George Lucas Educational Foundation

In need of a few opinions..

In need of a few opinions..

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Hello all, It's been quite some time since I've been on the site, but I remembered the great discussions I had on the site over the summer, and thought I'd try to get back into them again. A little background on me: I am in my third year of substitute teaching. I had two long-term positions my first year, in a very tough district, and haven't been able to find something full-time since then. I've been applying to places left and right, and currently have applications in for three different long-term positions right now. Aside from that, I decided to start my Masters degree this May. I am just about halfway through with the program already and will graduate with a degree in Teaching and Learning with Technology in July. My decision to begin a Masters program came for a few reasons: I'm not guaranteed a full-time position like I was lead to believe upon graduating from college. Most teachers land full-time jobs, teach for a few years, and then have the luxury of completing a Masters program for free because of being reimbursed by their school entity. I felt I can't sit and wait and hope for a full-time job just to have a district basically pay for my education. Second, I'm certainly not getting any younger! I had imagined myself getting a full-time job straight out of college and being able to start a Masters program shortly after that. However, now that my last few years have been different that I expected and my future is also changing, I am looking towards the future for new reasons: marriage, a house, a family (eventually). I would much rather have my Masters complete and out of the way, so that when those milestones do develop, I can focus my attention on them, rather than schoolwork. All in all, my question is, was my decision to start this program now really a wise decision? I coordinate a program for 3-5 year olds on Saturdays and had a conversation with a parent, also a teacher, who is one class away from her Masters, but hasn't had luck in our area finding a job because of where she will fall on a pay scale. For me, going into next school year, I wouldn't be starting at the beginning of a pay scale - I'd be a "first year" teacher, already with a Masters degree, which would technically warrant more money than a typical first year teacher. I've already heard many opinions on my decision to pursue a further degree. I'm hoping that it not only benefits me, but that it looks admirable to an administrator - being that I haven't seemingly sat around and waited for opportunities to come to me. What are your thoughts...?

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Katie Hellerman's picture

Your logistical reasoning for getting a master's makes sense. Hopefully you are also getting a Master's because you are truly interested in the topic. In terms of pay scale challenges...Do you really want to work for a school that is looking for the cheapest labor?
Another idea, if you aren't that interested in your Master's program is to actually start a business, make a product or develop an independent project where you actually demonstrate your abilities with learning and technology. This will really set you apart from the pack.
Just a thought. Good luck!

LiveLoveTeach's picture

Katie, I am hoping the decision helps more than it could potentially hurt my future career. Like you said, I most likely wouldn't want to work in a district who wouldn't be supportive of a beginning teacher with a masters degree and wouldn't mind he increase in pay that comes with it. Hopefully some others see and respond to this to get some further insight. Thanks for yours!

Lisa Dabbs's picture
Lisa Dabbs
Educational Consultant. Author. Speaker. Blogger.

It's good to see you back!I have missed seeing you on Twitter and here @Edutopia. My response to you is this: I pursued my M.Ed right after my B.A. because it was part of my dream for myself and my career.
I think you need to do what your passion leads you to do.
Have a great book to share with you Suzie Welch the author shares this insight: When you looking to make a decision what difference will it make in 10 min, 10 months 10 years? She talks about weighing your decisions against this idea. It's pretty powerful when you really start to think about it. Hope this helps just a little bit.

LiveLoveTeach's picture

Thanks for the returning warm welcome! It has been a while since I've posted, but coming back has once again proved to be worthwhile.

I certainly don't feel my decision towards my Master's was a bad idea, so to speak, I'm just in the tough spot that others may feel that way - especially administrators who could potentially be providing me with a full-time position. I think I'm on the right track, and have been pleased thus far with making the most out of my time over the past 2 1/2 years without something to "call my own". I'm hoping the deicions all pay off like I'm hoping they will. I'm also scheduled to take two more certification tests at the beginning of the year that would allow me to also teach middle school science & language arts on top of the elementary certification I already have. Go me!

Elizabeth Peterson's picture
Elizabeth Peterson
teacher, author, consultant, founder of The Inspired Classroom

Not sure how things are going now a couple of months after your last posting here... I was in a similar situation where I was too "expensive" for many school districts to pick me up. It was torture! But that light at the end of the tunnel did come and now I am happily employed in a place that is wonderful.

I believe that your go-get-it attitude is sure to attract the attention of the school district and administration you want to have as an employer. Trust that!

Good luck to you!!

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