I was looking forward to applying to graduate school for a Masters in
Teaching Physics offered at the local University. When I read that
description of the degree on their website it seemed to me that I could
apply for the program. Their prerequisites include the normal things,
like a high enough GPA, a bachelors degree, and decent GRE's. It also says that an undergraduate degree in physics is not necessary to be accepted. It also says:
Undergraduate prerequisites for the program are:
1. Introductory Physics (three semesters).
2. Introductory Chemistry (one year).
It goes on to say on the application page (which also refers to students
applying for a Masters or PhD in Physics) that they recommend taking
the subject GRE. So because I had already been thinking of calling to ask if I should take a semester of Chemistry before applying, I went ahead to and called to ask about the GRE also. I was somewhat convinced that just studying on my own I could somehow study enough to pass the GRE.
When I called the professor I spoke to crushed all the daydreams I had been having, of being able to take classes about something I was truly
interested in, and being able to teach it to students in turn. He
explained that the website must mean three semesters of "advanced
physics", because they really want people to have most physics classes
done before even coming into the program. I don't know why, but this gentleman
made me feel like I was a complete idiot. I explained that I did not
have a bachelors degree in a science at all but I had in fact taken a
lot of science classes. Maybe he just doesn't like non-science people,
because although he was trying to be helpful he also had a slight tone
of "why am I talking to this idiot."
I was really disappointed in being told that I can't even apply for the MAT program I wanted without at least two years (ish) of doing the undergrad classes part time. I know that I would technically have the time to do that, but to me it would be difficult to take classes being taught graduate students (my peers at this point)
while working my butt off to pay for it, and not even getting to work
on teaching for probably 4 or so years. I was also really upset just
because I didn't have any other ideas for what I want to do.
Today I came up with a new plan. I am going to apply to go back to school and
go for a certificate in TESOL. This way in two years I can go back to
China and get paid better, and even be capable of being in a classroom
in the United States. Who knows, maybe I can convince them that I can
teach some Mandarin too. Then after I come back from China I should be
able to teach Mandarin in the United States confidently. Then if I want
to add Physics to my repertoire I can.