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Meet Our Students - Karen Springett

MA Leadership

This is a liberating way to study.

Why did you choose to do the degree?

I have always wanted to do a degree, I did a Certificate of Education 33 years ago which enabled me to become a teacher. 8 years ago I completed the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) and took on a Primary Headship. I now want to extend this qualification by studying for a Masters in Leadership, this will complete my personal education and give me a qualification that will enable me to work as a consultant in educational leadership.

How do you feel you will benefit from studying for this qualification both professionally and personally?

I feel that personally I will feel fulfilled, I will have completed something that I have always wanted to do. I will be able to put my photograph next to my daughters and celebrate our achievements. Studying will keep my mind active and provide me with an understanding of leadership that is not necessarily to do with education. The MA will also provide me with a sound base from which I can offer my services to the National College of School Leadership as a consultant when I retire (I am 55!), in the meantime it will contribute to my skills as a head teacher.

Which aspects of study have you found most challenging, how have you overcome these challenges?

The first challenge was overcoming the difficulties I encountered with the ICT requirements needed to complete the course efficiently. It took a lot of practice and some frustration but eventually I mastered it and now really look forward to logging on. I also find that I have a lack of self esteem at times, I fear that everyone else on the course is far more intelligent than I am and that I shall make a fool of myself. I am overcoming this perception by writing out my thoughts in a word document first, then waiting until someone else posts something, looking carefully to see if I have understood the question and then posting my contribution. This week was the first time that I posted a contribution first.

What have you found most rewarding about studying this course?

I am finding the course rewarding, this is a liberating way to study. I can work when I want to, I can get everything out of the way and in the quiet of the evening I can concentrate. Having instant access to the other student’s ideas and postings is a great help. I can correspond with them all when I am ready to and read their contributions at leisure. I also like the fact that I am chatting to fellow students who are mostly not in the education system. It is good to learn about other establishments and how they are managed.

How have you found using the University’s online resources? (VLE, Library etc)

I took a while to get used to the VLE but now I can access it quickly and efficiently, I do find replying to other peoples contributions a bit clumsy with postings repeated every time you contribute something. I am less competent with the library – I use it to renew books but would like to know how to access online journals etc.

How would you describe the support offered by both our teaching staff and support services?

The support I have received has been wonderful. Quick and efficient replies to my contributions or requests and simple instructions offered to get me moving again.

What advice would you give to anyone considering undertaking a distance learning course?

I would say, if you cannot get to university for whatever reason, distance learning is a wonderful way to work, it enables you to study whenever you want to, and for however long you wish to.

My advice would be to take the leap of faith and go for a subject that you are interested in, work out a schedule of study (not necessarily a timetable, but an overview how many hours study you can manage each week)...

Do what you want to do, when you want to do it, check clearly which books are your core texts before you start and ask for a reading list to get you in the swing.

In the beginning I wrote all my responses into a word document first and then copied them over to the VLE when I was happy with them, this reduced the amount of ‘lost’ work and let me draft and redraft at leisure.

I would advise anyone who is debating whether they can manage the course, to take the plunge – however old you are – and enjoy it!

What tips do you have on fitting your studies around your outside commitments including work, family etc?

I fit studying into my life by using a laptop and doing an hour or so before supper, then doing as muchas I feel like later at night following time with the family (and sometimes a snooze)...

I work late at night because it suits my learning style, I am so busy running a school and chairing a large head teacher’s association that I don’t have any time during the day at all.

I love the flexibility of the course, the units are spaced out appropriately, you can choose how much to do at a time, you can choose when and what to read and you can embed the learning into what you are doing. I read the texts and take notes in a journal...

I jot down any quotes I like, I relate the text to actual scenarios within my own career and note down any interesting web addresses that I find.While I am at work I try to make mental notes of any relevant leadership experiences that happen, I also take any ideas and thoughts that I have read, during my studies, into my job.

The most important thing to remember is that you are doing this because you want to and it should be enjoyed, don’t make it a chore.

Would you recommend your course to others?

I would recommend this course to others because it has opened up my mind, I am so enjoying studying again. It gives you an insight into other people’s careers and provides a platform for you to explore your own. The leadership course has provided me with a structured reading schedule with stimulating questions to answer. The chance to discuss your ideas with other students is a bonus.

How would you sum up your experience of studying with Anglia Ruskin so far?

I am really enjoying it.It is actually fulfilling the brief that it promised. Fitting this study into my very hectic life is proving to be one of the best things I have done. I do feel that I can succeed, time will tell just how I manage but I am determined to do well, I have to keep up with my daughter!

MA Leadership

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