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  1. #1
    Banned. timmyquest's Avatar
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    Any educators in the house? Masters?

    I'm graduating this fall with a BA in History and a BA in Psychology. I have recently decided that i want to teach high school and thus need to acquire a secondary education in social sciences certificate (in accordance to Illinois legislation).

    Because i'm going to be commuting from my mothers house, to save money (god help me!) i am looking at many smaller schools in the Chicago suburbs and a few in the city. There are essentially three programs that seem to exist.

    1. Undergrad programs where i would essentially be getting another BA in eduction along with certification
    2. Programs designed specifically for post bachelor certification
    3. Masters in arts of education with certification

    All of these programs are generally looking to be about 2 semesters of course work along with a semester of student teaching. This raises a bit of a dilemma. Why would i invest time/money and not get a masters when i could invest that same time/money in getting a masters. However, i have also long heard that it can be difficult to get a job as an individual with no teaching experience while holding a masters degree. I have also heard, however, that this is a bit of a misnomer.

    Right now there is one school that i am very interested in that is willing to work with various special circumstances (for instance, i must complete a summer course in order to obtain my degree) who is claiming that in 32 semester hours and student teaching i will have a Masters in Secondary Education with a distinction in a field of my choice (most likely history) as well as a Secondary Education certification in Social Sciences. This, to me, seems the best option at this point but i am hesitant that it will hinder my ability to get work after graduation.

    Any input is good input...

    Thanks!

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    Banned. timmyquest's Avatar
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    Let me also just add, and i don't know if this is silly or not, but i didn't decide that i wanted to be a teacher until i was well underway with my other two fields of study and it would have ended up being a rather big waste of money to switch programs. Thus, i sort of feel that if i can't somehow utilize my two undergrad degrees in assistance to getting this next step of my education that it feels like a bit of a waste. This too is pushing more towards the Masters degree, unless i can find an alternative program with a reduced course load due to my past course work.

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    Gorntastic! v1k1ng1001's Avatar
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    Get the Master's degree. Everyone knows it is not a real Master's degree so that if you wanted to work in administration you'd probably have to go back to school for a 2-yr degree, but the certification M.A. may entitle you to a pay raise.

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    Squirrelly Member trsidn's Avatar
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    As an aside, I don't think it's wise to become a teacher simply because it is too expensive to change majors. I think teaching, more than anything, requires a true commitment.

    Any number of jobs require only a degree. Matters little in what.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nicodemus View Post
    Yet more proof that I'm.. well, pretty much right about everything.

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    Banned. timmyquest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by v1k1ng1001 View Post
    Get the Master's degree. Everyone knows it is not a real Master's degree so that if you wanted to work in administration you'd probably have to go back to school for a 2-yr degree, but the certification M.A. may entitle you to a pay raise.
    It's a "real" masters degree but you need a different masters for administrative work, this is my understanding.

    The problem with getting a job is related to the pay raise. Again, merely through "my understanding" but i am pretty sure that it ammounts to this.

    Public school districts hire teachers
    Teachers are unionized
    The district prefers to pay primarily based on teaching experience, and then educational background
    The union forces the district to pay based on teaching experience as well as educational background

    I don't know if the unions set this up or if the districts are more responsible but educators are paid via pay scales.

    The pay scales have a couple of variables

    -Obviously the first being the budget (ie local taxes). More taxes (wealthier area) equates to more pay.
    -The next is the grade level your teaching. Typically the higher the grade level the higher the pay
    -Grades 6-12 (in illinois this is "secondary education") you are paid based on your field of study. Social sciences, english, PE are going to be paid lower than the sciences. (I once had to interview an Italian physicist who had obtained a $750,000 grant from NASA for research at U. Iowa. When i told her that "i loved physics but was horrible at math. She said "You know, they teach that at this school...". Simple, yet i wish i had someone convince me of that when i was younger, i would have likely pursued engineering)
    -You are then paid based on your years teaching in the district. I believe that most districts begin giving you a small 1-2% raise every year after (brain fart, what the hell is it called when you "can't be fired") and i'm pretty sure there is eventually a cap to this.
    -Lastly, you are paid based on what level of education you have acquired. This is often a pretty significant pay raise and is primarily why most teachers eventually get the M.A. or even PhD.

