So I just started in my masters program and let me tell you, it’s intensive. There is so much stuff you have to do that it is not even funny (or completely possible for that matter). I guess first you need a little background. I am getting a teaching credential with a masters in education. In essence how that works is that the first year I work on getting my teaching credential in california, and then the second year I work on getting my masters degree. This may sound all fun and exciting, but let me explain the things that they don’t tell you when you sign up.
One of the simplest things you do is attend school. The only issue is that with ease comes discomfort. You need to be at school by 7:30 at the latest. In fact the earlier you arrive the better. My long term teacher arrives at 6:45 am while classes don’t start until 8:15. Not fun! And then you stay at the school until 12:35 in the afternoon. At which point you don’t really get home until around 1:20. This may not sound too bad. Waking up at 6:00 am everyday, and being done with your work by 1:20 pm. Oh, but wait, there is more!
At around 1:20, I have 15 minutes to make lunch, eat, change clothes and head out to my classes that I take at the university. I have to be at the class by 2:10 pm. At this point I am in class until sometime between 5pm and 8pm. If I have time from here, I go to the gym in order to work off some fat, but I see in the near future not having enough time. So on average I get home around 7:00 pm or 7:30 pm. One quick side note. In order for me to wake up 6:00 am and be efficient, I need 9 hours of sleep, which means going to bed around 9:00 pm. A quite fun dillema is now born. When I get home, I shouldn’t technically eat since you aren’t supposed to eat 2 hours before you sleep, but I eat anyway because I am hungry. I finish cooking and eating around 8:00 pm. This usually gives me enough time to make ready made pasta, if I am lucky.
Now the real fun begins. By 8:00 pm I must now start working on my lecture assignments for university, and my home assignments from the high school. For the high school I have to look at lesson plans and work on the homework assignments that the students must do. I must also make sure that I understand the material that is about to be covered for the next 2 days in class. For my lectures I must work on random assignments. In any given week I have over 150 pages to read, a journal to hand in, a random assignment to turn in, and also somewhere between 1 and 3 essays. This is all per week for the assignments and per day for the lesson plans. And all of this must be done by 9:00 pm so I can get some sleep. Naturally, I don’t ever make it.
So this is what is funny. I am dedicating my life to this program in essence and for what? I plan on being a teacher and this is only the teaching credential side. I am paying $27,000+ to the college in order to go here. I am taking out $20,000+ in loans in order to get an education here, and for what? And with having $20,000+ in loans, I have no idea how I am going to pay it off. As a teacher I will be making somewhere around $42,000 a year. Although this is a lot more than some people, it is not enough to be able to pay off the $20,000+ of debt from my graduate year and also my $20,000+ in debt of my undergraduate. Teachers make almost no money.
So my question is this. When as a math major I could easily secure a job right now and make $80,000 a year, why am I choosing to teach high school? In order to get the credential you have to do so much work you can’t get proper amounts of sleep, or nutrition for that matter, and once you are done, you are so high in debt that you literally can’t pay any of it off. With this sort of way of becoming a teacher it’s funny how we actually have the number of teachers that we do. I feel it is ridiculously hard to get any teachers due to the barriers that have been put into place to stop them from getting through.
I will continue my path as a teacher because I enjoy it so much, but I still can’t help but think what my life would be like if I were to quite and go and work as a math person for a couple of years to make some money. How would my life turn out differently if I chose to stray from my path set so long ago in a bedroom while I was in second grade. This road that I see before me, I will not travel, for it will not take me to the destination I originally planned.
-The Cali Garmo