Administrative Degree Education In, Alternate Route (nj) Vs. Traditional Education Degree
Q: As some of you know I am considering a mid-career shift into teaching.
I want to thank the many people with whom I have corresponded
privately via email. You all have been a huge help. :)
I live in New Jersey and am very familiar with the Alternate Route
(AR) program. I have two business degrees (Bachelor of Science & MBA)
and would consider the Alternate Route, as well as possibly going back
to school full time for a degree in Education.
What are the pros and cons of each approach, for someone in my
situation? I have some money put away and could "theoretically" afford
to go back to school full time.
I do realize that the AR couldn't come close to providing the depth of
experience and insight that a degree in Education would. I have also
heard that AR teachers are at somewhat of a disadvantage in this
I want to teach in elementary school (K-8), not sure which subject,
possibly technology (I am in the tech field now).
Once I make the switch, I intend to stay in the classroom, but might
consider moving into school administration at some point. Would a
degree in Education help me in that regard?
A:Not even remotely. very few of the classes that you will be required are worth two pieces of poop, but are rather political indoctrination, or worse, pablum for low levels. Why put yourself through the pain? Investigate your state's alternate degree routes. Chances are, you will be required to take a certain number of courses in the ED field in order to get alternate cert. Find out what they are, and just take those ahead of time, before you start teaching. It's usually between 5-7 courses. Also, avoiding the near useless Ed degree will enable you to avoid the priviledge of paying to be a slave (internship). Instead, use the time and full time or part time sub for a while, 6months-1 year. You will not only build contacts, but also get to try out a whole bunch of techniques, as well as master classroom discipline. Also, read a whole lot of books in the field, both theory, method, and politicla field, from a wide variety of view points. Find out where you want to come from, not what the Ed school wants wants you to be. You MAY have to have an elementary ed degree, but maybe not if you only go midle school and up, not atall if you go 9-12, which is where real tech type classes tend to start anyhow. Not really. Usually in oder to move into Admin, you need a Masters in something like Curriculum Development, or Education al Leadership,as well as classroom experience which you will already have had. Also, any additional couses you may have needed to 'make up" for not having an Ed Degree you will likely already have taken for Alternate Cert. I know nothing of the New Jersey requirements, I do have some suggestions based on 40+ years of classrom (elementary through university) work including teaching pre- and inservice courses for teachers. Find the good courses, usually graduate level, that deal with serious educational philosophy to help you build your practice on some serious philosophical grounding. Remember in your MBA you read Maslow, Dresser, et al - you should go to the writings of such educational philosophers as John Dewey, Rousseau, Brousseau (HARD!), Piaget, et al. As you grow as a practioner you need a solid background to build on. I expect that your MBA is sufficient for the administrative needs of school administration and a solid foundation in the deep thinkers in education will complement that. Try to avoid the education "how to" courses, they typically come with little theoretical underpinning and fail to deal with the big ideas of academic content or learning theory. I agree wholeheartedly with Count Jade - avoid an Ed. degree if at all possible.
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