    So, because i would have zero years of experience teaching, would be teaching a certain area (social sciences) and would have a masters, i would fit into a certain pay scale.

    The theory is that, in this situation, that amount of pay is often higher than what districts prefer to pay someone with no experience. But since it's formulaic and enforced by the union, neither the district nor the prospective teacher can budge. Even if i were willing to take a reduction in pay to get the job, the Union would not allow me to work. Thus, again, the theory is that the district doesn't even bother.

    I've got a few contacts from high school and am going to contact Iowas school of education on the matter, but it is something i need to keep in mind i think .

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    Banned. timmyquest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trsidn View Post
    As an aside, I don't think it's wise to become a teacher simply because it is too expensive to change majors. I think teaching, more than anything, requires a true commitment.

    Any number of jobs require only a degree. Matters little in what.
    You misunderstood. I started out as a history major, then added a psychology major. Since i graduated high school i have contemplated wanting to teach but wasn't sure if i wanted to specialize so much in regards to my career. Over the past year and a half or so i have truly developed a desire to educate and go make a difference.

    I was never an education major, and i felt it would be a waste of a lot of money to switch from my history, psychology, or both to education. Primarily because i went to school out of state and certain circumstances meant i had less funds available than when i made the decision to pay out of state tuition.

    I have wanted to teach for a while now, i also wanted to finish my psychology and history degrees. This will eventually cost me more money since when i graduate in May i will not be able to dive into the career. However, i think it would have been a waste to simply "dump" my other two fields of study, especially considering the fact that they can be applied to my career.

    A mere 30% of secondary education teachers in America majored in the area that they teach (source: Time). This is a problem. Thus, it also became a sort of moral issue in regards to my personal theories on education. As someone who, hopefully, will be teaching history, i take pride in my bachelors in that field.

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    timmy,

    an OT question: you do realize that patience is sometimes necessary when teaching, right?

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    Banned. timmyquest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by botto View Post
    timmy,

    an OT question: you do realize that patience is sometimes necessary when teaching, right?

    See your PM. In short, yes. And i also acknowledge why you're asking.

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    Senior Member rodrigaj's Avatar
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    The single most overriding factor in getting a teaching job is experience. Be prepared to move to get that experience.

    Next is multiple certifications. The more the better. Bilingual certification in spanish is a big plus. Science and math are big pluses.

    Next is a proven track record of working with kids as a volunteer in extracurriculars, sports or camps.

    The various schools of education and their programs are next to useless but they control the door to certification.

    Your short description of yourself and the circumstances by which you come into teaching will not get you a teaching job in all but the most blighted areas of this country.

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    Banned. timmyquest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodrigaj View Post
    The single most overriding factor in getting a teaching job is experience. Be prepared to move to get that experience.

    Next is multiple certifications. The more the better. Bilingual certification in spanish is a big plus. Science and math are big pluses.

    Next is a proven track record of working with kids as a volunteer in extracurriculars, sports or camps.

    The various schools of education and their programs are next to useless but they control the door to certification.

    Your short description of yourself and the circumstances by which you come into teaching will not get you a teaching job in all but the most blighted areas of this country.****
    I'm relatively aware of all of this but in regards to your last two points, are you thus saying that where you obtain your certification of little meaning and that how you obtain it is as well? This would not surprise me at all and.

    ****
    I think i realize and grasp this concept and have been working in other areas to make myself more marketable to schools. I will say though, that i have often considered specifically seeking out these "blighted areas" as i can't help but think that in the long run it would make one a better teacher. Furthermore, the status of our inner city and deeply rural education is troublesome and i can't help, at this young ripe age, but want to help to change as much as any individual can.

    **EDIT**

    Also, it is very likely that i may have a day or two in which i would be available to substitute teach while i am doing the coursework. If, for whatever reason i am not enrolled in school during the fall (which may be possible depending on what school i end up going to) i would be interested in subbing as well.

    Does experience as a substitute have any merit in regards to what we're talking about?
    Last edited by timmyquest; 03-26-08 at 02:26 PM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member referee54's Avatar
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    I have taught for 31 years...my M.Ed. is in Curriculum and Instruction---I never, ever, wanted to be an administrator. BLECH! I have a strong feeling that real educators want to stay in the classroom...

