How to Determine the Right Time to Go Back to School

Jessica Shaffer
Jessica Shaffer
5th Grade Teacher; MA in Administration & Leadership, Georgian Court University, NJ

When is the right time to go back to school? The answer is that there is probably not a perfect time, but a time that is right for you. There are a few different thoughts to ponder before you take the leap.

Why Going Back to School is Important for a Teacher

Being a teacher, the notion of life-long learning is something we teach our students. Going back to school can add depth to our knowledge of the world of education. You can develop a more global view of a school and district. Going back to school can open up different career options for you and allow you to gain more specific knowledge of what you wish to specialize in. This is a direct benefit to the achievement of the students in your classroom.

Weighing Your Options When You Go Back to School

When you are weighing out your options for going back to school, there are a few different factors that you should think about. One is the cost, as this is a major factor for most people because school is not cheap. You need to look at your out-of-pocket costs, such as course fees, books, and certifications. You then need to understand how much your salary will increase and what other job options will become available to you.

Another factor to consider is whether you prefer face-to-face classes or online coursework. Many colleges and universities offer both options, so you can choose which works best for you.

There are benefits to each of these options. Online courses are convenient and give you the ability to earn a degree from home, while if you attend face-to-face courses, you are able to make connections with your professors and classmates and ask questions in real-time.

Many universities now offer hybrid programs where the courses are partially face-to-face and partially online. When I attended graduate school, my program was a hybrid one, and I loved it. I am a very visual learner, and I have to ask questions, so I enjoyed being able to do that. Also, it was a great networking opportunity for me. I met many administrators from various districts, as well as many teachers. I also loved the convenience of not having to drive to the university once a week.

How to Determine if Now is a Good Time to Go Back to School

The above mentioned factors contribute to the decision to go back to school, but there other things to consider. If you have a family, you have to think about the amount of time that you will need to dedicate to school and how that will affect them. Going back to school is a huge commitment, so making sure you have a solid support system at home is important to your success.

You need to really, truly think about it. Is this what you want right now? Do you feel ready? When you think about going to school, does it make you feel excited or nervous, motivated or just plain miserable? You need to consider if this decision is the best fit for your life.

Constructing a detailed plan of going back to school can also be helpful. Creating a vision board of your goals and a timeline to achieve these goals can be a determining factor in whether or not this is a good time. Again, there is never a perfect time, but a time that works best for you. Whether you are 27 years old or 56 years old, there are sacrifices you will need to make in order to achieve your goals.

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