How I Did It-Not As I Predicted

June 7, 2010

Today was very slow. I thought I’d get more responses from all the teachers I emailed, but I only got four so far. Out of the four only three qualified for my study. I sent the “next steps” email to them and I didn’t get any responses except one wanting to know about interviewing. She wasn’t going to be available until after the 11th and asked if she could write-up her account in an essay instead. I don’t feel as excited today because things are slowing down, but at least they are still going. I know I emailed enough teachers, 55 to be exact. I only need four.  I guess they are all waiting until school is over. That is fine, but I am leaving on the 16th to go to Texas for the Dissertation Writer’s Retreat. I must have the data collection done before then. OK, Lord, we can do this.


How I Did It-This is Getting Good

June 5, 2010

This morning I awoke to the faxed informed consent agreement from the person who responded to my follow-up email yesterday. This is getting good. It is the exciting part. I now have to go out and buy the gift cards as a part of the agreement. I also had one more principal respond to me this morning and gave me two more teachers’ names. I have more than enough seeds planted, but more will not hurt at all. I read some more information on data collection to make sure I am doing it correctly. So far it is OK. I think as I move into the transcription and coding is when it will start to become a bit much.

How I Did It-Participants Already!

June 4, 2010

Today started pretty good. I emailed the list of compiled middle and high school teachers to ask if I could email their special education teachers about my study. I sent out the emails at 10:25 am and the first principal responded at 10:33 with two names! This is so exciting. I know all these teachers are busy at the end of the school year, but I pray they will at least complete my qualifying survey. I sent the emails out to both teachers and I will wait to see what happens. I  have 12 days before my writing retreat and I feel like this is really going to happen. It is 10:49am and another principal responded with four more names! I sent out the four emails and now I wait. This is something.

OK,  it’s 11am and more principals are responding, so far I have emailed 14 teachers and have 13 more to go. After sending out those emails I had one person complete the survey already. As the day went on, more principals responded totaling 13. Out of the 13 principals sending me names, I emailed 51 teachers. Before I left work, I had two more teachers respond to the survey. So far I have four, but only two actually qualify for the study.

I’m home now and I’m checking my email again. I have two more teachers. I decided to go ahead and send out the “Next Steps” email to three of the teachers that qualified for the study. I only need four. This is happening so quick! One of the three ended up responding with their preference of face-to-face or phone interview. It is the first day of  the search for participants and I already have one interview practically scheduled. WOW. Thank you God.

How I Did It-Starting Data Collection

June 3, 2010

Yesterday I had my proposal defense. It went great! My committee members were proud of me for pulling off the big change the School asked for. Today I stepped out on faith and made the initial phone calls to begin recruitment. I called the county office who told me to contact principals directly to get to their teachers. OK.  I have to find out all the names and emails of the middle and high schools’ principals  in the district I chose. Sounds easy enough. This won’t be too bad.

To talk to me privately about this or any other dissertation-related issue, email me.

How I Did It-Preparing for Data Collection

May 31, 2010

It’s Memorial Day and I am out-of-town visiting family at my mom’s house. It is hectic here with no opportunity to focus. I’m up early this morning to focus on getting ready for my proposal defense on Wednesday. (No one gets up before 11am in this house.) I have to get back in the habit of writing every single day because a part of my data collection procedures is a journal that I have to keep to use at the end for analysis. Keeping this journal was my practice, but in a couple of days I will be doing the real thing. I don’t think it will be difficult to write everyday now because I am back in control. No one has to approve anything right now. Collecting the data is my baby. In my IRB application, I laid out exactly what I will do, so I need to make a things-to-do list based on that and get started. If I say I am going to do it a certain way I have to stick to it. I’m supposed to go through the school district’s Exceptional Children’s department to find eligible special education teachers. I really hope they don’t make me wait too long. Luckily, since the county approved my research, they shouldn’t tell me no.



