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Now I’m off to the beach for a week. I hope you are sitting on some sand somewhere, even if it’s just in your mind. Now I understand why teachers need the summer off. Until you do it, you don’t know how hard teachers work, and how teachers keep pushing and pushing beyond exhaustion. We need some beach time to recuperate. We need some sleep.

When my kids came home from college after final exams they hit the bed and slept for two or three days, getting up for meals and showers. I feel kind-of the same way. I did get three nights of 8 hours this week, and that felt great.

So what did I do my first full day off from school? I spent a couple of hours looking at graduate programs. I finished my master’s degree, and celebrated that accomplishment. Thanks for your notes of congratulation. But as an older new teacher I don’t have that much time to waste. So I’m thinking of joining an administrator’s certification program. I don’t think I want to be a principal, or even a VP, but surely that certification would give me more options. If I am 47 now, will I want to be in the classroom for the rest of my working life? Or will I want to go in other directions?

I can also continue at the College of Notre Dame by entering the Ph.D. program. Perhaps you can tell me, if you’ve done it, if earning the doctorate was worth it. This program is seven years’ long, designed to be done while working full-time. Seven Years!!! But after all, if I don’t do it, I’ll still be 54 seven years from now (and without the Ph.D).

I’ll spend beach time thinking about this next step. Or maybe I’ll just table it in my mind until I get back. I’ll sleep on it.

23 Comments

Congratulations on your Masters!
I began my Ed Leadership program at 44 years of age, and found a fellow student who was 54 to study with. We were surrounded by "bubblegum poppers"; teachers just barely out of college thinking that being an administrator would be a big pay raise. So few of them took their studies seriously, or realized that to be an administrator meant "Leadership" not just more money.
I bet half of them never finished the program, and some of us "homeroom mothers" are APs and Principals now.
If one is not called to be an administrator, then it is futile. It is not about the money.
You will work twice the hours as your teachers. You will feel ten times the stress and responsibility for every child's safety and learning. You will be abused by parents and teachers, and smile while it is happening. Now, 46 years old, and finishing my first year as AP, I know I am where I am called to be, but, vainly, it stings when teachers I supervise make more money than I do, and make comments about me making the "big bucks".
Do the math. That AP salary has to be divided by twelve months, not ten. It can never be about the money.
Good luck!
PS. I LOVE what I do!

Congratulations on finishing your master's. It's true that you'll be aging, whether or not you're in further grad study. I'd suggest you take a look at your work environment. If you like the interaction with students, stay in the classroom. I'm happily teaching two summer '06 classes (basic writing at community college; a freshman comp course at university) and will get my 2nd master's in December '06, two days after my 76th birthday. I got my teaching certificate when I was 42 and my MBA when I was 57.

New master's coming will be in training & development, instructional design concentration.
LOVE it! I'm using all my new-learned theories on the kids, and it's working well!

So--what do you really want? If you like going to school, consider taking some online courses (to avoid transportation hassles and to have more control over your time) in online teaching methods. You can always segue into virtual campus stuff.

My thinking re nix on Ph.D. is that, depending on your field, there may be too many--far too many--for the available jobs out there, and you may price yourself out of the K-12 public school system. However, the training field--which is concentrated mainly on corporate training strategies and performance improvement--gives you the flexibility to move into consulting or part-time corporate training or global training...which could be a terrific turn-on if you get bored with traditional ed.

Good luck, whatever your decision! Please let us know what you decide.

jan
[email protected]
adjunct in composition at Harper College, and in psychology and composition at Roosevelt University. Both are Chicago suburban campuses.

My comments above on 6/22/06 are attributed to a mysterious Dee. I have no idea why! But they are there, and they come from Jan Bone in Illinois.

Hanne, Congratulations!!! I just finished my masters and administrative credential last month. You expressed many of the feelings I have had since school let out. Just yesterday a friend asked me if I was going to go for the doctorate. I said no, I am 53 and like you I began teaching when I was 43. I am debating about the doctorate but I don't think that I would benefit from the money spent on the program. However, you are young enough that you would finish the program and still have ten to 15 years left to work. But most importantly, if you are not interested in working as an administrator....why do it?

