If you're a teacher looking for new resources for your classroom, or you want to further your career, it may be time to learn more about an online master's program. While starting classes in the fall may be the traditional route, the freedom of the summer makes it the perfect time of year to begin. Here's why you should get a head start on classes and your career this summer.
1. You're Not in the Classroom
If you're a teacher, summer is the ideal time to begin working your master's—especially if you're not working another job or teaching summer school. School's out, which means you have more time for homework and studying. The pace of life slows down, and you can approach your work calmly and with focus. Even if you're working, longer days make for more productivity in the summer.
2. You Can Do It Anytime, Anywhere
I'm jealous of anyone who can complete their master's degree online. When I worked on mine in the 1980s and 90s, that option simply wasn't available. Completing a master's online means you can do your coursework at 2 a.m. or while you're sipping lemonade on your porch in the afternoon. You can still go on vacation—as long as there's internet access—and you'll save time commuting to and from a college campus. That sort of freedom makes an online master's program extremely desirable.
3. You'll Feel Rejuvenated
At the end of the school year, most teachers are burned out and exhausted from classroom teaching. But taking courses toward a master's degree can help revitalize and rejuvenate teachers who want to take their careers to the next level. In a master's program, you'll learn strategies to fix the problems you struggled with during the school year, and you'll be reminded of why you chose a teaching career in the first place. It's also a great way to prepare for your future. One day, you may decide you'd like to take on an administrative position—and earning your master's degree is the first step toward that goal.
Further Reading: A Master's in Education Can Open Doors
4. It's Affordable
Online coursework is almost always less expensive than on-campus learning—and it's not just savings from the lower costs of credits. You can also save a great deal of money on commuting, dining, and childcare costs. Additionally, if you teach at a school like mine, a master's degree is a step up on the pay scale. In the long run, you'll increase your future economic potential when you pursue further education.
5. You'll Have Time to Digest What You Learn
If you're like most teachers I know, you thrive in a learning environment. You despise summer brain drain. Luckily, you can prevent that with a few online master's courses, which can help you learn new concepts, theories, and practices to make you a stronger educator. You'll have more time to digest and think about what you learn, which is a huge plus when taking courses in the summertime.
6. You'll Be Prepared in September
The benefit of working on your master's degree online during the summer extends all the way to your classroom, since most of what you learn in your coursework will be immediately useful come September. Courses focused on creating engaging and meaningful lesson plans, understanding data and technology, and educational leadership can make you a more effective teacher when you return to school in the fall.
Further Reading: How Teachers Make the Most of Summer Break.
How to Prepare for an Online Summer Master's Program
Now that you know why you should get a jump start on a master's program over the summer, here's how you can prepare for the requirements and the coursework that comes with it:
- Choose a program that fits your needs. Most online master's programs have a variety of possible degrees, ranging from educational leadership and special education to learning and technology.
- Apply now, and you could start as soon as this summer. There's no time like the present to set a goal and begin taking steps toward achieving it. Plus, you'll have new ideas and lessons to draw upon once school starts back up in the fall.
- Once you're enrolled, create a time line and set a schedule. If you're not working during the summer or if you have children at home, scheduling is absolutely necessary so time doesn't get away from you. You may deviate from your plan from time to time, but effective time management will ensure that you're successful.
- Find a place at home to do work. That could be an office, the porch, or the backyard, but make sure you have a designated place to work in. With the beautiful, warm weather, you'll need to have a space with limited distractions.
- Tell your family and friends. They'll know you're still available to enjoy the summer fun, but you'll also be working toward a goal, and they need to respect your time.
Working on an online master's program over the summer can be your ticket to a higher salary, further learning, and tools and resources you can apply to your classroom in the fall. Take some time to research online programs and degrees that fit your needs, and you'll be on track to a better future.