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How I Did It-IRB Approved My Proposal

May 28, 2010

I got partial IRB approval on Tuesday and full approval today! I’ve typed up a plan for data collection for this case study. I have less than two weeks to find potential participants, decide if they meet the criteria for the study and to set up and follow through with face-to-face interviews. I will also be doing a document review and using a data journal to aid in analysis when it is time to. There is nothing to hold me back now. Let’s go!





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How I Did It-IRB Applications Submitted

May 16, 2010

Today, I didn’t do anything or go anywhere. I didn’t do work.  Both of my IRB applications were submitted this week so I can breathe a little. I should prepare to defend my proposal, but I’m not quite sure how to go about it yet. I guess I should just study my proposal to know it inside and out. I will convert it into a PowerPoint. I also should study how I am going to collect my data and wrap my mind around the idea of doing the most important part of this dissertation at the busiest time of the school year. I will be interviewing teachers. School ends June 10th and the workday is the 14th. If I don’t get to these teachers before they leave the schools, I might as well forget about it. This is cutting it way too close. Lord, give me favor with the IRB to get this moving in time to have the interviews. Most teachers disappear in the summertime.



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How I Did It-School Approved Proposal!

May 4, 2010

I can’t believe it! I can’t believe it! Thank you Lord! I did it. The School approved my proposal. It seems like I had to recreate the entire thing, but I did it! OK. Now I have to get the IRB applications finalized. I couldn’t really be confident that they were ready until I got the OK from the School. I did not want to redo them if the proposal had to be revised again. This is surreal. This means I am so much closer to data collection. The IRB process, let’s get to it.

How I Did It-Still Waiting

May 1, 2010

I finished my revised proposal and sent it to my mentor to give to the School two weeks ago. I’m still waiting. Some pressure was relieved last week when I found out I was approved for a Grad Plus loan for the summer and fall quarters. I originally had to reach Milestone 13 by July 11th to apply for graduation to prevent from having to pay for extra quarters. My new timeline has this ending at the end of September. Come on School, get back to me.

Date Due By Action(s) Milestone
5/3 School of Education Proposal Approval 5
5/6 Arrange and Complete Conference Call 7
5/8 University IRB Approval/ 6
5/14 GCS school district Approval/Begin Data Collection  
5/21 Data Collection completed  
5/28 Transform Data into codable form  
5/28 Data Coded  
6/5 Submit Draft of Sample Analysis to Mentor Ask for approval of late graduation application submission
6/11 Draft of Ch.4-

Submit Draft to Editor

6/14 Submit Ch.4 to Mentor  
6/22 Mentor Approval of Ch.4 8


Graduation Application Submitted (10 days late)  
7/2 Draft of Ch.5 -Send all 5 Chapters to Editor  
7/6 Produce Front/End Matter-Submit to Mentor  
7/16 Mentor Approval of all 5 chapters 9
7/30 Committee Approval of Dissertation 10
8/12 School Approval of Dissertation 11
8/17 Final Revisions before Defense 12
8/27 Have Conference Call Completed 13
9/2 Revisions Completed per Conference Call 14
9/23 Publication 15
9/30 Dean’s Approval 16
9/30 Degree Confer Date  



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How I Did It-Getting Teaching Experience

April 10, 2010

I started faculty training with University of Phoenix online last week. My logic in adding to my load is that I need more teaching experience to add to my CV. Having evidence of online teaching and on-campus teaching looks great. I’ve been an adjunct and student teacher supervisor at UNCG, but I have never taught online before. This training lasts four weeks. While I do this, I have to change the entire IRB application to show the changes I had to make to the proposal. I also have convert the school district’s IRB application to show the new proposal since I have to get approval from BOTH places. At this point, my plan is to get this proposal back to my mentor to send to the School next week. I can’t stress over it anymore. I’m really ready to move on to do my own research. I heard the IRB approval process can be a headache and I have two to look forward to.




