Should teachers be required to attain masters degrees?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by jim kental, Mar 5, 2009.

  1. jim kental

    jim kental New Member

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    :eek::confused::eek::mad::eek::lol::eek::cool::eek::):eek::(

    Almost a decade ago I completed a masters degree in secondary education. I had been teaching for a while, and was working incredibly hard at helping my students as much as possible. I also was helping my aging father, and trying to basically run my life effectively. I must say that my masters took a lot out of me; although I enjoyed grad school, it recquired an enormous amount of time and effort, and thousands of dollars I really could have used. In short... the masters imposed a lot of time and trouble on my already busy and stressful life.
    I really wouldn't have minded this big inconvenience... if the masters actually contributed to my teaching. But it didn't. Did I learn anything from it? Yes. But what I learned really wasn't applicable to my teaching. Interestingly, the great majority of my colleagues, and my peers at grad school, said the same thing. Occassionaly, I do meet someone who believes that a masters in teaching is well worth it ( for school teachers). But when I question these people, they really can't give a good example, or reason, for their stance. Usually, they will admit that the things they "picked up" in grad school were already learned and discussed in their undergraduate years.
    What I am trying to get across is that a masters degree in teaching should not be required if you are just going to teach elementary or secondary schoolchildren. If a school teacher wants to attain one on his/her own, why not. But it shouldn't be mandatory. As I stated before, a masters in teaching doesn't improve teacher performance.
    There have been many studies in school systems throughout North America, and Europe, and other parts of the world that prove that a masters degree in teaching DOES NOT improve teacher performance at all.
    One should ask, why do so many school districts recquire a masters degree for teaching? I'll tell you straight: Money for professors and their unions, more money for more bureaucrats... who give money to unions and democrats. Do you know that many states actually require funeral directors to obtain college degrees?!?!? For generations, undertakers only took a simple test and apprenticed at a local funeral home for their licicenses... now they must spend years, and thousands of dollars, to dispose of bodies. I can tell you that for generations we have never had any major outbreaks or public catastrophes linked to the funeral industry. Now we must place the burden of a college education on a prospective undertaker? I think society needs to do some house cleaning, starting with our politicians, and working down to absolutely useless regulations.
    In short... teachers should ONLY be required to obtain a B.A., along with the 18 credits in education, and take ONLY one teacher exam ( which covers general knowledge, and teacher skills)! No more than that! If liberal politicians and educrats want to "fix" the problems of the public schools, start by holding students accountable for their behavior and academic performance.
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I think it would be awesome if secondary teachers were required to get masters degrees in their subject areas. I have one in mine.
     
  4. HMM

    HMM Cohort

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    I think that a masters in education for secondary teachers is a waste of time and money. (I don't feel the same for elementary educators since teaching small children has it's own unique problems/issues or if the HS teacher is a special ed teacher). If a HS teacher wants a masters they should get one in their content area.
     
  5. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    I think a master's in a subject area, like cassie suggested, is a wonderful thing, but that really only applies to secondary teachers. I'm an alt cert teacher, I had my masters in mathematics long before I began teaching secondary school.
     
  6. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    It should be up to the individual teacher to decide whether or not they want to pursue a master's degree and what they want to get it in. A teacher doesn't have to get a masters in teaching. I'm getting my in curriculum, instruction, and assessment which will not only help me in the classroom (whether it be in elem, secondary, or college), but it will allow me to pursue other jobs within education.

    We also hope to develop our students into life long learners, so why wouldn't we want to do the same for ourselves by furthering our education?

    And you gave me an idea of what I might want to write my thesis over. Does having a masters degree make you a better teacher?
     
  7. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    This is somethinmg that those of us who visited the USA couldn't understand. In the UK only someone with aspirations to go into management as Deputy Head Teacher and then Headteacher would even consider doing a Masters and even then many people in that position do not have one. In the UK an honours degree is considered enough to teach. Either a degree in Education in elementary school or to teach in High school a degree in your subject followed by a post grad certificate in education which takes a year to do. Then you are a qualified teacher. A masters adds very little to your competance as a teacher IMHO.
     
  8. scholarteacher

    scholarteacher Connoisseur

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    A masters definitely isn't a waste of time. But as for being required, I would say not in elementary. That's because I have seen teachers with a bachelors run circles around some with masters. That being said, I've been teaching 26 years, and do plan to get my masters simply because I need to get current on "best practices", etc. Welcome to our group!
     
