I am at a crossroads and I am conflicted. Two close friends of mine have started in PhD programs, and I am feeling the pressure to do the same. I know that my board of education has expectations of the district principals to pursue a PhD. My superintendent has dropped hints, too. So, why am I confused? Just do it, right?
Well, first of all, I still do not know what I want to be when I "grow up." I love being a principal too much to consider leaving this job for a district office job. I can't imagine life as an educator without kids around. Of course, I had similar thoughts 15 years ago when I was debating leaving the classroom for the school office. If I am to remain a principal for the final 10 - 12 years of my career, why do I need the extra letters after my name?
Then, there is the issue of family. I have seen the sacrifices others have made to complete the rigors of doctoral programs. The weekends away from home, the very late nights, the missed soccer games, school concerts, plays, and dance recitals, and the stress it adds to the rest of the family members.
Finally, I am aware that there is so much knowledge to be gained while studying in a PhD program. The high quality books I would read, and the educational discourse that takes place in a seminar with other educators in the program could be invaluable to me as a principal. Yet, through the power of RSS and the Web 2.0, I have found plenty of professional development material to read.
Like many of you, If I committed to a PhD program, I would need to give it 110%. I could not breeze through or do a half-baked job. I would need to do it the right way, which of course is the hard way. On top of that, I would find it difficult to ease up on the demands of my job or my home life, and I probably would have to give up blogging for a few years. Yikes. Something would have to give.
For those of you reading this who have accomplished the impressive task of successfully completing a doctoral program, was it worth it? For those of you in the throes of such a program, are you glad you started it?
Do we really need the final degree to be better educational leaders?