College is a major time commitment, and many graduate students already have full time jobs when they consider going back to school. This is especially true with education graduates seeking a master’s in the art of teaching or a master’s in education. Most of these students work all day in the classroom, and they don’t have time for a full-time college schedule during the day. The good news is that many education graduate programs realize this, and they generally offer flexible schedules, evening classes and a blend of campus and online classes.
The Advantages of Part Time Education Graduate Programs
Perhaps the most important advantage of doing a part time program is that it allows you to continue to work and earn a full income while going to school. This is a necessity for many graduate students who may still be responsible for undergraduate loans, personal expenses and family obligations. Most graduate students today simply cannot afford to stop working to go to school and are unwilling to take on graduate expenses as debt.
Many employers and schools also prefer their employees to work while going to school, according to an online article. Schools realize that teachers in graduate programs will be learning the newest skills and models, and they may be able to apply these to their classrooms immediately to improve student success.
It is best for teachers to be employed in a district when they enroll in graduate school. Many public school districts will pay a portion of an employed teacher’s tuition as an encouragement for them to attend graduate school. They will have to remain employed in the district in order to receive this financial aid.
When a teacher has their own classroom, they have an opportunity to complete many of their course requirements using it, rather than having to attend another teacher’s classroom. Education classes require many projects be completed using actual students and classroom environments.
The Disadvantages of Part Time Education Graduate Programs
Teachers are already very busy people. Most teachers must take work home in the evenings and over the weekend in order to keep up with their normal job demands. When a graduate school schedule is added onto the top of this, it could be overwhelming. The best way is to ensure that teachers only take as many credits as they can handle, usually only one or two classes at a time. Of course, this means that the program will take longer to complete than normal.
A strapped schedule means that teachers attending graduate school will have very little time for any extra activities. Family time and relationships may suffer because of this.
The Practicum Requirement
A major factor at the end of an educational graduate program is the practicum or student teaching requirement. Most programs require that a teacher complete this requirement outside of their own classroom and under the supervision of another teacher. The good news is that most schools understand this, and they will work with teachers to make the experience as easy as possible. A long-term substitute may be setup for the days the teacher will have to be in their practicum classroom.
Financial and work obligations mean that the majority of education graduate students earn their degree while working as teachers. It could be said that this is the norm rather than the exception. The good news for teachers is that the entire system is setup for this kind of scenario. There are many advantages to doing a part time graduate program, and teachers should strongly consider gaining their degree part time while working.