Dee makes a valid point, teachers, students and parents are confronting you daily with a variety of problems. On the other hand, are you looking at positions at the district or state level? Some of those will require the advanced degree and if that is where you want to go.....then, by all means continue with your education!

The program that you are talking about seems VERY long. Surely, there is one that is shorter that would get you the same result. Investigate and Think your options carefully! Read Jan's comments twice, she makes some valid points. I have been seriously considering teaching at the college level...it is a different type of challenge. (I bet they do their homework...not like my eighth graders...) : )

Seriously, there are many options out there in education take time to investigate some of them. This fall I am going to be a consulting teacher. I am looking forward to helping new teachers in the field. As for working in administration...I think that I might start working on that next summer, time will tell.

Right now, it really sounds like you need to do what I am doing. This summer is for relaxing and completing all of the things that I have let slide for the last two years. Time at the beach, mountains, reading (something other than a text book), working on new curriculum for my classes in the fall, fishing....you get the idea. It is time to breathe again. At least until the end of August! Take time to recharge, you will be glad you did!

Deb
[email protected]


Hello, It seems there are a lot of us in the same situation. I just received information from Waldens and Pheonix online. The time and price is not worth it for me. I am 53 and just started teaching in the last 10 years but only have one year toward retirement. I have 2 Master's degrees, one in school administration. But I do not want that job, I love the classroom too. I would however enjoy teaching teachers so I am not sure what I need to do next. Good luck and enjoy your summer.

CONGRATULATIONS on achieving your Master's degree. I'm currently still working on mine, and you're right, it's not easy. I'm a science teacher now teaching part-time in a beautiful elementary school district in California. I'm 41 years old and no longer feel like the new kid on the block -- making the transition from teaching 8th and 9th graders to teaching K-6. I think the doctoral option is an excellent idea and one I have considered myself. Good Luck with your navigations of the future.

CONGRATULATIONS on achieving your Master's degree. I'm currently still working on mine, and you're right, it's not easy. I'm a science teacher now teaching part-time in a beautiful elementary school district in California. I'm 41 years old and no longer feel like the new kid on the block -- making the transition from teaching 8th and 9th graders to teaching K-6. I think the doctoral option is an excellent idea and one I have considered myself. Good Luck with your navigations of the future.

Way to go. I'm in the Level II portion of my Special Ed Credential working towards my Master's. In 3 weeks I'll be 48 and have only been teaching for 2 years as well. It's the best thing I could have ever done for myself and my husband. I too have thought about do I want to be in a classroom the rest of my working life and after being in administrative positions in the past in the medical field, I really enjoy not having all that responsibility. I may consider in the future counseling or something, but teaching is really where I love being. I think I appreciate it more simply because I'm older and hopefully wiser. Being around high schoolers is such a blast for me that I feel stimulated daily. This summer I decided to really do some things for myself and relaxing is one of them. In between I also want to be more prepared than last year and do some fun activities. I'm also the new Special Ed Area Chairperson which will prove to have it's own challenges. Overall, enjoy the time you have and don't feel pressured to fill it all up with educational things. Read some interesting books and ponder your next journey into the life of an educator. Enjoy the beach or wherever else you may lay and find peace and tranquility.

Way to go, Hanne!
I know I've congratulated you before, but you deserve the recognition. I think that getting my Masters was an amazing feeling of accomplishment for me, so I know how you feel. I'm so impressed that you want to go further with your education. Seven years to a Ph.D is more than I could consider at 53. But I do believe is the need to be continually learning and growing. I'm going to continue my teaching time with in-service courses and looking for programs to continue expanding my knowledge base of reaching all the students I can.
The best of luck and enjoy your beach time. Before you know it, we'll be calling you Dr. Denny!

Congratulations on earning your master's degree!

There are a variety of opportunities for teachers in the classroom, administration, as consultants, instructors or presenters in teacher preparation programs, specialists and grant writers with expertise in education funding. If you are considering teaching at the university level, you may want to think about a doctoral program.

Oakland University offers a distance learning Ed.S. degree in School Administration, with research and mentorship in an area that is of interest to the student. A specialists degree may be a post-master's option for you without the time and commitment of a PhD program.