    Anyway, I do not know where you live (maybe I missed it), but many schools in Ohio have what is called a Bachelor's Plus Prgram where you receive your teachng licensure as well as your M.Ed.

    You have to WANT TO TEACH. I look at the last 31 years as this-- I do not go to work everyday---I go to school. I learn along side my students, too. It has been, for the most part, the most enjoyable and the most rewarding part of my life (Next to my family, that is...) We have all had teachers that didn't want to be there, and were going through the mostins, yet they demanded a great deal for the students...that, clearly, is a hypocrisy...the educator should work just as hard as the students.

    sorry about the sermon---will somebody please remove me from this soapbox, please?

    Tim C.
    We don't stop playing because we get old; we get old because we stop playing.[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    Gorntastic! v1k1ng1001's Avatar
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    In my experience the educator works much much harder than the students.

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    Get the MAsters. Go straight thru and get it.
    You get paid more. Get better jobs. Get more respect as an educator.
    "Im an educator, but I dont feel I need to get more education "
    Just doesnt look good when an administrator is going thru a stack of resumes.

    A good teachers work is never done. It comes home with them in many
    different ways. Summers off......? Sometimes. It takes a special person
    to follow thru on a teaching commitment.

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    Banned. timmyquest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by -=Łem in Pa=- View Post
    Get the MAsters. Go straight thru and get it.
    You get paid more. Get better jobs. Get more respect as an educator.
    "Im an educator, but I dont feel I need to get more education "
    Just doesnt look good when an administrator is going thru a stack of resumes.

    A good teachers work is never done. It comes home with them in many
    different ways. Summers off......? Sometimes. It takes a special person
    to follow thru on a teaching commitment.
    Quote Originally Posted by referee54 View Post
    I have taught for 31 years...my M.Ed. is in Curriculum and Instruction---I never, ever, wanted to be an administrator. BLECH! I have a strong feeling that real educators want to stay in the classroom...

    Anyway, I do not know where you live (maybe I missed it), but many schools in Ohio have what is called a Bachelor's Plus Prgram where you receive your teachng licensure as well as your M.Ed.

    You have to WANT TO TEACH. I look at the last 31 years as this-- I do not go to work everyday---I go to school. I learn along side my students, too. It has been, for the most part, the most enjoyable and the most rewarding part of my life (Next to my family, that is...) We have all had teachers that didn't want to be there, and were going through the mostins, yet they demanded a great deal for the students...that, clearly, is a hypocrisy...the educator should work just as hard as the students.

    sorry about the sermon---will somebody please remove me from this soapbox, please?

    Tim C.

    Thanks for the responses. The sermon doesn't bother me. It is, however, one i have heard many times before. Fortunately i think it is one that can't be given enough. I'm not going to pretend to know what i will think in 5, 10, 15 or 31 years, but at this juncture i feel motivated to become an educator and i feel it is for the right reasons.

    Though i do not need to convince any of you, i will state the following.

    As a student myself i hated high school. This is not all that uncommon but what i do feel is that it didn't have to be that way. Certainly the displeasure was caused by many things and the primary cause is within myself. However, i am also certain that the vast majority of my teachers did little to help and in some cases hindered my experience. I know this to be true not because of the "bad ones" but rather because of the good ones. I had a handful of teachers that i can think of from about 7th grade through high school that gave me important life lessons that i try to remember routinely.

    For instance, in 8th grade when i disrupted the class and my history teacher (and then football coach) kicked me out of class and told me to bring into class the next day an absurd amount of written sentences (something to the effect of "I will not do such in such in class anymore" an ungodly amount of times). I didn't do this and as i expected it angered him. But it also hurt him i think and he made that clear to me. Again, a football coach (albeit an 8th grade coach) he held me after class and reamed me so much so that his neighboring colleague poked her head in to make sure everything was alright. He was not out of line and his message was simple and to the point. Essentially, he respected me, sympathized with why i acted the way i did in class (a whole separate issue) and thought that i felt the same of him. His lesson to me that year was more than American history, it was the lesson that "the good people matter". The lesson that many coaches yell on the field "When they stop yelling, they have stopped caring". He reminded me that not only did i let him down, but he made me realize that deep down i was guilty for doing so. It was a lesson about human interaction (and i will be the first to say that it is a lesson i frequently need to revisit).

