Jordan native Nada Al Khateeb is keeping the Middle Eastern-to-Southeastern Oklahoma State University family tradition alive.
Al Khateeb's brothers and sisters-in-law attended SOSU before she enrolled in the Master of Education in Educational Leadership – Academic Track online program. Al Khateeb, a vice principal at Islamic Education College in Amman Governorate, Jordan, will graduate in July 2019.
"I always wanted to pursue a master's degree, but I didn't think I would be able to do it because I am married with four children and work a full-time job," she said. "When my youngest brother's graduation from Southeastern was posted online, I was happy for him and inspired to pursue my dream."
Al Khateeb's husband, Mohammad, encouraged her to go for it. Their children, Layal (14), Hassan (11) and twins Leen and Ahmad (7) are also a little older and more independent, which helped make her decision to return to college easier.
"Education is highly valued in our family and our culture — to us it is the only way to a bright future, economically and socially," she said. "
After adjusting to the online M.Ed. in Educational Leadership – Academic Track program, Al Khateeb is thriving in the accelerated format.
"At first, I spent at least three or four hours a day on school," she said. "Now, it is better since I got used to the program. The seven-week design is brilliant. I believe it is enough time to go through one course, finish it and move to the next without having to do one for three or four months and be tired of it. It also matches the fast-paced life we live nowadays."
Perfect Savage Storm
Al Khateeb did not plan on pursuing a career as a teacher. After graduating with a bachelor's degree in English literature from Applied Science University in Amman, Jordan, in 2000, she worked as an English as a Second Language coordinator for nearly nine years before finding her true calling.
"I never knew that I wanted to be in education but somehow ended up there," she said. "I love it and think it is a very challenging, yet rewarding, job that is a bit underestimated. My ultimate career goal is to become influential enough to make a difference in the current education system."
So far, EDAD 5313: School & Community Relations and EDAD 5323: Supervision of Instruction are the two courses in the online M.Ed. in Educational Leadership – Academic Track program that stand out most to Al Khateeb.
"I learned the importance of developing a good community relations plan and the role all stakeholders play in the success of the school," she said. "This is a new concept to me, as I learned in a traditional way where school walls were very high and parental involvement was extremely limited."
Al Khateeb enjoyed the Supervision of Instruction course for its learning methods and applicability to the real world.
"That was my favorite because I got to do many projects and write many assignments about how to improve instruction of teachers, regardless of what they teach," she said. "I had conferences with my colleagues before and after some of the lessons.
"I also helped one of my colleagues, who was very open-minded and trusted my judgement, to spice up her science lessons by developing a plan to improve instruction. This plan was homework, but it was actually implemented in real life, which was very rewarding."
With graduation day in sight, Al Khateeb is excited about her future. Her youngest brother is currently working on a doctoral degree, and she plans to eventually return to higher education to do the same.
"My friends and family were excited and supportive — especially my parents and my husband," she said. "All of the courses directly connect to what I do as an educator and vice principal, even though Jordan has a completely different education system than the United States. The courses are all valuable for someone in my position."
Al Khateeb's support system includes the SOSU faculty.
"The professors are amazing," she said. "The structure of the program is extremely helpful and perfect for someone who is working a full-time job with a young family.
"I am not saying it has been easy, but my excitement for the program, along with a will to focus my energy on something that will actually help me grow as an individual and quench my thirst for knowledge, has given me patience and strength to continue. I would say to anybody to go for it, 100 percent."
Al Khateeb hopes she can make the long journey from Jordan to the United States to experience commencement in person with her family and officially become a SOSU graduate.
"There is nothing I want more than to attend the graduation ceremony," she said. "I hope I will be able to afford it. Sharing that moment with my family would be a dream come true. My kids look up to me now and think, 'If our mom can go to school and study while working, we shouldn't be complaining about our homework.'"
Learn more about the SOSU online M.Ed. in Educational Leadership – Academic Track program.
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