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Sacramento teacher Vicki Oberg is a “life-long learner” and a great advocate for education. She earned her bachelor’s degree in teaching and special education, and then moved onto a master’s program with a focus on reading. While working as a licensed reading specialist, Oberg decided to go to law school at night “for fun.” She earned her Juris Doctor degree in Sacramento, passed the bar and initially worked as an attorney part time while still teaching.
After a successful two-year stint as a lawyer full time, Oberg felt that her place was back in a classroom. She returned to helping students with phonics, vocabulary, comprehension and fluency, working as a reading specialist in the Twin Rivers School District. While she officially retired in 2012, Oberg has never stopped teaching or helping others. An active community volunteer, Oberg runs a program for teen volunteers at the animal shelters for both Sacramento City and County.
What stands out the most about earning your bachelor of science degree?
Coursework that covered core teaching theory and skills are important to everyone pursuing a career in education. But Oberg says her favorite classes were “any that gave hands-on experience” with students, working in schools both on campus and within the local community. One course allowed Oberg to work in an integrated classroom with physically handicapped children. This class, she says, was “particularly fascinating” and reinforced her interest in special education.
Was the master’s education helpful in your day-to-day career?
“I had a lifetime of teaching experience by then,” says Oberg. “But the master’s classes were invaluable.” Coursework focused on the many skills needed to be an effective reading specialist and gave direct, hands-on experience. In short, Oberg says the master’s program “gave me many more tools for my toolbox” as a teacher.
Did having a law degree impact your role as a teacher?
“Law school taught me how to think,” says Oberg. “And I loved it.” Oberg adds that her students were very impressed that she had a law degree and “it showed them there are a lot of things they can be.” The additional schooling also made her “a more well-rounded person,” which she feels made her a better teacher. As Oberg says, “The more you know, the more you can give.”
Valerie Heimerich is a freelance writer out of Sacramento. She typically covers animals and community issues. She has volunteered and worked for many organizations helping animals and people.
Her work can be found at Examiner.com.