Does getting your Master's make you more vulnerable?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Jerseygirlteach, Jun 1, 2013.

  1. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Jun 1, 2013

    Here's my situation. I'm a career changer. When my kids were little I went back to school to get elementary ed certified. It took 2 years of night school and student teaching. Then I found out just how many jobs there were in elementary. ;) I ended up going alt. route in SPED - getting a job and going back again at night. That took another 1 1/2 years. All this and my district (as the others around here would) puts me in the first column of the salary guide - BA only. Even though I have many, many credits past getting my BA, they don't count them because they were all towards my certifications. It's eating me up that if I had my Master's right now, I would be earning thousands more to do the same job.

    I would not be starting from scratch to get my Master's. The alt route program that I did earned me more than 1/2 the credits towards it. If I went back to that program, I would only need 5 more classes (15 more credits) and I'd earn my Master's. But...that means going back to school a 3rd time, once again while working full time. I imagine it would take me at least another school year plus a summer. I don't know if that's really fair to my kids. But then again, is it fair to them that mommy could be earning a lot more towards their college fund and she's just not doing it?

    Then there's the other issue. If I earn my Master's, I will be making more money but does making more money make me more vulernable if there are cuts? I've been cut twice before from districts so maybe I have a little PTSD, but the last thing I want is a target on my head. Yes, I could wait until I have tenure but that's another 3 years. I'm 42 years old and if I'm going to go back to school, I want it done now or never.

    What do you think?
     
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  3. redtop

    redtop Companion

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    Jun 1, 2013

    If you are genuinely concerned about that, is there a law that says you have to tell them you have your Masters?

    Could you get it, and then wait a couple of years until you have tenure?

    I'm not sure it will really matter, a Masters doesn't add that much to your salary anyway.
     
  4. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    If you are genuinely concerned about that, is there a law that says you have to tell them you have your Masters?

    In order for it to count towards the salary guide, I must get pre-approval before taking the classes. Therefore, there is no way to do this without them knowing.

    I'm not sure it will really matter, a Masters doesn't add that much to your salary anyway.

    At the step I will be at for next year, the different between BA and MA is over $7,000 in salary. That's a big difference, to me anyway.
     
  5. Newb

    Newb Rookie

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    Jun 1, 2013

    Truthfully, it can. I've been told as much from many different sources. I think that's part of the reason I wasn't rehired this year: our system is facing a major budget shortfall and has been looking to cut salaries in every possible way.

    Another thing to consider is that it doesn't just make you harder to justify hiring. If there are 2 teachers with roughly equal resumes and both have strong interviews, but one is going to make a few thousand more a year, who do you think the district would rather place in that spot? However, the principal will usually want the people they feel are best for the job (or at least the ones they already like personally), so if it's a district where the principals do the final hiring it's not such a big deal.

    That's why many teachers around here will wait until they get tenured, THEN get their Master's. Even people who want to go into administration will often wait until they get tenure before pursuing their PhD.
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jun 1, 2013

    :2cents:

    Jersey girl...take one class at a time...:thumb:
     
  7. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Jun 1, 2013

    How far away are you from tenure?
     
  8. DHE

    DHE Connoisseur

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    Jun 1, 2013

    Jerseygirl,

    Could you get your Masters by taking online courses? I am working on my Masters strictly online. I am getting it through a school that I know is accredited and it is rank #1 for cost in getting Masters. There are students from across the USA enrolled in my courses and I am thoroughly enjoying my classes. I will finish in December and I am very excited.
     
  9. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Jun 1, 2013

    In my opinion, just 5 more classes away is not much at all...(maybe others think differently.)

    I've gotten nicer salaries for having my Masters. And yes, these days, they should offer online classes (hopefully). This is 2013 after all.
     
  10. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Thanks everyone for the feedback.

    I have only worked for my current district for 1 year. I would need 3 more years to get tenure. Some of the classes are online but that still means coming home from work and devoting my time to completing the coursework, time that would otherwise be spent on my family.
     
  11. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Jun 2, 2013

    I think you just answered your question for yourself. Either type of degree, whether it is online or at a brick and mortar university, would require time spent on coursework instead of with your family. That last sentence seems to indicate that the time with family is more important to you.
     
  12. Rhesus

    Rhesus Comrade

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    I've been worrying about this myself. I already had my MA plus a lot of additional grad credits when I started teaching high school thirteen years ago. Because I teach a hard to staff subject, I could pretty much write my own ticket when looking for a job.

    Nowadays, with the economy what it is and school budgets being savaged, I am having trouble. I don't know if it is my MA, but I have lost out on a couple of positions to green beginners. Somewhere out there must be schools who want experience and expertise, and are willing to put their money where their mouth is.
     
  13. MissD59

    MissD59 Comrade

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    Jun 2, 2013

    JerseyGirl, it sounds like you know in your heart what the answer is.

    For those suggesting online masters courses, I'll just add my two cents and say that in my experience, online classes wound up being a heavier workload than attending grad school at a brick and mortar university. I took a couple of classes online for prerequisites for my masters (I went to undergrad out of state), and for my extension in Students With Disabilities, and in my experience the online classes wound up being more busywork and assignments. You're not physically in the classroom, so you're required to post and respond to other people and submit a ton of things. While you don't have to physically be in class, I've found online courses to ironically take up more of my time. Just something to keep in mind :)
     
  14. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Actually, I'm leaning more towards doing it, possibly very slowly as Czacza suggested. But first I'll torture myself with a high degree of mom guilt and worry about job security. I just don't know if I can tolerate having a few classes stand between me and a substantially higher salary.
     
  15. myKroom

    myKroom Habitué

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    Jun 2, 2013

    My opinion, if you want, go get it!

    In most districts in my area it's more of a "last hired, first fired" kind of thing. Having your master's really doesn't affect whether you stay or go. For example, this year we are hiring two new teachers, both with master's degrees. If we make cuts next year (which we probably will) they will be the first to go!

    I do know that having your master's can make it harder to get a job too. I know, it sounds backwards, but some districts don't want to pay the money to have you.
     
  16. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Jun 2, 2013

    I think the whole "having your master's can be a bad thing" is the biggest myth out there. At least in NY- I'm not sure how it is in Jersey- you need your master's after a certain number of years anyway. I've never met anyone who had more trouble getting/keeping a job because they had their master's.
     
  17. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Yes, I do know that it's required in NY. This is not the case in NJ. I have heard people tell me that some districts do not want to pay more for someone with a master's, but I don't know if that's true. When I was hired at my current school, another teacher was hired with me and she has her master's. That's part of what gets to me. She's significantly younger than I am, was hired at the exact same time, does the same job, and makes considerably more money than I do. I don't begrudge her anything, but it gets to me that I could be making more...:unsure:
     
  18. Rhesus

    Rhesus Comrade

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    Jun 2, 2013

    I'm more worried about steps/years than the MA.
     
  19. km83

    km83 New Member

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    Jun 26, 2013

    I am sort of in the same boat but I don't have the family to worry about. I want to get my masters to get paid more and it will only take a year. I am going ahead and doing it and I think you should too because that extra money each year will make a big difference in the years to come!
     

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