May I have some advice?


#1

Hi everyone! :wave: I will be graduating in May with a Bachelors of Science in Education degree (I’m going to be a middle school teacher!) I am really interested in getting a Master’s degree, and want to do so before I am married and have children.

Do you recommend that I do this right away after graduation? I am currently applying for grad school and teaching positions so I do have both bases covered. I have heard pros and cons of getting a Master’s degree in education before having teaching experience (the program I am applying for does not require teaching experience prior to beginning it). If accepted and I go this route, I will be getting my Master’s degree in mathematics education.

Thank you so much for all of your advice! I would also really appreciate prayers that I ultimately choose the path God wants for me. :slight_smile:

PS~ I’m not sure if this is the right place for this thread! I hope it gets moved to the appropriate place if it isn’t!


#2

So are your plans later in life to work or start a family?


#3

My mother gave up a teaching job to get married. I was born about a year later.

What is your vocation?

~~ the phoenix


#4

Well, both. I certainly want to teach, but if possible I would like to be a SAHM (at least until my kids are in school, when we would have similar schedules). However, my future plans are very up-in-the-air right now… I am trying to be flexible and open to any possibilities/opportunities that come my way. Many people have told me that returning to college to pursue a higher degree after you have children is difficult, but not impossible. Since getting a Master’s has been a goal of mine for a long time, I think that going for it sooner rather than later will help me reach this goal. :thumbsup:


#5

Can that be done?

If you want to have children before the onset of infertility, you should probably get and finish the Masters before getting any hands on experience in education. I do work in philosophy, and the Masters program here is about 2 years. Is this the same in education?


#6

if you were my child asking i would advise that you start teaching right away to get experience and look for a program that will pay for you to get your Masters while you teach. I would give that advice to anyone considering grad school, get employment in your field with an employer that will assist with or pay for grad school. I finished my undergrad, and later went on for a MA after marriage and during the “child bearing years” and it is infinitely easier to complete your eduction BC, but not impossible with creativity to do it after.


#7

I’m doing a Master’s of Education now, with five years of teaching experience under my belt. My course also doesn’t require us to have experience, so a few people are taking this course without having taught before. They seem to struggle more with applying the concepts, just because they haven’t spent much time in front of the classroom. I think you’d get more from your graduate studies if you waited and got some teaching experience first.

Then, of course, you have the issue of whether you’ll ever go back for it once you have kids. I can’t predict the future, but I’ll tell you that most of the people in my class have kids, and balance a family, a career, and schooling. Many of them have their graduate studies paid for by their employers, which is certainly a bonus. They also tend to take the program more slowly, and they’ve all mentioned how they couldn’t be doing it without a supportive spouse.

My personal call would be to wait, but you know yourself better than any of us. Good luck, no matter what you choose!


#8

I think you should do it as soon as possible. My DH is working on his master’s now, and it’s so much harder than it would’ve been if he had done it when it was just the two of us.

I do agree with whoever said start teaching and do your master’s at the same time – that would be ideal, I think.

Best wishes! :slight_smile:


#9

So, people have given you good advice! My husband and I got married just after I graduated college, and I intended to go for my MA, but got pregnant, and those first three months were hard, so after 2 weeks of the program, I dropped out to have my baby. I then decided that I wanted to just teach, and this year went for my MAT, a one year program instead of a 2 yr MA program. It was a little trickier arranging this with my DH working and my baby having to go to a sitter (her aunt), but it worked, and I’ll have my teaching license this may!

As for starting right after college, if you can, do it, because later on life will get busy, and you’ll want to be doing other things instead of working on your education. If I could teach right now, I would, but I have to get my license first. The MA program I had signed up for before was with a Teaching Assistantship, which I highly encourage you to apply for, because then you’ll have tuition waived, and be getting valuable teaching experience while in Masters school.

In the end, it’s up to you. Starting right away to get school out of the way is always preferable, because once you leave, it is hard to get back in the rhythm of things (I can attest to that). If you just want to teach elementary-high school, you may just want to do a 5th year program. Check out your options, and good luck!


#10

I’m getting a BS in Education to teach middle school. I’m probably going to teach and get my masters through summer classes, (the state I’m going to teach in pays for it, which is nice.) I’ve known a few people who have gotten their masters in Education through an Ameri-corps, it’s not for everyone, but I know of several people who liked the program.


