Knowledge is one of life’s greatest gifts as it allows you to explore the world and understand your environment and the people in it. One of the greatest givers of knowledge is a teacher. Being a teacher means committing to a career of learning and growth and consistently working to increase knowledge of both your content and your students.
Many teachers will tell you that they learn just as much from their students as their students learn from them. But as a teacher, you know that in order to continue to make improvements learning must continue even after you’ve had some experience in the classroom.
Earning a master’s degree as a teacher is an ideal opportunity to improve your skills and become the best possible teacher for your students. While pursuing your master’s degree, not only will you take courses to improve your knowledge base, but you will also be able to collaborate with colleagues and learn from one another.
Shifts in education happen often and going back to school for a master’s degree while you are in the field is one of the most efficient ways to learn best practices in education as new research emerges. You can then take what you learn back to your own classroom.
Improve 21st Century Skills
If teachers are honest with themselves, many will say that their students are more tech-savvy than them! New technology can intimidate teachers when they feel like they can’t keep up. But that doesn’t have to always be the case and going back to school to earn a master’s degree can help improve tech skills and keep you fresh.
It can be challenging to stay in the loop about new technology trends as it seems new items are introduced daily. By going back to the classroom yourself you will learn about new tech opportunities for students which will allow you to optimize using technology tools in your classroom instead of shying away from them.
Another technology benefit of earning a master’s is that many graduate programs use a hybrid approach to teach their students. This means you will learn firsthand what it is like to be a virtual student. With the trend in both the workforce and education field continuing to increase with remote work and learning, experiencing this firsthand will allow you to learn what improvements you can make in your own teaching should the opportunity arise to teach virtually.
Become A More Engaging Teacher
As you begin your master’s degree, there will likely be a large focus on content as there should be. But there is also likely to be a considerable amount of the coursework focused on student engagement. Why? Well, as education research has shown student engagement is paramount to the learning process. The more engaged a student is in a lesson, the more knowledge they will retain in the long run.
Take notes as you’re learning in your own courses. What makes one professor more engaging than another? Are there interactive courses that you really enjoy? Maybe one of your teachers uses study games to learn new content. Think about how you can apply what you’re learning back to your own classroom to make your lessons and review sessions more engaging.
Think Like A Student
One of the many benefits of becoming a student again is that you are placing yourself in their shoes. If you have been a teacher for a while, it is easy to get stuck in certain patterns and forget what it feels like to be on the other end of sitting in a classroom.
If you enjoy one of your professors’ classes more than the others, think about why. What makes that class more enjoyable than others? Content may be a big piece of it, but it is also likely that the professor has strong interpersonal skills and connects with his or her students on an individual and personal level. Every strong educator knows that one of the things that matters the most is the relationship between the student and the teacher. Going back to the classroom yourself allows you to reflect on your own teaching skills and think about ways to improve them.
As a teacher, you likely assign group work to your students for different projects and activities in your own classroom. Well now in graduate school you will have the opportunity to collaborate with your own peers on projects and assignments. Connecting and working with others is one of the most crucial skills you can have when it comes to teaching.
Your job as a teacher is to prepare your students for the future and as you collaborate more with your own peers you can bring back new knowledge and skills to help improve the teamwork that happens in your own classroom. As your students continue in their educational careers and eventually prepare to enter the workforce, their experience with collaboration will serve them well in their own future careers.
Going back to the classroom to learn new things yourself when you’re already in the thick of your career can seem daunting at times. But remember there are a lot of benefits to earning your master’s degree besides just a pay raise.
Earning a master’s degree allows you to become a better teacher by applying what you learn during the degree courses to your own students as well as increasing your knowledge base. It can also be an optimal time to switch paths in the education world. If you’ve been a classroom teacher and have thought about something like counseling or administration, this is the time to do it. Whatever your reason may be for going back to get your graduate degree, the best reason of all is that your skillset will broaden which will naturally make you a better teacher for your students.