  9. Kangaroo22

    Kangaroo22 Virtuoso

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    I think that getting a master's degree should be up to the individual and not state mandated. That being said I have my master's degree in literacy and did learn a lot from it, but I know many people that have theirs in education who found it very similar to their undergraduate degree.
     
  10. Cranmans

    Cranmans Rookie

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    Currently, I am working on my bachelors to teach math/science in a middle school setting. Down the road I would like to get my masters to be a school counselor. For the masters part--having come from a high achieving high school I have learned more and appreciated what I have learned from the teachers, more then in my high educational year(s) and most to all of them only had a bachelors. Yes, masters could help in your area of teaching/knowledge, it could help you move up, but for standard classroom teaching (primary and my secondary) I think it is not necessary. Especially in Texas where teachers have to take a certain number of classes with advanced and take a test to be able to teach that subject. Some districts in Texas recognize masters and PhD by grades--others do not. I think it should be up to the person, but with society changing it may be the norm to have to have a masters to teach...
     
  11. Securis

    Securis Cohort

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    I can think of two things that might be considered beneficial for having a master's degree as an educator.

    In Mississippi, you continue on a higher pay scale with a AA certificate. Whether that can be considered a benefit has a lot to do with that higher salary paying back the cost of the degree over time. I suspect if you are early in your career, that the pay boost is more beneficial than if you wait until later in your career.

    Second, public education is a grand service but if you decide that you want to teach at higher education levels, then a Master's degree is likely mandatory for most entry level instructor positions.

    As for the degree being of practical use in your classroom, I think not. There is a disconnect between theory and reality. You gain much more serviceable knowledge by experiencing a classroom of students than you do by studying about some ideal fantasy of a classroom of students.
     
  12. mom2ohc

    mom2ohc Habitué

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    what an unusual first post!

    I think it is a great idea! I totally benefited from getting my masters degree, I learned a lot of new ideas and techniques, and to boot, I got a raise! I did my masters with a group of teachers so our classes also encouraged cooperation and collaboration, I took the classes with teachers with SO much more experience than I had, so I really learned a lot from the group of teachers I worked with!
     
  13. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    mom2oh-that is my experience right now through my courses. I can't wait to get back into the classroom to put some of the strategies to use! And the pay raise isn't bad either.
     
  14. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    My teaching certificate will expire next year in both CA and MI without my masters. I'm going to have to write and beg for an extension. I don't have the money to go back to school right now, nor would I know what to get it in.

    I think individual professional development is so much better. I can learn more in a week at Space Camp than I can in a semester of 'How to Teach Astronomy'. Besides, I can't find a good program around here-the colleges are weird and they focus on urban education or are super, super expensive.

    I may resort to an online degree.
     
  15. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    I'm getting an MA in Secondary Ed, but this particular program is in teaching secondary English. I've found most of the classes to be extremely interesting and helpful to my practice. Also, I was forced to do action research in my classroom, which I probably would have shied away from, and I found that fascinating.

    And, as has been mentioned, the raise will be most welcome!
     
  16. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    Perhaps tha is another reason why the Masters isn't done in the UK. Getting it makes no difference to your wage or job security!
     
  17. ACardAttack

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    Dont really know how a masters in say math would really help me teach math to kids, its stuff i will never teach them. I am earning my MAT right now and my classes at some point in my degree will include a teaching math and science with technology, teaching math class and another class about teaching math.
     
  18. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    It's absolutely essential, in the teaching of ANY subject, to know "where it's going" before you can effectively teach the topic at hand. I use my abstract algebra and analysis coursework far more often in my teaching (albet not directly) than any other course I ever took, and those are graduate level courses.
     
  19. HMM

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    :agreed:
     
  20. DrivingPigeon

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    From my experience with talking to colleagues, most teachers around here get their masters to move up the payscale. They just find some program that isn't too difficult to get through, and do it so they can make more money.

    I'm sure some things are applied to their classroom, but not necessarily.
     
  21. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    What she said.

    Not that I teach advanced math... but there's very little I know that doesn't show up in my tutoring or teaching sooner or later - mostly sooner - and when I learn more, that shows up too.

    Whether that means master's degrees should be required is another question... but if I ran the world, teachers would spend more time learning content, partly to increase the knowledge base from which they teach and partly to remind them what it's like to be a learner of content in whatever area.
     
