Being in the technology program at Saint Joseph’s University definitely has my wheels turning. I always knew that eventually I wanted my master’s degree, and I knew that career-wise it would be a good step, but I never really envisioned just how many doors it could potentially open.
Because I am a Pennsylvania public school employee, when I was first certified, I obtained a “temporary” teaching certificate. There are requirements to keep this certificate current (professional development hours, etc.) for up to six years, during which time you are expected to transition to your “permanent” or Level II certificate. In order to obtain your Level II certification, there is a requirement to complete at least 24 graduate level credits, so it made sense to put in those hours working towards a meaningful degree.
When I first started researching degree programs, I really did not want my master’s to even vaguely resemble anything having to do with “educational leadership.” I felt this was unoriginal, and the obvious “next step” for public school educators. I wanted something different. I wanted something in my specific field. I wanted something that would motivate me to do more than surface-level work to “get by.” That’s when I discovered the Instructional Technology program at SJU.
When I first started the program, I had mixed feelings. I am not sure that my current school district will be my “forever district” and I wasn’t convinced having a master’s degree was going to make me more desirable (due to advanced education) or less desirable (because they would need to pay me because of the advanced degree). I waffled on a decision to finish my degree before or after beginning a possible new job search.
Originally, my plan was to complete everything in the program but the last required course or two and then begin the job search. In this way, I would still be marketable thanks to my teaching experience and my work towards a relevant master’s degree, but I wouldn’t cost employers as much! Considering the current budget situation faced by so many public school districts, I assumed this to be the best course of action. After about a year in the program at SJU, I have completely changed my mind.
I have decided to complete my degree before making any career changes. (You may have noticed…I switched from the use of the word “job” change to “career” change. I have realized that through this program I am now more highly qualified in my field, making me a valuable addition to any school district.)
Not only am I more qualified for my current position, but also I now actually have the opportunity to move into a completely different career field. This was something I had not considered before.
When I graduated college, teaching was going to be my career. I wanted to be a classroom teacher. For thirty years, better or worse, that was the plan. I had no idea that I would find intrigue in the idea of becoming a technology coach, or part of a technology team for a school district, or to help develop curriculum through the use of technology.
Through the ITS program at SJU I discovered a passion for certain skills I have that could be used beyond the classroom. This was not something that I had in my “five-year plan” and I’m really excited to see where it goes.