#76: The Educator and Her Struggles with Obtaining a Postgraduate Degree
Masters. Specialist. Doctorate.
All of them have such a nice ring to them, don't they? Too bad I may never have one with my name hanging on the living room wall. Such a bold statement is not one I conjured up overnight. Oh, how I have attempted traveling down the graduate school road. Not once. Not twice, but THREE TIMES to be exact. Hospitality. Student Affairs. Math Education. One to two semesters and then I would cease logging into my Blackboard account.
Hard to believe of someone who was valedictorian of her high school class and graduated undergrad with honors, huh? Luckily, lack of brain capacity isn't the issue.
At one point I believed it was because my attention span had become at short at a Tweet or Vine video. Yet, after months of research, and more importantly a lot of prayer, I've come to the realization that a postgraduate degree may not be for me. Here me out and you just may agree with me.
#1 Most college level coursework is theoretically based with little to no practical application.
The history behind the Pythagorean Theorem holds no value while teaching this concept to a group of Level 1 and 2 students. What I need is training on teaching grade content to students who are NOT on grade level. Show me ways to reduce the number of tortuous math worksheets and instead replace them with real-life problems applicable to a class of fifteen year-old students.
#2 The ROI on graduate degrees in education is almost nonexistent.
The only exception to this rule are school administrators. Believe me when I say I have no intentions of ever becoming a principal. I enjoy the four walls and dry erase board of my classroom.
In my current school district, teachers only receive $1,000 annual stipend for a Masters degree or a $1,500 annual stipend for a Specialist or Doctorate degree. The condition to receiving this "incentive" is that your post-graduate degree must be in the field you're working in. Thus, I would have to earn a Masters or higher in Math Education or I gets nothing! Mathematically speaking, I would have to teach for about 30 years just to break even, not including interest from the student loans to pay for said degree.
The irony of it all...the education systems pays little for advanced education.
#3 Post Graduate degrees do not guarantee a better job or a better pay.
I won't go too deep into this one, except that this applies to any field not just education. Politics are everywhere. Sometimes it really is more about who you know than what you know. Don't shoot the messenger.
Have I written off the idea of obtaining a higher degree? Not entirely but I can say I will be able to live happily as I am now.