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How I Did It-Topic Hits the Fan

March 27, 2010

I worked on redoing my Chapter 3, I did. Turns out I have to revamp Chapter 1 at the same time! That means double work. I also have to add another section into my Chapter 2 to correlate with the reasoning behind changing the methodology to a case study. I had to add in a section about Alternative Teacher Certification too. My title had to change from THE PERCEPTIONS OF NONTRADITIONAL SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHERS: A STUDY OF LIVED EXPERIENCES AS A RESULT OF THE NCLB TEACHER MANDATES to A STUDY OF THE EXPERIENCES OF ALTERNATIVELY CERTIFIED SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHERS RELATED TO THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND ACT OF 2001. Not only did this topic evolve because my School didn’t approve it, but the problem is occurring as I rewrite. About a week after my proposal was denied, special education teachers in our school district found out that special education teachers teaching on the secondary level in North Carolina were not highly qualified according to No Child Left Behind. Turns out the US Department of Education audited the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction  and decided this back in May 2009. I wish I had known then. My original topic referred to teacher quality of special education teachers with nontraditional backgrounds. It didn’t change  a lot, but the new problem was significant enough to do a case study instead.



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How I Did It-Accepting the Changes

March 9, 2010

OK, so I wrote for an hour this morning, but I am writing again tonight. I am ready to get this done and I am nowhere near an end to these revisions. Taking it a little bit a day is better than not doing it at all, but the thought of having to redo a chapter is discouraging. I acknowledge that I feel inadequate right now. How did I work so long and hard on something that wasn’t even right? Problem is, it was right to me. Ultimately I need to realize that although this is my dissertation, my completing this is it’s not up to me alone. I have to accept these changes just like it were a paper in a course where a professor used Microsoft Word Track Changes to comment on it. I’d fix it and accept the changes. OK. I will accept the changes.




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How I Did It-Proposal DENIED

February 25, 2010

There was a reason why it took so long to hear back about my proposal. The School did not approve it. The reviewer did not agree with my methodology at all. I wanted to use phenomenology and I loved the idea. It worked for my mentor and my committee. Everything seemed to fit, but I now have to do some serious revisions, basically rewriting my entire Chapter 3.  Ugh!!!


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How I Did It-First Publication Prep

February 20, 2010

Today I didn’t do anything dealing with the dissertation because it has been three weeks and I STILL don’t have comments back from the School of Education. In the meantime, I developed a manuscript recycled from one of my course assignments for submission to an online journal, JAASEP-Research Based Journal in Special Education associated with the National Association of Special Education Teachers (NASET). Approval should be a quicker turnaround than non-online journal since I submitted it electronically. I can put it on my CV now and just add (In Press). I didn’t have to change it much, but I did update some of the literature. I followed the submission guidelines and emailed it.

A Comparison Between Collaborative and Authoritative Leadership Styles of Special Education Administrators 





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How I Did It-Committee Approves Proposal

January 26, 2010

I met Milestone 4: Committee Approval! My deadline was January 20, but six days late is better than a month late. I really hope all those revisions paid off because now my mentor will send it to the School of Education. Whoever reads my proposal at that level can potentially tear it apart. As much I can prepare myself for that, I really don’t want to deal with it. In reality, who does?





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How I Did It-Freezing but Working

January 8, 2010

I had a trying day at work. I lived through it. Tonight I am blessed to be somewhere I can work on my revisions. I wanted to go the library, but it wasn’t open. I am at Wendy’s freezing, sitting next to a window,  just so that I can have an outlet for my laptop cord. Boy, the things we do. I tried another restaurant, but they didn’t have an outlet in the lobby. I plan to get something accomplished tonight. My fingers are cold…






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How I Did It-A Good Day

January 4, 2010

Today was a good day. I heard back from my mentor and my two committee members about my timeline I created a couple of days ago and that is impressive. Now that I have my plans out there I have to stick to what I say. So I must continue to fix this proposal. The new quarter starts next week and it would be nice if the proposal could be approved, but one of my committee members wanted more revisions. If she doesn’t find anything else I can move on. Tonight I plan to do 1 1/2 hours of revisions.