#11

I have my undergraduate in Mathematics Education, and I taught three years. I have now been in industry for close to 20 years and went back to school to get my MBA while working full time.

I suggest you teach first and then seek a program where you can work and earn your degree at night/weekend/summer. I suggest this for several reasons:

You might find that you like teaching a lot, but you might instead find that you don’t. Don’t lock yourself into an Master’s program in Education until you have some experience in Education.

If you do find you enjoy teaching and/or the education field in general, this will help you determine *which *master’s program you want to pursue. There are many different aspects of education. Education Technology, School Psychology, Math Education, Administration/Principal, etc.

I really think that once you’ve taught a few years you will have a much better idea of whether you want to stay in the classroom long term, pursue a specialty such as curriculum, diagnostics, etc-- or even go towards principal/assistant principal or other out of classroom roles.

Third, many districts pay scales will give you bumps as you achieve certain milestones (for example BA only, BA + 6, BA + 9, MS, MS + 6, etc) BUT in some cases you cannot count prior credit. So, for example if you started teaching, then after you are an employee earned 3, 6, 9 or more Master’s hours you would bump on the pay scale as you progress, but if you came in with a BA plus some hours you might only get credit for the BA… depends on how district contracts are written. Also, you may have an opportunity to receive assistance in tuition and reimbursement from your employer.

As for work/life balance-- you will always have that to contend with. Each choice has pros/cons and you just deal with them.

I am not sure what, specifically, is driving you to get a Master’s. You say it’s been a goal for a long time. Why?


#12

another reason to start teaching first is to find out if this really is the career for you, before you invest more time and money. Until you have taught for a few years you won’t find out if you love it, hate it, or can live with it while you prepare for another career.


#13

Personally, I think you should get your Masters first as you will able to gain more insight in your field.
Get it out of the way as early as you can because you never know the challenges you may have with your own family…

Thats my opinion…

Pray and ask God for guidance and you never know…it might not make a difference which decision you may make.


#14

The questions are:

  1. Do I need the Masters degree to be qualified for the jobs? (what level of certification/education does my state require - or might I move out of state, and have to meet new levels of expectations?)
  2. Am I certain this is the field for me? (have you already had an internship/teaching experience, or are you guessing that you’re going to like the job?)

If the answer to both of those questions is yes, then definitely get the Masters now. It will be so much easier to have it under your belt and not have to worry about it later. I know plenty of people who have attempted to get further graduate degrees once they already had family, but who had to quit midstream because it was just too much.

If the answer to one of them, especially #2, is no, then I’d consider waiting. A master’s degree costs alot of money, and it may take a long time to pay off loans and actually start making your job worth your while financially. It would be good to know you’re doing it for an education that was worth it to you, especially since you hope to be quitting your job for a while, down the line.

It’s not all about money. Advanced education does have intrinsic value (some degress more than others). But life has to be practical as well, and the cost of the education shouldn’t be overlooked either.


#15

Thank you everyone for your replies!

I know some posters have suggested that I teach first to make sure it is what I want to do. I have been an intern/student teacher at a junior high for the entire 07-08 school year (mid-August and will end just days before graduation). I feel like this experience has helped me really get a feel for what being a teacher is like; I have seen the progression of an entire year as opposed to just part of a semester, like a traditional student teaching program may have it. Even when I was bogged down with college coursework, grading, or other things, everyday I have looked forward to nothing more than teaching/mentoring/helping the students. I think (I hope!) I can safely say that teaching is right for me.

Here is my list of pros and cons for getting a Master’s right away… if you have any extra advice or things I haven’t considered, please tell me!

Pros:

  • I will be more educated in the field of education and can use that when I face difficult experiences in the classroom, with curriculum, etc.
  • I will still be in the “student mode” (having just graduated college) which will help me as I complete the required coursework.
  • I am not currently married and have no children, so I do not have a family that I need to provide for. I’ve heard that it can be difficult (although certainly not impossible!) to obtain a higher degree once one is married and/or with children because priorities and responsibilities shift significantly.
  • Obtaining a teaching position with a Master’s and no experience isn’t impossible, and some districts/schools do strongly recommend having a Master’s. Additionally, some districts may look to hire teachers with Master’s degrees because it will boost their district statistics.
  • I will be able to use the time prior to teaching to research additional teaching strategies so I can be more prepared (even with classroom management) when I do teach.