  22. ACardAttack

    ACardAttack Companion

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    Well at least here abstract algebra and analysis are all apart of undergraduate requirement for mathematics.
     
  23. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Only in the most basic, watered down, form....I'm talking about the real courses, not the baby version offered in undergad programs.
     
  24. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Substitute in something else that's in the master's sequence in your neck of the woods, then, ACardAttack: the point still stands.
     
  25. ACardAttack

    ACardAttack Companion

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    I dont know how watered down they are, graduate credit is possible for both of those classes
     
  26. Arky

    Arky Comrade

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    A bachelor, masters, or doctrine does not really make a good teacher. I have seen many an educated person not make it in the real world of the classroom.
     
  27. HMM

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    it must be a cross listed class then..intended for advanced undergrad or unprepared graduates.
     
  28. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    So we should stop requiring bachelor's degrees? Good lord.
     
  29. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    I don't think she was saying that. She was just saying that a bachelor degree doesn't necessarily make a good teacher.
     
  30. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    What he said. There are generally two versions of "first year" graduate courses offered...one that's a cross class, offered for both undergrads and grads, and the other which is far more rigorous, but still first year.
     
  31. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I don't really think that having a master's degree should be required, but I do think it's great for any teacher who does have a master's degree. I am working on mine (in teaching-with an emphasis in secondary education), but it's mainly just for the salary increase, to be honest.
     
  32. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Well I think a bachelor's degree definited needs to be required. No, a bachelor's degree doesn't make you a good teacher, but you need to have a solid educational background first, and then work on becoming a good teacher.
     
  33. Kat53

    Kat53 Devotee

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    My masters is in reading. My undergrad courses barely skimmed over the essentials in reading, but I also think that was partly due to an old education program that seriously needed to be updated.
    In regards to elementary teachers, I think all could benefit from grad reading courses. (But not mandated) My grad courses had separate classes for linguistics, diagnosing reading problems, etc. We were able to really get in depth in those classes. I really learned a lot.
    Does your masters make you a better teacher than everyone else? No. But does it give you the possibility to be a better teacher than you were before? Sure-education is all about possibilities!
     
  34. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    The masters degree is required in Kentucky. Half of the work must be completed within five years and the remaining hours within ten. I finished mine my second year teaching (last year) and it was and is certainly useful. I'll have my Rank I finished in May and it too has been very beneficial in the classroom.
     
  35. sciencewrestler

    sciencewrestler Rookie

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    I dunno - to me, teaching skills are kind of an innate ability and I don't think hours upon hours of education classes can really substitute for that.

    A masters in content area is O.K. with me, but have to agree with some of the other members who said much of that would be irrelevant at the secondary level. Though I do realize to teach something effectively one needs to be educated X amount beyond the level they are teaching.

    To sum up by using a sports analogy, I've been around several coaches who as athletes were stars in their chosen sport, but as coaches they stunk. And I've been around coaches who were at best mediocre on the field or on the mat, but had no problems whatsover teaching skills to others and motivating them emotionally-speaking.
     
  36. Kat53

    Kat53 Devotee

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    If teaching skills are innate, does a new teacher who does not have the 'natural' ability have any hope to get better? Of course they do! But education is only part of it. Practical application, experience, self analysis,and a good mentor/coach can help expand teaching abilities.
     
  37. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    science-reading your post reminded me of Mike Leach, the coach for Texas Tech's football team. He NEVER played football, but has one of the best college football teams.
     
  38. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Kentucky requires a masters.

    I got a subject area masters. I did mine early in my career so I wouldn't have to worry about having things come up to keep me from getting it within the required time frame. I'm partially through my second masters now.
     
  39. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I am currently working on my master's in teaching (I know, I've already mentioned that here) where my research area is classroom climate. I believe that the indepth study will be especially helpful because it involves looking at studies from the personal investment and goal achievement theories. I think the more knowledge we have, the better, but, like I said earlier, I don't think a master's degree should be required to teach.
     
  40. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Ah, but was there ever a successful coach who didn't possess a deep and specific knowledge of the structure and rules of the game and of what it takes to develop skills in it?
     
  41. AMK

    AMK Aficionado

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    I am pretty sure NY requires that you get a Masters within your 1st four years.
     

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