finished her master’s degree in December and has considered completing an education specialist degree in the future. But for now, she’s content to focus on her classroom and continue making science fun for her students.
“I’ve learned a lot of new best practices that I can use with my students that will really enhance their learning,” she said. “The online program in the College of Education was a perfect fit for me. I’m glad I found this means of getting my degree.”
For more information about the College of Education’s GOML programs, visit http://education.gsu.edu/main/online_ed.htm.