To talk to me privately about this or any other dissertation-related issue, email me.

How I Did It-New Timeline for a New Year

December 31, 2009

This is the last day of 2009! I spent countless hours complaining, procrastinating and simply not being productive. No More! 2010 IS going to be my year of completion. We are given seven years to complete a dissertation and some people take the entire time and longer.  I will NOT be doing that. My life can’t continue like this because my family needs me back at 100%. God is still with me, even though I continue to slack off and be inconsistent. I have to rekindle the power that flowed through me this past summer after I passed Comps. It was all by the God’s grace and I know that.

Capella uses specific milestones for us to complete to keep up with progress on our dissertation. I created a newly revamped timeline that is more detailed and incorporates the milestones. This is what I will go by. I WILL GET DONE.

Date Due By Action(s) Milestone
1/20 Chapters 1-3 Proposal Approval by Committee 4
2/1 School Approval 5
2/11 Arrange and Complete Conference Call 7
2/22 IRB Approval 6
3/9 Data Collection completed (3 interviews)
3/12 Transform Data into codable form
3/16 Data Coded
3/22 Draft of Sample Analysis to submit to Mentor
3/24-29 Attend Writer’s Retreat in AZ
3/29 Draft of Ch.4 Completed-Submit Draft to Editor
3/30 Submit Ch.4 to Mentor
4/9 Mentor Approval of Ch.4 8
4/10 Graduation Application Completed
4/12 Draft of Ch.5 Completed-Send all 5 Chapters to Editor
4/13 Produce Front/End Matter-Submit to Mentor
4/26 Mentor Approval of all 5 chapters 9
5/28 Committee Approval of Dissertation 10
6/16 School Approval of Dissertation 11
7/8 Final Revisions before Defense (my birthdayJ) 12
7/14 Have Conference Call Completed and Form Submitted to School for Milestone Completion 13
7/20 Revisions Completed per Conference Call 14
8/5 Publication 15
8/20 Dean’s Approval 16
8/31 Degree Confer Date

How I Did It-Drifting…

December 9, 2009

I feel like I’m floating away from this. Drifting so far that I can’t see it. This can’t continue to happen. I turned in the revisions to my committee and they want me to make a few more changes because they want the School to approve it the first time around. Well, I do too, BUT it takes me forever to revise nowadays.





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How I Did It- Missed Deadlines Suck

November 30, 2009

I didn’t think the comments from my committee would cause me to put so much more work into correcting this proposal, but they have been. I am so grateful to have the mentor I have. She is moving along with getting things back to me quicker than I thought. One of my committee members takes longer than the other, but I survived that so far. My problem is I miss my own deadlines. I could see if someone else caused me to miss them. My teaching job and family keeps me doing everything but work on this dissertation, but I am the only one at fault for not turning the revisions back in to my committee yet. The IRB application took some time, but I can’t even send that until I get the School of Education approval and that is after the committee approval. This is taking longer than I thought. If the School asks for revisions, I think I will scream.






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How I Did It-IRB Prep

November 15, 2009

I’ve managed to type up my correspondence forms and participant letter for the future participants of my study. I drafted the email to send to them for recruitment and I signed up for I’ll use it so they can answer qualifying questions in the form of a survey to determine if they are a good fit for my study. Because I’m using email I have to specifically state at the bottom of the consent forms I create that the participants know they are responsible for the security of their own computers. Seems like there are so many forms to create for the IRB application. I am still not done with it. But I will get done.





