I’m not sure how I feel about this blog and the subsequent comments that I read in today’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution. I definitely agree that to be a good teacher, it is not REQUIRED that you have a higher degree. It is important that you know your subject matter, and that you have the true desire to educate students and push them to be the best that they can be.
I was definitely upset that I saw a lot of comments that hinted that Education degrees are useless. While I have my undergraduate degree in Sociology and African-American Studies, I find it very useful that my Masters of Education will be in Social Studies Education. Not only will my Masters degree give me my certification to teach in the state of Georgia, I am given the opportunity to take courses that help you understand the Methodology of Social Studies Education, or the ideas behind curriculum and planning for classes. Additionally, we are encouraged to take courses such as Teaching US History, Teaching Geography, Teaching Economics, and courses in Special Education to fulfill the requirements for graduation.
I felt that it was very important for me to continue and get my Masters in Education, so that I could sharpen my craft of being a teacher. While there are aspects of the curriculum that seem very theoretical, there are also aspects that are very realistic and applicable. It bothers me that teachers are criticized for wanting to get higher degrees and higher pay. Why shouldn’t practice what they preach and continue with their learning in a formal setting? (We all know that learning also takes place in an informal setting). And why shouldn’t teachers want to get paid more? What if we as a society placed our priorities in the right place and truly paid teachers what they deserve for the work that they do?
I don’t know anyone who’s into teaching for the pay. And I also don’t know anyone who’s gone on to pursue a higher degree SOLELY for the reason of making more money. The people that I know are truly interested in making a difference in the lives of young people, and they feel that one way that they can be better prepared to do that is by having a Masters or a Ph.D. And I’ve had phenomenal teachers who hadn’t gone on to get whatever degree that would have gotten them more money. I’ve had phenomenal teachers who had gone on to get whatever degree that got them more money. Their advanced degree might have said that they had obtained more knowledge, but their passion and desire to help students was what made the difference in the classroom.
Whew. All that said, what do you all think? How educated should our teachers be? Does a teacher having that Masters or that Ph.D make a difference? Leave some comments…