Middle grades are generally 5th though 9th grade. Educators entering this program usually need to already possess a valid teaching endorsement in a specific academic area, such as Math, English, Science or Social Studies. This program emphasizes the unique developmental challenges of students entering adolescence and the best practices to enable them to be successful learners.
Why did you decide to pursue an M.Ed. degree?
I decided to pursue an M.Ed. degree because I knew I wanted to be a teacher. I had been working with children in some capacity since I was 16 years old. I tried other fields, but I found everything else boring.
What is your primary area of interest within the field of education?
My primary area of interest within the field of education is special education middle school math. I teach replacement math for 6th and 7th grades. Students who cannot perform well in the regular education class come to me.
Please describe the Masters in Middle School Education program you chose to attend
The program I chose is Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Master of Arts in Teaching program. I extended the program to include getting certified in special education as well. Normally, the program is a 36 credit certification and master’s program. However, I finished with over 50 credits because of the extra certification.
Why did you choose the middle school teaching program you attended?
I chose Fairleigh Dickinson University because of a few reasons. First, they did not require the GREs. I did not do as well as I would have liked on the SATs so I decided to only apply to graduate programs that did not require the GREs. I also chose FDU because I did not have to take any extra courses. Other graduate programs wanted me to take more Literature and Science classes, which I was not interested in.
What did you like about the program?
One thing I liked about the program was that I was able to get certified in both regular education and special education. The schedule of classes was also helpful as they were held mostly in the evenings. Therefore, I was able to substitute teach or do other things during the day and then go to class at night.
What did you not like about the program?
I did not like many things about the program. First, I did not feel prepared based on the courses I took. I don’t know if it is because it is a job that a lot of people say you learn while doing or if the courses were just useless, but I did not feel like I get a lot out of the classes. Also, the courses were not challenging. Most of the papers I had to write were opinion based so as long as I wrote well, I received a good grade.
Were you employed while taking classes? If so, how did you manage your time?
I was a substitute teacher while taking classes so I was not working every day. However, when I did work I was very tired in class.
How did you pay for your graduate degree?
I received help with the paying of my degree from my parents.
Did you participate in any research or special projects while in school?
I did not participate in any research or special projects while in school.
What should a student look for when choosing a masters in middle grades education?
I think a student should look for how the schedule of classes is organized, what types of courses the program offers and definitely the reputation of the program. I know a lot of schools had a better known education program than FDU and I always wonder if I would have gotten more out of a program somewhere else.
What do you intend to do with your degree?
I teach special education middle school math, 6th and 7th grade replacement math and I also do some in class support. This year my in class support classes are only math. Last year, ICS was math and science.
Did you make use of your school’s career services office during your job search?
I did not. I did my job search basically by myself through newspapers, school district websites and career fairs.