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How I Did It-Life Updates

November 9, 2009

In the last two weeks, a few pretty cool things have happened. I got a new minivan. I got a word from Joyce Meyer on how to keep my mouth shut. I was told how to get my 6-year-old to take responsibility for getting herself dressed in the morning. I have been considered for an interview for a faculty position at High Point University. I’m going to a Council for Exceptional Children’s conference to meet the head of the Education department at High Point University beforehand. All kinds of things have occurred, but not about the dissertation, except that I got the comments back from both of my committee members yesterday. I’ll work on the revisions of the proposal from my committee tonight for an hour. My deadline is the 12th.

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How I Did It-Breaking Procrastination

October 25, 2009

Once I pass committee approval and IRB stage, I’ll be over the hump. Chapters 4 and 5 will be exciting and should go pretty quickly. In the meantime, I need to kick the procrastination habit.

GOAL I-Do certain things at the same time every day. Commit to it.

GOAL II-Don’t say I will do everything for everyone. It takes away from my things to do list. Learn to say NO.

GOAL III-Work on ANYTHING dealing with the dissertation for an hour a day.

GOAL-IV-Follow through with my things to do list. Try not to carry things over to the next day. Only list what I know I CAN do.





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How I Did It-Proposal Approved

October 13, 2009

I am not going to say how mad I am at myself for taking so long to get back to journal writing because I am still working on the dissertation. I just sometimes forget to write about it. I didn’t forget to write today because my mentor officially approved my proposal this morning! I got the references to her in time. She is sending it out to the committee members today. I hope they give me a quick turnaround. This feels pretty good. Just in case they get it back to me early, I need to have the IRB forms finished. I also need to start applying for faculty positions because this is real!






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How I Did It- Starting the IRB

October 2, 2009

I hate that I am now moving at a really slow pace. This one hour a day seems to make progress drag. I’m not in the position to go slow, but at least I’m going. I will get the references perfected this weekend to make sure my mentor gets it before she sends me back my proposal.  I need her to send the correct references to the committee. I really hope they don’t take 10 days each. I took at look at the IRB forms. They have all the components of my Chapter 3 broken down into questions. I understand why the proposal has to be done first. I did all the legwork up front. Here’s where I am so far:

  • Step 1-Talk to my mentor about my preproposal
  • Step 2-Create the preproposal-5 hours
  • Step 3- Get Dissertation Committee approval-~2 weeks
  • Step 4- Complete CITI training-1 week
  • Step 5-Mentor approves preproposal-~2 weeks
  • Step 6-Collect the literature-40 hours
  • Step 7-Code the literature-60 hours (break down how later)
  • Step 8-Write the literature review-40 hours
  • Step 9–Finish writing the proposal-Chapters 1 and 3-Write 3 before 1.-30 hours
  • Step 10- Mentor approves proposal-~2 weeks (Work on IRB documents while I wait)
  • Step 11-Revise the proposal if necessary-6 hours
  • Step 12-Defend the Proposal
  • Step 13-Obtain IRB Approval-~2-3 weeks depending on school
  • Step 14-Collect the data-150 hours
  • Step 15- Transform data to codable form-40-60 hours
  • Step 16- Code the data-40 hours
  • Step 17-Create the matrix to explain the data-5 hours
  • Step 18-Write a sample analysis for mentor-5 hours
  • Step 19- Mentor reviews sample analysis-~1 week
  • Step 20-Write  Chapter 4 including sample analysis-40 hours
  • Step 21-Write Chapter 5- 30 hours
  • Step 22-Transform the Proposal into dissertation chapters 1-3 and create front matter-5 hours
  • Step 23- Edit the Chapters-60 hours
  • Step 24- School and Committee review of dissertation for  approval-3-4 weeks
  • Step 25- Revise the dissertation-25 hours
  • Step 26-Dissertation Approval-~2 weeks
  • Step 27-Make Formatting Revisions based on school editor-8 hours
  • Step 28-Review of the dissertation-~2 weeks
  • Step 29-Defend the dissertation
  • Step 30-Do any final revisions after defense-20 hours
  • Step 31-Submit the dissertation for publication-1 hour