I made the tough decision this week to end my master’s program. Since the number of children in my home doubled, my ability to keep up with post-graduate levels of schoolwork dwindled to nothing. I don’t blame the kids in any way, of course. It is a matter of knowing my limitations as well as my priorities.
For those who don’t know, I have been enrolled in a graduate program to earn both a Minnesota teaching license and a master’s degree in teaching since last Fall. Along with the master’s classes, I have taken on a few undergrad intro courses to beef up my content knowledge. Apparently, to teach Social Studies, they require you to know at least some of everything humans do or have done.
When I first began the program, my wife was only just pregnant with our daughter and our son had returned to his normal daily daycare schedule. The routine was simple enough that I could eke out enough brainpower and time to finish work and classes, though not without some stress behind it.
By Spring, our baby was born and our lives filled in more, unimaginable ways. So down the list of priorities school went. That semester, I was taking on two undergrad courses along with my graduate course. I ate an incomplete with the graduate, but managed to pull off good marks with the others. I tried again over Summer to finish what I left hanging, plus did a short class online. The online class again was undergraduate level so it was done simply. The master’s class, not.
And now beginning this Fall semester, with no undergraduate stuff to take for the time being, I kept on with just the master’s. Well, I tried. But the motivation and mental space for it simply weren’t there. For something I’ve wanted to do for so many years now, I now found myself not excited at the prospect of learning more. And for this level of schooling, if I’m not wanting it and not acing it, then it’s not where I ought to be.
This has been hovering in my mind most of the Summer as I was struggling the entire time. It just hit home now with getting the lad off to Kindergarten and then out of Kindergarten, with someone sick at any given time, with the return of full-time work, with so many other daily things.
So I am out for now. Taking time to evaluate what I was trying to achieve, I do still want it. I want the classroom and the students and the enlightenment in my life. But I must also weigh that with the needs of my family, which are always growing.
So while getting the master’s done at the same time as my license is ideal, I think it is better that I aim for one at a time. Getting the license first through a more accelerated program gets me in the door and into a much better pay scale (and a first-year teacher’s income being a big increase for me really says something about what I’m sitting on right now.) Then, once I have that groove, and I have kids a little more grown and autonomous, the move to get a master’s will be right. The circle will then be complete.
In the meantime while I’m working at getting into other programs, I will be looking for gigs to slip me cash on the side. Anyone know of any? I can always act as an editor to spruce/spice up someone’s writing. Or if the big wide world wants to hire a blogger, I’m game for nearly anything.