I direct the core courses and STEM-related specialization for the M.S. in Education program.
As a Program Director for the M.S. in Education program, my day is a mix of being online and being present with my family. Since the students and instructors I work with are mostly teachers, I need to be available at least some of the time during evenings and weekends when they are doing their work. I also have typical faculty responsibilities attending committee meetings, managing faculty performance, making improvements to courses, and more. It is a full job, but thankfully is very flexible.
Even though I work online, "people skills" are critical. My students are teachers who are managing very busy lives and squeezing in time to pursue a graduate degree. Empathy, compassion, and understanding must be balanced with upholding academic rigor and strong expectations that are required for advanced degrees. Excellent listening skills and intentional communication are critical in my role.
Here's the first step for everyone
I relied on others to guide me. Sometimes that took the form of a formal mentor such as the one I had as a first-year teacher. Other times, people who never knew they were mentoring me made the greatest difference. I found that I made better decisions by valuing the information and insights I gained from other people in my field. My own research and reading were essential, but, in the education field, there are many ideas that are best learned through experience with others.
"Teaching is really difficult and the pay is awful."
Being a teacher does take a lot of commitment, but the rewards are much greater than the salary. Helping others learn is an amazing experience! This is a field in which you can make a big difference in another person's life.
Finances are almost always a hurdle for people in the field of education. Careful planning and persistence are the keys for me.