How My Curriculum and Instruction Masters Elevated My Career

Andrew Passinger
Andrew Passinger
Middle-High School Principal; M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction, Gifted Certification
A graphic with a cap and diploma and the word “curriculum” edited over it.

Educators make thousands of decisions each day, with significant ramifications behind each one, down to the most minute of details. And these choices are most important because they affect the lives of millions of children through public and private education. It only makes sense that decisions made for their own lives are also impactful. And one of those areas pertains to the choice of content for a master’s degree. After much research and thought, those who select a curriculum and instruction masters will see a substantial change not just in their own learning but also in their students’ lives. 

My own experiences in achieving this noteworthy accomplishment have elevated my career from a veteran in the high school English classroom to a leading principal in my school. And because I have a strong comprehension regarding the importance of curriculum, instruction, and assessment, I am a major contributor to the changes required in my high school. 

Why I Chose to Pursue a Curriculum and Instruction Masters 

In my fifth year of teaching, just past the survival mode, I realized that it was necessary to continue to build upon what I had learned, both from my bachelor’s degree and from the classroom experience. I was highly intrigued by instructional strategies and how I could present the curriculum. I explored Principles of Learning Systems classes, as well as local cohorts pertaining to varying types of instructional strategies courses. 

Once I thoroughly researched a curriculum and instruction master’s degree, I recognized the potential in what I could present to my classes and the realization that I could have the background necessary to move into administration if I ever desired that route. I also aimed to contribute to my district as a teacher leader. I desire to utilize a degree and program that would benefit every aspect of my career. 

While I could have selected many different areas dealing with a master’s degree, curriculum and instruction was an area I knew could enhance my daily teaching while building the instructional knowledge that would elevate my capabilities. I wanted to know the best strategies to employ with high-level learners and those who needed strong and structured lesson designs. Understanding how curriculum and instruction were so closely tied, with the addition of the assessment process, creates a strong drive to be a better teacher. I witnessed instantaneous results with each course due to embedded projects that were entirely applicable in my own classroom. 

How a Curriculum and Instruction Masters Helped My Career 

My master’s degree, which was completed in two years, showed immediate results in leadership. I was allowed to become the department chairperson for the ELA and Foreign Languages Department. This was also a time when the department was in flux, as the newest grant to arrive for our district required an in-depth curriculum alignment with new maps. Having the concentration of a curriculum and instruction master’s degree elevated me completely, not only within my department but as a reference for other departments. I helped develop the template our district implemented and provided some professional development in areas relating to the instructional relevance connected to the numerous levels of curricula. 

At the same time, I was involved in this three-year process, I also took over as a head coach in track and field. And while the master’s degree didn’t primarily affect this designation, its secondary significance allowed me to build upon strategies for teaching and learning with my athletes because of my contributions as a curriculum leader in my district. 

The next and possibly most significant way in which the master’s degree in curriculum and instruction helped my career was when I interviewed for an assistant principal position in my district to support both the middle school and high school (which are both located in the same building.) Because of my contributions to the district and my background in curriculum and instruction, I was hired to help lead our schools. 

After four years as the assistant principal, I was promoted to lead principal with a renewed focus toward interpreting and sharing data and curriculum and instructional design. My choices in this area of master’s programs indeed played an influential role in elevating me to an honorable and challenging position. 

What I Learned Through the Degree that I Still Use 

By obtaining this specific degree, I have learned to implement a systemic method of thinking for positive changes. Being in charge of so many different variables, I have to comprehend the ramifications of my decisions for a whole school community. Knowing how instructional practices and appropriate assessments can dictate those decisions is a skill set I learned from the curriculum and instruction master’s degree. 

In my observations of classrooms to my pre-and post-observation suggestions, I incorporate instructional and assessment strategies as examples from my program and my own experiences in teaching. 

In fact, one of the most pertinent approaches I continue to practice is action research regarding educational tests and measurements, plus a movement from classroom management to disciplinary management and restorative practices. These all stem from the courses in my master’s degree choice. 

And because of the networking with other colleagues throughout the program, I am able to stay up-to-date with leadership, evaluate current issues plaguing education, and be a true agent of change in my district. 

Everything we do as educators and administrators is under a microscope in contemporary society. Every decision matters, and if you want to be a leader as an integral cog in the system, choose a curriculum and instruction master’s degree to elevate yourself into that position. You will never regret making yourself and your students better. 

Ready to improve your pedagogical practices, leadership skills, and more? Explore our curriculum and instruction master’s degree programs to get started today! 

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