The Author

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I am a high school English teacher, and mother of two charming little ones of my own. I teach in a high poverty urban charter school, while I live in a typical American suburb that has frequently been rated one of the safest cities in the country. It is a paradox I struggle with constantly, but it is my life.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Master of What?

I need to go back to school, probably by next Fall, so I need to get on it with applications and financial aid right away. I don't really want to go back to school right now, but it is the right decision for us for so many reasons.

First of all, I will get a raise when I get a masters degree, so I should be working on that as soon as possible. As a teacher, you don't get random raises; they are all calculated on a schedule (each year it goes up a little bit) and with more education. Second of all, right now, I pay $140.00 a month in student loan payments. This is the most reduced amount that I could get; at one point they were trying to charge me $280 a month. Now, this might not sound like a very big deal, but for me... every month that I pay into this is like throwing money away, because after I have been teaching for 5 years, I can have my student loans forgiven completely because I teach in a low-income school. You can get up to $17,500 forgiven, and I took out less than that originally, so by paying it now, it is like throwing money away. I will be eligible to have them paid off in June 2013. The sooner I go back to school, the sooner I can defer the loans for being a "student."  I might have to take out loans to pay for my Masters degree, but as long as I do it within those first 5 years of teaching, they can be forgiven too! So it needs to happen by next fall, because if my Masters takes me two years, then they will all be within the 5 year point. So, clearly, I must go back to school next fall.

The big question... what do I go back to school to get?

The easiest and obvious selection is CSUNs program for a Masters of Education in Secondary English. It is the most directly applicable, and it would be the easiest for me, because it is a cohort program where you are with a group of teachers for two years taking classes every Thursday night for 4 hours. Easy. It would also probably be the most enjoyable in the way that I always get along well with other English teachers. They are some of my closest friends, probably just because we have so much in common. Plus, when doing my credential program, I was always drawn to the other English teachers, just personality-wise, and those were some awesome times. So, in that program, I would probably make some good friends. I like making new friends. In addition, I would be able to use what I am learning every day.

The other option is going back to school for a Masters in English literature. I would like these classes more than the education classes. While I love teaching, I don't love talking about educational theory, and I don't like the work that comes with it. I sort of hate over-analyzing student test results and stuff. I do love talking about literature, and I would love the chance to take classes and read literature that I haven't explored before. I just love to read, so this could be so much fun. I even love writing about literature. It is my favorite type of writing. Plus, with this degree, I could possibly further my education someday to teach college English. I would love that. I am finding especially from doing the college Bible study group we started, I really like college students.

The final option would be thinking outside the box and looking for something like a Masters in International Studies or something like that. It would apply to where I teach (an international studies academy) and the fact that I am passionate about international education. I could also look outside CSUN and find an online program. However, it would probably be very challenging work. I just don't know if I have the energy for something out of the box, ya know?

What to do...

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