    I had another teacher in high school whom i respect very much. We enjoyed each other and the class was fun. He did not, however, play favorites. And one day i did something very minor (i mean that, i don't recall specifically what it was but it was very minor indeed). He kicked me out of class. I couldn't believe it, not because i "thought he liked me" but because i didn't feel i deserved it. After he got the class working he came out to talk to me. I plead my case and he agreed that in the grand scheme of things, what i had done was not all that serious. He then told me he felt the class was recently getting out of hand and he needed to make a point. I told him that i felt it was a little unfair for him to use me to make a point to which he responded "You can't allow yourself be the sheep that gets bit by the wolf". His lesson to me was not about algebra (though he was very good at that), it was a lesson about not setting yourself up for failure. A lesson about self determination and acquiring complete control over ones destiny.

    These are just two examples but there are more. My primary factor, then, is not merely to teach the material, which i love, and it is not merely to try and "change peoples lives". That can not be an outright goal i feel. Much like finding "love" i feel that is something that should come natural between two people. However, i do feel that that can't happen given certain, practices you might say. Again, here, i revert to the "bad ones" who honestly were more often than not perfectly good teachers. However, i was as a high school and middle school student rather average. I was neither brilliant nor in need of any special attention. I was also somewhat disruptive, as many of you are likely not surprised to read. What i feel that i experienced from the average teacher was a bit of in-class neglect (which would explain the outbursts). I am certainly not alone. As i said, i think i was pretty average. What this tells me then is that the majority of our students are somewhat neglected. And while a teacher can't dedicate extra time to every single student and can't meet with every student after class or suggest doing as much and can't meet with every parent and can't focus on pushing that "average student" to greatness...it should at the very least be a daily goal.

    As a student i don't think the majority of my teachers felt obligated to push me. Again, it is not their fault, i was a maturing individual and i knew what i had to do to do well. However, at the same time, i slowly lost motivation to try doing as much.

    Again, i don't hold it against most of my former teachers (there were a few who do not belong in a classroom). But i do feel i can look at them in a way that can make me the best and most effective educator that i can be. It isn't my goal to go change people, rather, i want assist in facilitating them to reach and achieve the most that they can and desire to, which ultimately i feel is the job of public education.

    In regards to everything else, i want to continue to learn and i enjoy the learning environment. The thought of going into an office every day to make myself or someone else money makes me ill. I'm not driven by these things at this point. I'm content with what i have. True joy, i feel, comes not from the things that a career in education lacks. Rather, i truly believe that true joy comes from what a good teacher has the ability to do.


    Apologize for the lengthy response...that is my schpeel . My disclaimer is that i'm running on about 3 1/2 hours of sleep.

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    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
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    Great stuff, Timmy !

    My Wife was a punk rokk grrrl from the mean st.s of NYC and
    had enuff with just doing what it took to get by and live a rock n roll lifestyle.
    She hated school as a kid , got in trouble in every school she went to and
    ended up dropping out. She grew up, got tired of working crap jobs
    and went straight thru from GED to MAsters in Child Psych. It was sheer torture and
    it seemed like it was never going to be over but she does OK moneywise
    and enjoys her job. She has a positive impact on students everywhere she works.
    That is what keeps her going. When a troubled kid comes up to her
    at the end of the year and says she will never forget her and gives her a
    toad, (yes, really !) she is moved to tears. People who hated the system and want
    to change it to be "Kid" oriented and not cheepo-yesman-ing administrator oriented
    are what schools/kids need and want. Good luck !

  16. #16
    Banned. timmyquest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by -=Łem in Pa=- View Post
    Great stuff, Timmy !

    My Wife was a punk rokk grrrl from the mean st.s of NYC and
    had enuff with just doing what it took to get by and live a rock n roll lifestyle.
    She hated school as a kid , got in trouble in every school she went to and
    ended up dropping out. She grew up, got tired of working crap jobs
    and went straight thru from GED to MAsters in Child Psych. It was sheer torture and
    it seemed like it was never going to be over but she does OK moneywise
    and enjoys her job. She has a positive impact on students everywhere she works.
    That is what keeps her going. When a troubled kid comes up to her
    at the end of the year and says she will never forget her and gives her a
    toad, (yes, really !) she is moved to tears. People who hated the system and want
    to change it to be "Kid" oriented and not cheepo-yesman-ing administrator oriented
    are what schools/kids need and want.
    Good luck !
    I have recently come to the conclusion that there is a lot of truth in that.

