Ever since I have decided to be a teacher I have heard contradicting opinions over whether or not I should get my masters degree before I start teaching. I have heard from a few other teachers that many schools do not like to hire teachers with their masters, who have not yet taught in a school. At the college I currently attend I can get my undergraduate and masters degree in five years. I would really like to get an overall idea of which path is better. If you have an experience to share that might help me in making my decision or would just like to share your thoughts that would be excellent!
I worked as a teacher before I went back to school, and I'm REALLY glad that I did because I had a greater understanding of what I needed from my education. I knew what would and wouldn't work, what questions to ask, what I wanted to focus on, etc. Plus, if your bachelor's is in education, it's always good to get your master's in another field -- especially one related to what you might want to teach, like math or science. That will help you prepare kids for what they will face when they get to college, if they go into a field like that. And it will give you a back-up if you get burned out or decide to take a break from teaching after a few years.
That said, if you can get your Master's with just one added year (and, thus, limited cost), it might be worth it. Just know that having a Master's won't make you more qualified -- experience will. In some ways, I think a college drop-out with 5 years of teaching experience might be better in the classroom than a PhD with no real-world experience. (Teach for America has proven that extensive knowledge about pedagogy isn't always necessary to become a good teacher.)
I was told by a teacher that it is better to get your job first, before pursuing a Master's Degree.
Here were her reasons:
You are eligible for tuition re-imbursemment.
You'll have a better idea on choosing a topic of study!
It is easier to get hired with a bachelor's degree. You starting salary is lower!
Don't overlook the financial aspect. Money is always an important factor.
thank you John,
This is exactly what I have heard from a few teachers. The specific topic of study is something I had not yet considered, but really need to. Originally I wanted to teach history, but I have since switched to K-6 with ESL k-12 licensure. Who knows, i might decide to go back to history or something entirely different. I will keep that in mind thanks!
I agreed with the other comments and think you are better of starting teaching now, while you are coming out of uni with many ideas and hopefully enthusiasm. Depending on the school you are applying to work for I don't think a masters degree often makes a big impact when getting a job. I'm sure after so many years of studying you wouldn;t mind a break as well.
I am thinking about doing my masters degree next year in educational technology, which is different to my area of specialisation, but important in every subject today. Having been teaching now full time for 10 years I think I will enjoy and appreciate studying part time for 2 years a lot more than I would have tagging an extra year on fulltime straight out of university.
I started within the education field with my Master's degree. I believe it was an asset in my getting hired. However, I knew and realized that experience within the classroom would make me an effective teacher based on the educational foundation that came from the academic work in pursuing the bachelor's and master's degrees. Of course the degrees are great but the experience and you working to improve yourself as a teacher is what will make you an effective teacher.
The pay difference in coming in with a Master's degree will be higher than that of a bachelor's. The amount depends on the district and state you work in. You having a master's degree would not keep an employer from higher you since your experience level still places you very close to the starting salary just 1 column over on a pay scale.
I would say not to pass up a great opportunity in being able to acquire a higher degree with a unique program for less. As you begin to work the responsibilities of life can hinder the process (or place obstacles in your path) of you furthering your education. I think it is better to acquire now. I would and of course you could go back later to aquire a + 30, specialist degree, or a doctoral degree.