Friday, September 11, 2015

The Master

In an attempt to keep myself occupied mentally and physically while I endure this American exile, I enrolled in martial arts classes at a strip mall. Thai boxing, escrima, and jeet kune do.

I also enrolled in one class towards a master's degree in education.

It's an Intro to Academic Research class: statistics and reading scientific studies, that kind of thing.

And it's interesting enough, and it's always nice to learn something new, but I continue to have doubts about whether it's worth the $15 - $20,000 (or more) to get a master's degree.

I was listening to a program on NPR about the continuing crisis in education in America; the salary I get at this job, $50,000, is pretty much towards the top end salary of a normal non-administrative teaching job in America. A master's might get me more, but I'm not sure how much more. I doubt it would be too much more.

I continue to hear stories from China (from readers and one colleague here) about master's degrees actually not being accepted now as proof of qualifications -- the law now strictly demands a 120-hour certificate to get the "foreign expert" thing.

Of course it would probably help me get a position in the Emirates, or some place like Kuwait, but really, so what? I can save more money in Saudi Arabia than either of those places, in addition to saving the $18,000 cost of the master's degree, and Bahrain and Dubai are short hops away.

I know there are some government teaching jobs -- embassy and department of defense positions -- available that require master's, but again, most contractors hire people for the same or very similar positions and don't require a master's degree. (They're more looking for a wrong-headed willingness to put yourself in harm's way somewhere shitty.)

And, just generally, is it really worth it in a field so stupid and half-assed as this one?

So I really am still not convinced ...


Dion McTavish said...

I came to the same conclusion when I was trying for my master's. Not only was it costly and time consuming, but it would have prevented me from focusing on making money because I'd be too tied up in my studies, research, etc.

Besides, I see so many people getting master's only to work at Starbuck's or such. $50,000 a year is damn good for the South.

englishteacherx said...

25 percent of it goes for taxes, though, which is something I'm generally not used to.

Ken said...

TBH I'm always shocked at the super high cost of education.

For UK citizens/home students (been living here past 3 years) it's £4000 for an MEd or MA. For foreign johnnies like yourself it's £12,000.

Deb said...

Would be good if you got a job in UAE or The Kingdom, UAE is a good hub for making naughty trips to Eastern Europe and SE Asia. By the way, can I ask what happened to your girlfriend?

englishteacherx said...

She's hanging in there. We took three holidays together this year, and I invited her here on a fiance visa, but this job is probably temporary under any circumstances.

Yeah the nicest thing about working in the Middle EAst is the vacation time and the easy access to Europe, Africa, and Asia.

Anonymous said...

I've been following your blog for many years X! It is so happened that I followed your steps. I am having similar thoughts about masters degree. It's good to observe someone who is YOU in the future!