Good luck with your decision.

Congratulations! I will be beginning my 20th year of teaching. Each year ends reflecting on what I could have done better. I know I am a good teacher, but how can I be better? I am going to be working on National Boards this year. My fellow teachers are astounded that I want to do it at this point. "You only have 6 years to retirement, why now?" they ask. Like you, I am always looking for ways to be a better teacher, to do more for my students, and to leave where I've been a better place. I had been in the same school system for 18 years. Change is scary for me. Last summer I took a big plunge and changed school systems. I am loving my new environment, even though I lost my tenure. This has energized me again! I will not retire in 6 years. I am 48 and have too much to do! So even though National Boards is a lot of work, I am up to the challenge! This is the next level for me. Good luck in whatever you decide to do!

I have been reading, with great interest, your experiences over the past year or so, and this time I felt compelled to write. COngratulations on finishing your master's! I too finished my last one while teaching full time and I am also a single mom, so I appreciate the dedication you put in.
If you are serious about a doctorate, I suggest a different program than the seven-year one you have considered. Try Nova Southeast University - it is a two-year program and a combination of online and local cohort work. I am finishing my EdD now and I am very pleased with the program. There are many other options out there as well - do a lot of research before you take the step. As for the worth...you will never regain the financial expense of any degree. It is more an integrity, intrinsinc issue, I believe. I went through the program for myself, not because I want to be an admin. If you are going to climb the ladder, however, it looks very, very good to have that among your accomplishments.
Best of luck to you!
dusty

Hanne, I wish I could send these messages to my sisters. I think they are so afraid of "starting over". I was 47 when I became certified and I'm now 54 with plans to be certified in "Teaching Writing". I do not plan on stopping there...just like you said: "Where will I be in 10 years with or without additional education? Going back to school was the best thing I ever did for myself. I was never a good student, and I tell my students that there is no such thing as a "poor student", just someone who needs more confidence. Little did I know I'd become a teacher. Wish I knew I could do it a long time ago! Good luck to you!

Congratulstion! I am finishing my Master's program and hope to complete it next June. I am a career changer. And I enjoy each day in the classroom as an I.A.in special education.

Thanks for sharing your recent academic accomplishments with your readers and for soliciting input from them on the possibility of pursuing a doctorate. I began teaching high school French at age 36 and completed my Master's Degree in Education 10 years later. I taught for another 3 years before I realized how much I missed the intellectual stimulation involved in being a student myself. I enrolled in a doctorate program at Hamline University in St. Paul, MN in 2001 and graduated in 2005. The entire experience was immensely satisfying and the Ed.D in Education opened up new academic avenues. I am now teaching teacher preparation classes at a local community college. I love it! I will be 53 this September and I can honestly say that the decision to invest both time and money has paid off professionally and personally. Best of luck in whatever you decide! Keep us posted!

Thanks for sharing your recent academic accomplishments with your readers and for soliciting input from them on the possibility of pursuing a doctorate. I began teaching high school French at age 36 and completed my Master's Degree in Education 10 years later. I taught for another 3 years before I realized how much I missed the intellectual stimulation involved in being a student myself. I enrolled in a doctorate program at Hamline University in St. Paul, MN in 2001 and graduated in 2005. The entire experience was immensely satisfying and the Ed.D in Education opened up new academic avenues. I am now teaching teacher preparation classes at a local community college. I love it! I will be 53 this September and I can honestly say that the decision to invest both time and money has paid off professionally and personally. Best of luck in whatever you decide! Keep us posted!

Congratulations on earning your Master's degree. With the help of a very supportive husband, I went back to school and earned my PhD in 1995. At the time, I had no desire to leave the classroom - my desire for the 'terminal degree' (sounds scary,doesn't it?) was it's own motivator, because the pay differential between a doctorate and masters was (is) too small to have a motivating impact. I stayed in the classroom for 6 more years before accepting a position as a school's curriculum coordinator - a position I LOVE! I'm also an adjunct professor at a local college, so I get the best of both worlds. I teach both teacher-prep (alternate route) candidates and master's degree candidates. However, these students are no better than my former 7th and 8th grade students at doing their homework - I just don't have to make as many parent phone calls about it!