Cons:

  • It may be more difficult to find a district willing to hire me if they know they must pay me higher on the pay scale because I have a higher degree, even though I have yet to have more than my year-long intern experience.
  • Some of the teaching ideas I have had during this year may be less fresh in my mind when I do begin teaching after getting a Master’s.
  • If I taught for a few years and then got my Master’s, I would be able to draw on more teaching experience, which may help with coursework.
  • Some districts (not all) may offer to fully or partially reimburse me for working toward a higher degree.

I am not sure the idea of getting a Master’s while teaching is right for me. I am a perfectionist and I am afraid I would go crazy trying to keep up with my teaching/planning/grading/etc, my Master’s program, and try to have some sort of social life/time for myself. I think it would be healthier for me (and those around me!) if I did one thing or the other.

Also, I really want to get a Master’s degree because I want to be as educated in being a teacher as possible. I have always set high standards for myself and I think that if I never got a Master’s, I would have let myself down (this is not to say that if I don’t get it now, I never will). It may seem silly, but in a way I want to get a Master’s to prove to myself that I can tackle and achieve a high goal.

Sorry this is so long, I just felt like I should reply to all of your posts. Thank you so much, you have no idea how much I appreciate all of your advice! :slight_smile:


#16

I’m teaching and getting my Master’s of Arts in Education (Curriculum and Instruction) from the University of Phoenix online. Here’s my take on your thoughts.

No matter what you decide, the other way will probably seem like it would have been easier! Follow your heart, I guess.


#17

I started work on my Master’s right after college but didn’t get much out of it. I got much more out of my class work after I had a few years of experience under my belt. also Consider tht you employer may be willing ot pay for some of the courses. If you can find a college that has degrees on line you may be able to do that while raising a family. I smpent several long nights with a baby, a bottle, and a book: studying while they ate. Also if the kids get you up at night and you can’t get back ot sleep online courses are a great help since you can do them any time of the day or night.


#18

Based on your most recent post, I’d say do it now. This is because you have the experience and seem really sure that teaching is right for you. And I get the feeling you are sure you want the Master’s degree too. I had to chuckle at your first con - not that I don’t see where you’re coming from, but being “worth” more money isn’t a bad problem to have. In some states, the Master’s is now required to teach in the public schools, and even if you don’t move out of state, my guess is that your own state’s requirements are only going to get stricter, not the other way around. So I would bet that having a Master’s is going to be much more of an asset than a liability when job hunting.

Given that the grad. education is important to you, I think getting it done now is better than waiting - if you can afford it. I suppose it is possible that you might find the job that gives you credit towards a masters degree, but you don’t know for sure that you’ll get one of those jobs, or that you’ll be able to handle the classes on top of whatever else you’re juggling. I know if it were me, if I got the job first, knowing that I wanted to eventually go back to school, I’d be chomping at the bit wanting to just get on with it. I say, if you know what you want in life, don’t wait for it, go get it. If you put this off, what will you have to put off later while you’re finishing this?


#19

One thing I’d like to add to what the others have said is that the very best way to become a good teacher is to actually teach. You could take all the classes in the world and nothing is going to get you to be more of an expert than time, time, time in the classroom. If I were you, I would teach and take classes at the same time because you’ll be able to apply what you are learning right away. All the other pros of having it paid for won’t hurt, either. If you think it will be too stressful to do both, consider maybe one class during the times you are teaching - one fall, one spring, and then beef up during the summer. You could still have your MA in a timely manner.


#20

Hi!

You sound like a very thoughtful young woman. You also seem very sure that you want a Master’s degree.

I say go for it. It is always so much easier to do grad programs while you don’t have other responsibilities. I have numerous teacher friends, some who pursued Master’s immediately, others who waited. Invariably, those who waited have told me they wish they had done it right away, as waiting had made life so much more complicated. A couple of them had to interrupt their grad programs due to family issues. In your case - other than the possibility of an employer paying for a program - pros seem to outweigh the cons, especially considering the perfectionism you mention.

Best wishes and God Bless.


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