Part of the joy of teaching is the uniqueness of each experience: every day, every year, every class provides opportunities that the educator may not have experienced before. The students may have different strengths and needs, content can change or the social circumstances that we live in impact the classrooms necessitating the need to change and adapt. In order to continue to grow and improve, seeking a master’s degree in education helps teachers improve their practice, leads towards more opportunities, and proves that you are a lifelong learner.
What is a Master’s Degree?
After achieving a bachelor’s degree, students can attend a college or university and complete coursework for a master’s degree. Typically, a master’s degree is in a specific area that enhances one’s professional practice. Master’s degree programs can vary in subject and length but tend to last from one to two years depending on the intensity of the program.
Many programs allow teachers to get a degree while continuing to work, while other programs are designed for recent college graduates and feature a year-long, more intense study towards graduation requirements. A lot of the one-year programs also allow for an internship providing on-the-job, real training, although longer programs can offer internships as well. These options make it possible for master’s degree candidates to find a program that meets their needs.
Reasons to Earn a Master’s Degree
One reason would be that numerous states require a master’s degree during the start of your teaching career in order to maintain your certification, according to ASHA. Another reason is that a master’s degree allows you to enhance your skill base. With programs ranging from reading to special education to counseling, there are a variety of areas to explore and deepen a teacher’s understanding. Many programs also offer an additional area of certification upon completion of the program. With the development of online learning, interested graduate students are likely to find a program that best suits their interest and needs in any area and in any location.
Reading a variety of literature and having the opportunity to reflect and work with other teachers create a deeper knowledge base which transfers over to your profession. Accordingly, the time allowed to absorb the materials being taught strengthens conceptual understanding and skills that will translate into classrooms. Master’s degree studies typically bring together a variety of people adding different perspectives and experiences; this stretches the learner to gain even more insights into different school districts and prospects. All of this results in people becoming even better teachers.
Educators should love learning. The passion for gaining new knowledge is contagious, and as educators continue to grow and learn, they set a living example for their students. The pursuit of achieving a master’s degree lives through this ideal. By reading articles, meeting with peers, and viewing videos and any other instructional methods, teachers can learn more about their subject based on the latest research and most current ideology. Modeling this love of learning to improve their pedagogy shows the professional growth and desire needed to be a successful teacher.
As educational research continues, practices need to be refined for the betterment of students. The ongoing learning that is part of a master’s degree allows teachers to stay current creating the best practices for their students. This has been extremely evident in the realm of technology. Many graduate schools offer programs focusing in on technology and its use for students.
Areas of Significant Change
An area of significant change is the science behind reading acquisition. There are a multitude of programs that support educators’ desire to continue their education in that realm as well. Another significant change that can be addressed through higher education is the importance of social-emotional learning. The foundational thought of social-emotional learning is that in a positive setting, students are better able to learn as they are prepared to cope with challenges. Further studies in this area would focus on how to create self-worth and manage emotions while thinking of others.
In addition to the personal growth and instructional expertise, another advantage of getting a master’s degree is the financial benefit. Many school districts pay more for an advanced degree beyond a bachelor’s. Moreover, to promote further learning, many school districts will also reimburse teachers for part of or all of their schooling. If a teacher is looking for a different district, having a master’s degree makes them more marketable. It demonstrates initiative, advanced knowledge, and signals to the employer that you are likely a better teacher. Lastly, depending on the type of degree that is earned, a master’s degree can lead to different certifications allowing the recipient to be more flexible in their job assignment as it gives them more opportunities within the educational field to pursue.
A master’s degree leads to professional growth and more knowledge about a teacher’s pedagogy. This can then translate into the classroom as the teacher has stronger instruction, demonstrates perseverance, and is a model of a lifelong learning.