Are you a lifelong learner? According to educator, speaker and coach, Dr. Don Martin, one reason people pursue graduate degrees is simply for personal growth. He believes that lifelong learners “have an insatiable desire to add to their knowledge reservoir, challenge themselves academically, and experience what they consider to be among the most rewarding life pursuits: developing the mind. For these individuals, a graduate education offers the opportunity to do all of that and in a structured way that can deliver great personal satisfaction.”
Many experienced teachers — lifelong learners by nature — agree that it is worth the time, effort and money to earn an advanced degree. Aside from the potential for increased financial compensation, a master’s degree in education sharpens their teaching skills and opens professional opportunities not available to those without a graduate degree.
Finish in As Little As One Year’s Time
The Master of Education in Curriculum and Teaching (Non-Licensure) degree program offered by Fitchburg State University in Massachusetts consists of 12 seven-week courses, all offered completely online. There are six terms per calendar year, and by taking two courses each term, you can complete the entire program in one year.
Registration in more than one class is not a requirement of the program, however. You may want to take a little more time to complete the program at a pace that fits your life. In one accelerated plan, you would start the program by taking two courses during each of the two summer terms, then take one course during each of the four school-year terms when you are teaching and finish the last four courses during the following summer terms. This plan allows you to earn your degree in only 15 months.
Earning your master’s degree and teaching full time may seem like two completely different worlds, competing for your time and energy. The benefit of taking coursework in education while you teach, however, is that you can apply what you learn in each graduate study course directly to your classroom instruction. For example:
- As you study data collection and analysis, you will find new ways to strengthen your direct instruction.
- As you study technology in the classroom, you will be introduced to new ways to “expand the walls” of your classroom with new instructional and learning formats.
- As you study diversity and differentiation, you will gain insight into the motivation, learning styles and needs of students currently in your classroom.
- As you study the theory, skills, and advantages of consultation and collaboration, you will find new ways to work with colleagues, administrators and families.
- As you discuss different perspectives in education, you will become more reflective about your own teaching styles, instructional decisions and personal biases.
If you relate the coursework topics to what you are doing in your classroom, you will find that instead of doing double the work, you are working more efficiently and taking advantage of what you learn even before you graduate.
Earning a Master of Education in Curriculum and Teaching will give you more than classroom and instructional tools. With this degree, you will be qualified to apply for positions of leadership. In Massachusetts, for example, many schools and school districts employ Directors of Curriculum and Instruction to coordinate, plan, develop and refine the curriculum in each school, ensuring each student receives a high-quality education. These leadership positions almost always require significant teaching experience and an advanced degree.
Earning a Master of Education in Curriculum and Teaching from Fitchburg State University is possible in as little as twelve months, but the benefits will last your entire teaching career.