I have mentioned it a couple of times on twitter, but I am in the process of applying to go back to school for my Master's. I am planning on getting my degree in English.
This is different than the plan I had laid out for myself a few years ago. I always thought that I would graduate college and be one of the lucky ones with a job right out of school. The longer time goes from the date I graduated college, the more I wonder if someone up there is trying to tell me sometimes. Perhaps I am not meant to work in a secondary environment. Don't get me wrong, I love it. But there are other things lingering in my mind...
Had I gotten that teaching job right out of school back in 2008, I would have eventually gone back for my Master's in Education, since that is more the norm for teachers returning to school. There is nothing wrong with that, and I was never as IN to my literature as I have been in the last year or so.
The more I think about it, and the longer I am out of school, I am finding that I really want to focus more on the literature end of things. I was reading with my sophomores today from The Crucible and my class was getting really into discussing it. It clicked again in my mind-that I would prefer to just talk about the literature end of English. It is what I love. I like teaching writing and grammar too, but talking about books? It is really my passion.
I have been thinking about this for awhile and have started the process. I have just over a month to get all the pieces in to the university I am applying to, then, I'm crossing my fingers tight. I really, really want to go back to school.
Right now I am waiting to hear back from the professors I contacted for letters of recommendation. However, two of the professors I contacted I haven't heard from. I am getting a little antsy, so for those of you who have gone through this process, who else did you ask to write letters? The university says, "Please submit three letters of recommendation, preferably from professors who have taught you in literature courses. These letters should speak to your record and potential in literary studies." My interpretation is that it doesn't HAVE to be a professor, but who should I ask in case I need a back up?
Anyway, I am continuing on with the process and will let you all know what eventually happens!
I'll write you a recommendation letter on the strength of your blog! I'm not sure they'd take it, but they really should! Hehe, good luck with the whole process though! I really wanted to do a masters but I couldn't afford it... maybe in a few years when I actually have some money :).ReplyDelete
I hope everything goes well while you apply for graduate school! I will probably end up getting a Master's degree someday, but I want a break after I graduate to decide what it would be. Most likely not English though. I wish I had advice for you, but obviously I do not.ReplyDelete
I actually had a couple teachers in high school who had Masters in their subjects rather than in Education, so who knows how this might work out for you?ReplyDelete
As far as the references, the University wants to be sure that you have what it takes to complete their program successfully--thus the preference for former profs. When I was applying to grad school, I was still finishing my undergrad, so it was easy to get a hold of professors (and remind them I needed a reference), but I also had my boss at the time--I was working in my field during breaks--write a letter for me. I don't know quite how your sub assignments work, but is there maybe someone connected with that who could help you?
Based on your dedication to your reading project, I'm sure you will handle grad school just fine. Good luck with the application process! (And I might just be a little jealous--I would love to go back to school, if I could only justify i!)
Good luck with all of this! It's so exciting to be starting a new learning experience - even though the process is painful in the beginning. I keep toying with going back to get my doctorate, but then I wimp out. :)ReplyDelete
Possibly a colleague in the school where you are now teaching? Is there someone you've gotten to know, maybe someone who is a mentor to you at the school? Good luck with your application. I love studying literature, so I chose to get a Master's Degree in English rather than in English Education. I still went into teaching (eventually) and I had to go on to take some Education courses. But the Master's degree in my content area ended up making me "Highly Qualified" so it ended up being useful for my teaching career. I think you should pursue what you love, and maybe even go all the way to the PhD and teach at the college level.ReplyDelete
Good luck and definitely let us know how it goes!! I don't have a clue about anything in grad school. I've not even finished undergrad school yet, sigh...ReplyDelete
Perhaps a letter from one of your students may work... if not, I'm sure anyone of us, your readers, would gladly write one :DReplyDelete
Lots of luck, I would LOVE to have you as professor, your classes sound like fun!
I don't know what you did in college, but I'm part of Honor societies and programs. A lot of the professors involved in those would be more than happy to write letters. Not to mention your advisors and such. (I go to a very small college, so I'm used to knowing more folks in my English Department. Don't know if it's the same for you.)ReplyDelete
Good luck, :)
I keep debating going back to school for a masters in English literature. I studied English for undergrad but I was dead set against teaching -- so I focused in Editing. I worked for about 5 years in various jobs as a copyeditor and my I"m already burned out of that. Thankfully, I don't need to work outside the home right now, but I wish there was a job for English Lit majors other than teaching. Any ideas? I haven't decided yet what I want to be "when I grow up".ReplyDelete
I used two professors and one professional reference (boss) - the professional reference could still speak to my work ethic and time management skills, which are immeasurably important in graduate school - it also demonstrates that there are people who like to work with you, which will be in the back of your application reviewers mind, since most graduate students seek some kind of teaching or research assistantship (as I did).ReplyDelete
I earned my Master's in English w/a Literature (American) emphasis in 2008 - the program was intense, difficult, stressful, and the best experience of my life.