My suggestion - examine what you want to achieve for yourself and go for it. Like you said, you'll still get one year older each birthday whether you aim for your goals or not.

Good luck in whatever path you choose.

Congratulations on earning your Master's degree. I, too, just graduated with a Master's degree at 49 years old. I will be starting my third year of teaching in August. And like you, I am now focusing my attention on improving my practice, which is very exciting.

I am already thinking about my next goal--Ph.D or becoming a reading specialist, which has become a real interest of mine. For this year, however, my daughter, my class, and getting back into shape after sitting in front of a computer for far too long are where I will put my energy. I'll be interested to hear where life will lead you next!

Thank you for everyone that has been there and done that and is willing to share it with the rest of us. I am 49, a newly certified elementary teacher, and a M.Ed. student. I believe it is an honor and a responsibility for us "career changers" to made a positive influence on the lives of others.

Hello life-long learners. I also just finished my M.Ed. (at 50) and an alternative teacher certification program (now 51). I know I will be missing school shortly so am interested in online Ph.D. programs as Dusty suggested. I am a 12 month college program coordinator who makes less than the local teachers, but I love my job. I am helping adults get their High School diploma and enroll in college. I feel like I am making a difference in a small way. Thank you all for sharing your experiences - I now know I am not alone.

Congrats on your Masters Degree! I also got mine in May of this year! I am 52 & starting my 3 year of teaching in a certified program...I love it! I am the art teacher in a Title 1 school that has a large population of special needs students...a large deaf-ed program,4 autistic classes, Physically Impaired classes and all the rest...so, about 1/3 of my students are labeled as "Special Needs" and I love it and them so much! I have my BA in Fine Arts & since we have 5 generations of teachers in our family, tried my best not to go that way...but, God ALWAYS put me in some form of teaching position...from pre-school to Jr.college to senior citizens...I do love to share my knowledge and show people of all ages that anything is possible if they try ( & trust in God!)hard enough! We are all artists ,we just have different mediums we express it through...any way after almost 10 years of illness ( 9 heart attacks/11 strokes) I re-entered the working force as a Law Clerk...loved the research, but just not creative enough of a job for me...so, I started back to school in an Alternative Certification program, began teaching and have now finished my Masters Degree in Education...I would love to work on a PhD, but I really love the little folks & have no desire to teach college fulltime or take on my county fine arts director's job...so, I don't see doing it..I got accepted in the program...but, I think I'm going to get more involved in where I am at...I want to take sign-language classes and update my Spanish...so, I have traveled all over the country the month of June and now have July to get caught up around here and prepare to start back to school the 1st week of August...

I consider myself a second time around teacher. I taught right out of college for 4 years, started a family and took time off from teaching. I worked part-time as a children's librarian at our local public library, and then worked in an elementary school office which was less demanding than teaching with small children at home. I looked around the school and decided I really wanted to return to teaching because I missed working with the students. That was 12 years ago. I had a life-time license, but took 30 grad. credits in subjects that I could use and that interested me. I had a master's equivalency in my district, but in the past 18 months I completed a formal master's in educational technology program. I handed in my digital portfolio last week. I am 53. I am excited about the school year starting so I can implement even more of my ideas and projects from my master's program.
My daughter is an elementary teacher with special ed. certification, and right now she is teaching in Bahrain for 2 years. She left last August and trust me, putting her on the plane was tough. But, I am so proud of her, and pleased that we were able to give her the opportunity for her education, and the support emotionally for her to become the person she is.
Good luck with the tickets (that sounds like something that would happen to my daughter) and be proud of your daughter's adventure. Email and Skype keep us connected!

Two young beginning teachers being killed by a teenage motorist was the compelling act that made my decision to return to college. I was afraid I would be too old to contribute very long to the field, but their death made me realize none of us know whether it will be one year or 31 years. I celebrated my 40th birthday by buying pizza for my 4 kids, and then studying for my Master's oral exam. That was 20 years ago. I've recently completed my Administrative certificate requirements. Go for it!!

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