As an educator, finally attaining your teaching degree and landing your first teaching position is a feeling not to be forgotten. After all the hard work and dedication, it’s finally your time to shine! But, what comes next? As expected, in the world of education, we know that our learning does not end there. In an ever-changing world, we must also be ever-changing educators.
We must be moldable, teachable, and hungry for knowledge as we work to shape our students for tomorrow. In order to teach effectively and prepare our students for future success, we must constantly add new and innovative skills to our toolbelt. But, how exactly do we do that? How will it benefit us in the professional world?
Why Reach Further?
I was right in the middle of attaining my master’s degree from Georgetown College when the news came out that the state of Kentucky no longer required it to keep your teaching license. Even with the rigorous classes and immense dedication required, the decision to stop working towards my degree never crossed my mind. Georgetown College was providing me with such a beneficial experience that there was no way I would give it up.
With each passing class, I could feel how much I was growing as an educator. The more I learned and accomplished, the stronger I felt, and that was an irreplaceable feeling. My Georgetown experience was so complimentary to my future goals that quitting wasn’t an option whether it was a state requirement or not. My personal decision to further my education was a decision that I have reaped the benefits from ever since.
I completed my M.A.Ed. Literacy Specialist with Teacher Leader Endorsement in 2019 and have felt its positive impact on my classroom ever since. The new ideas and resources that I gained throughout the process was the first benefit that I noticed. My reading lessons and resources changed completely, as well as the way I designed my instruction. With the new strategies I’d gained from my experience, I felt even more prepared to service the students in my classroom!
It was as though my students were getting a “double-dose” with me as their teacher. I felt like Clark Kent walking into my classroom as their day-to-day teacher, then like Superman when a student started struggling with reading. It was like I had a secret set of superpowers I could use at any time to benefit my students!
Another immense benefit of furthering my education was the new options it gave me outside of my current classroom teaching position. Futuristically thinking, it widened the age group in which I can teach literacy and gave me the option of becoming a:
- Literacy coach
- Reading interventionalist
- Peer coach
- Teacher leader
I can also lead literacy trainings within my district. My degree opened many doors for me, and all of these doors will lead to new adventures and fresh opportunities whenever I am ready to open them.
Benefits of the Climb
New Job Positions
Continuing your education will not only offer you new positions to consider in your field, but it will provide you with impressive skills that can be used to positively affect your district and students.
Certain certifications can enable you to collaborate and work closely with your district, take the lead on different initiatives, make way for stipend opportunities, or even help train other educators in your district. Having a heightened skillset allows opportunities to grow into new educational roles and positively impact your district.
Depending on what topic or focus area you are working to deepen your understanding of, it could allow you to mentor other educators in that capacity. Having a specialty or area that you are proficient in, will allow you to offer help and support in this arena to others in your district. Reaching out into your professional community makes way for both new opportunities and promotional options in your career! We learn the most by teaching others; growing in this was priceless as an educator.
Options, Options, Options
A traditional master’s degree will get you a salary increase and provide loads of new opportunities in your career, but it’s not the only option to further your education. There are several other ways to sharpen your saw when it comes to building your professional portfolio!
There are a plethora of certifications that can be attained for free through professional development that can heighten your abilities in the workplace. Whether your school is hosting an in-house opportunity or you attend one at a community facility, this is a great way to broaden your thinking and learn more about topics that will enhance your daily performance in the classroom. Professional development opportunities can cover a multitude of topics and even provide you with certifications to use within your district.
One of the best benefits of using professional development to further your career is that it is never a cost to you. Your district will be more than happy to cover the cost and support your growth as an educator.
Another incredible option would be professional cadres and conferences. These opportunities are also district funded, allowing you to learn new strategies and content and network with other educators in a large group setting. These events are an outstanding choice when you’re hoping to build professional learning communities and connect with other educators.
Social Media Networks
Lastly, in a world where social media seems to be taking over, why not use it to our advantage? There are incredible social media platforms that offer free routes of learning that can be accessed right from your couch! I’ve participated in digital novel studies, compiled resources from other educators on social media groups, and shared stories and advice with educators worldwide.
Furthering your education and branching out can be as concrete as a master’s degree or as personal as a novel study with your best teacher friends. No matter the route, always keep questioning and learning! It will be a solid investment in your future.
Interested in continuing your education? Check out Georgetown College’s available graduate programs and get started today!