Deciding whether a Master of Arts in Teaching is right for you

Will a piece of paper make you a better teacher? Can going to class help you make the classes you teach better? Do you love the profession of teaching?

These are only a few of the many questions that you might ask yourself as you consider going to graduate school for a MA in Teaching. Let’s discuss this issue by first outlining some of the basics of MA in Teaching programs. After that, we can highlight some of the considerations that must be pondered as you decide whether you want to go down this road.

MA in Teaching Programs

In order to be accepted to a good MA in Teaching program, you need to have some background in teaching, of course. Thus, it helps if you have a BA in an education field. If you, like me, have a BA in something else, but have a few years of professional teaching experience, that will help.

Another requirement of most good MA in Teaching Programs is that you have good grades from your undergraduate work. These grades act as a measurable manifestation of your work and dedication.

While MA in Teaching program vary all over the U.S.A. and the world, there are a few commonalities that it can be useful to be aware of. The first commonplace item is that there will be coursework required. This coursework might be as little as fourteen credits (or units) or as many as twenty. This fact, therefore, brings up the question of whether you want to attend all of these classes and be responsible for reading and homework again.

Another common requirement for Teaching MA programs is that there is usually an observation and a practicum module. The observation often must be reported on in detail. The same goes for the practicum; you will need to prepare detailed lesson plans and state strategies for reaching objectives in your lesson plan. Often these modules have a professional teacher working beside the MA candidate, which can be both helpful and a bore.

So there are the issues specific to Teaching MA programs. Here are some other issues to consider:

Teaching MA’s are a step beyond the simple certification process. Thus, having a MA will often open more doors in the education field for you. If you just intend to teach, however, an MA might not be right for you, while a certification may be more your size.

Once you are in an MA program, you can pretty well outline your life. An MA in Teaching will get you into classrooms, can eventually help you into administration and can also lead to a Ph.D. program. So if you have doubts about whether education is your field of dreams, you may want to think about it some more before applying.

There is a small amount of scholarship money available for these graduate programs. There is more for these programs than for other liberal arts programs, but the money is much less than what is available for science and mathematics. So plan on needing to finance your education on your own.

Even with an MA in Teaching, you will not get paid very much. Thus, your quality of life might not be what you desire and you may have some difficulty paying off student loans. For example, I met a teacher who was fifty-three. The week before I met him, he had just finished paying off his student loans.

All in all, an MA in Teaching is not for everyone. For those teachers who feel they have a calling and can and want to make a difference in young people’s lives, an MA in Teaching may be the right choice. If, however, you do not feel like teaching is the field you want to devote your life to, don’t waste your time on the MA; go get an MBA.