Mollie Triplett of Busan, South Korea, wants to be the best.
“I wanted to be the best teacher I can be,” said Triplett. “I wanted to do a good job at my chosen profession. I knew I needed to have the professional development and training to do and be the best.”
Triplett will graduate Dec. 17 from Southeast Missouri State University with a master’s degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Others Languages (TESOL) – a degree she will have earned halfway around the world via Southeast Online.
Triplett grew up in East Prairie, Missouri. After she graduated from Southeast in 2010 with her undergraduate degree in history, Triplett moved to South Korea to live with her husband who she’d met during a semester of studying abroad her junior year.
In 2011, after the blessings of two children, she started teaching English at Wiz Island. Having taught herself Korean and raising her two children bilingual, becoming an English teacher was an easy and smooth fit for her.
Between work and family, Triplett wanted to return to school and find the personal and professional development she desired.
“I knew I’d always wanted to continue my education,” she said. “I wanted to study for myself. It’s something I wanted to do to keep me going. I’m kind of a nerd like that. I like to have deadlines and learn new things and read new books.”
In her search for the program that could fit her growing family and work demands, she found Southeast Online. Discovering Southeast offered fully online master’s level courses was a pleasant surprise, she said.
“I knew Southeast, I knew the school and what was expected of me as a student,” she said. “It was convenient, comfortable and affordable. It was perfect and it was nice to return. It felt different because it was a higher level courses, but it was easy to navigate.”
Getting ready for her first semester in 2014 was a little nerve racking for her, she said. The potential demands of higher-level courses, a full-time job and being pregnant with her third child was daunting but not discouraging.
“I thought, ‘I’m not sure, but I’m going to give it a try,’” she said.
From 2014 until this fall, Triplett committed herself to achieving her goal. She’d often study in the evenings after her children had gone to bed. The hardest semester was in spring 2015 with her restless newborn daughter.
“It was tough to get her to sleep, to work on papers and get some sleep myself,” said Triplett. “That was a rough patch, but my professors were very understanding and were there for me.”
As her final semester comes to an end, Triplett has a feeling of accomplishment.
“I made it through and better on the other side,” she said. “The more you have to do, the more you do. Raising my kids that’s a job in and of itself, but I really needed something for me, to learn, to keep growing. This was perfect.”
Triplett is currently the head teacher at Berkley Language School and teaches 110 children. Now with her master’s nearly completed, she’s already looking to the future.
“Now that I’ve started studying, I don’t want to stop,” she said.
Next, she plans to learn Mandarin. She and her three children frequently come in contact with the Chinese language as part of their daily lives in South Korea.
“I think learning Mandarin would only benefit me and my kids, who are already bilingual and working towards trilingual,” she said. “If I can help them, that’s important too.”