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going back to school


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Hey All,

First, a little background:

I have just completed a master's degree in Classics. Before I returned to school to complete that degree I taught high school Latin at a public school for a year after college. At the moment I am a PhD student in the Classics. Yet, I have decided that I do not want to enter the academic life of a classicist (poor job prospects, constant relocation ect.). I have always, however, had a real love and interest in education (I come from a long line of educators). Thus, I have been seriously considering going back to school for an advanced degree in education (with a primary focus on education policy/reform). I dont know if this would mean just getting an M.Ed or a doctorate (I love doing research and asking big questions; so that was never the problem behind leaving the PHD program in which I am currently enrolled).

So, the question:

How long should I go back into the working world (most likely as a Latin teacher) before I should reapply to graduate programs in education without looking like someone who is aimlessly jumping from academic program to academic program to avoid "the real world" (something which I am not trying to do)?

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Since your focus is on Policy & Reform, you're interested in research, and you have some classroom teaching time under your belt already...I'm not entirely sure going back into the classroom is going to help advance your goals. You'd probably benefit more from working for a NGO or non-profit that has an education policy/research focus or local/state/federal government agency with an education policy focus.

More time as a classroom teacher is going to frame you more as a "practitioner" than a "researcher", which may run counter to your goals. I agree that an intimate understanding of classroom teaching is important, but there are many dimensions to consider when framing yourself as an education policy analyst/researcher in your application.

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