  17. #17
    Senior Member rodrigaj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by timmyquest View Post
    I'm relatively aware of all of this but in regards to your last two points, are you thus saying that where you obtain your certification of little meaning and that how you obtain it is as well? This would not surprise me at all and.

    ****
    I think i realize and grasp this concept and have been working in other areas to make myself more marketable to schools. I will say though, that i have often considered specifically seeking out these "blighted areas" as i can't help but think that in the long run it would make one a better teacher. Furthermore, the status of our inner city and deeply rural education is troublesome and i can't help, at this young ripe age, but want to help to change as much as any individual can.

    **EDIT**

    Also, it is very likely that i may have a day or two in which i would be available to substitute teach while i am doing the coursework. If, for whatever reason i am not enrolled in school during the fall (which may be possible depending on what school i end up going to) i would be interested in subbing as well.

    Does experience as a substitute have any merit in regards to what we're talking about?
    Substitute teaching is a big plus. It shows that you can think on your feet and handle the kids (without knowing their names). Some teachers leave you great plans and others leave you with nothing except a worksheet.

    Working in the "blighted areas"..... Many a young idealist has been crushed by their experiences. Consider this: every day, you will have a 30% absentee rate. Different kids each day. What are you going to do about that? Consider this: Schools on the NCLB "failing" list are given their curriculum. You will be expected to move in a lock step fashion through a curriculum that you have not had any input in. How would you feel about that? Kids bring weapons to school, not to harm anyone, but for self defense on their way to and from schools. etc...

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    Get certified the quickest way possible. If you plan on teaching and are open to relocating for a few years, finding a job will not be a problem. I'd say get the masters, schools are in a position now where they can't be choosy, plus the masters will automatically make you highly qualified (something school districts must now deal with and report on). The "highly qualified" label doesn't mean you're a better teacher, just clears your name up in paperwork and CYA for the district.

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    Banned. timmyquest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodrigaj View Post
    Substitute teaching is a big plus. It shows that you can think on your feet and handle the kids (without knowing their names). Some teachers leave you great plans and others leave you with nothing except a worksheet.

    Working in the "blighted areas"..... Many a young idealist has been crushed by their experiences. Consider this: every day, you will have a 30% absentee rate. Different kids each day. What are you going to do about that? Consider this: Schools on the NCLB "failing" list are given their curriculum. You will be expected to move in a lock step fashion through a curriculum that you have not had any input in. How would you feel about that? Kids bring weapons to school, not to harm anyone, but for self defense on their way to and from schools. etc...

    I acknowledge my young idealist attitude (which was the sarcastic reference to my "ripe old age"). I'm aware of these circumstances and its also my understanding that on a certain level "these sorts of issues" in schools is a leading factor for young teachers for leaving the profession.

    It's a difficult situation, that much is true. While i think there is the possibility for such an experience to rot the motivation i also truly feel that it is wrong for us to ignore these kids. By doing so we are perpetuating the problem. I have developed many personal theories in regards to the problems with our inner cities and i'm convinced that at the root of many of these problems is in the lack of education. I could go off on that tangent for a long time (and i often do in the P&R forum). The only fear that i have is that by the time they get to middle school, given the extreme lives that many of these kids are forced to live through, a lot of them are already lost (keeping mind that many of these "middle school" kids are upwards of 15 and 16 years old).

    I have a friend teaching in Decatur Illinois right now. She loves the challenge and somehow doesn't mind the fact that there is a security guard in each room. It is certainly not for everyone and i'm not sure yet if it's for me. If it is though, i think it can only help me.

  20. #20
    Senior Member rodrigaj's Avatar
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    With regards to the schools of education: Your typical school of education professor is out of touch with what goes on in the classroom. They need to be forced to take on a one year teaching assignment every 6 years. Your best opportunity for learning will be in your student teaching assignment, where you work with those in the trenches.

    With regards to working in the inner city: A security person in each classroom is the last thing you need to worry about. I grew up in the South Bronx. I would never go back. Never.

    With regards to experience: After three years, things will begin to feel manageable. After five years, you will feel like things are under control. After ten years, professional credentials have been earned.

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