Two of my letters were from professors, but one of mine was from a boss who had seen me work in a school and knew not only my work ethic, but my knowledge of English and my teaching abilities. I got accepted to two out of three schools. The one I didn't get accepted to was my pie in the sky though, so I don't think it was the letters that did it.ReplyDelete
Good luck with the application process Allie! I've been debating if I should go back for a Master's. I was an English major, but I'm not sure if I would want to continue with it. I have been kicking around the idea of Library Science. It's been 15 years since I graduated and many of my professors would probably not remember me or have left, so I am thinking that I might have to enter as a non-matric student at first, do well, and then apply as a matric student before I achieve 12 credits. Sigh. Decisions, decisions.ReplyDelete
Anyway, I'm so excited for you. Since you love Lit so much, it's he perfect path!
I loved graduate school...sort of. Like most people with graduate degrees in the humanities will say, there is something really wonderful about devoting yourself to the study of literature, and some other less-appealing aspects of the process itself.ReplyDelete
If you are looking for a specific person to ask about recommendations, I would contact the administrative assistant to the dean of the department where you are applying. They have all the info, and you can usually find his or her info on the department's website.
That's awesome. Sometimes it just takes a little time to figure out what you want to do. Good luck with this latest turn in your journey!ReplyDelete
I think this is fantastic news, Allie! Like I've said before, even though I don't work in a field where I use my Masters in English, I don't regret it ever. I loved my experience and if I didn't have to do a disseration would probably have continued on with a PhD. Gets addicting!ReplyDelete
In terms of recommendations, how have you tried contacting your professors? Maybe calling (even though the thought of that scares me!). It's been several years for me but I'm not sure I used all professors--definitely two. Do you have a tenured collegue at the school where you teach who you might be able to ask?
Do you work with a Master Teacher at all? Or anyone on continuing education for your credential? If so, you could ask them. When I applied for my Master's Program (which I later dropped out of), I had to contact professors who had taught me 15 years ago. Luckily, they were still willing to write letters, even though I'm sure they didn't remember me. One wanted to talk over lunch before he wrote the letter, and both asked for copies of my transcripts to review. Did you give them a little summary of your academic career when you asked? If not, maybe a second request with more info?ReplyDelete
First, congratulations on your decision. I think it's great that you have decided to grow your knowledge. If (and when) you return to teaching, your students will be the beneficiaries. Second, professors that haven't seen you for a while aren't a good choice for recommendation letters. Someone that knows you now can write a much better letter. Maybe your principal, or another master teacher or even a writer (after all, it's an English degree) would be a good choice.ReplyDelete
Good luck and have a great time (I did)
Online Masters Degree Alumna
I should add - it's so important to pick people who are themselves well-spoken and who communicate engagingly in the written form. It's also extremely important to pick people who speak to your strengths - so if you get two people who can really speak to your academics, that's awesome, but adding a third someone who knows you in another, unique way, and can demonstrate all the other qualities about you that will make you an asset to the graduate program - essential.ReplyDelete
(Sorry for the spam) I also should have added, in regards to my last comment, one of my professors wrote in her recommendation that a reason these programs should accept me was not just for my ability to do and master the work, but for the way I deliver it - she went on for sentences about my particular sense of humor and wit that bites its way across the page, which made reading my papers a whole lot more interesting and fun for her. (Not trying to toot my own horn, here, just suggesting you find people like this, who will shine a special light on your positive individuality).ReplyDelete
One letter that is not from your profs - a letter about your current teaching, pleasant demeanor, dedicated work ethic - is not a problem, and maybe even a good idea.ReplyDelete
Even if you have three lit profs write letters, the typical pattern is 1) the prof who knows you well, had you in multiple classes, will say nice things about how you rank compared to other students from your school, 2) the prof who knows you pretty well, and maybe has a different angle, but mostly says the same things as prof #1, and 3) the prof who knew you as a good student but not much else.
So you can substitute something more relevant for that third letter. The first one is the really important one. I say this from experience on both sides of the process (but in social science, not the humanities).
Best of luck. It's a heck of a step - at its best, really life-changing.