Friday, January 23, 2015

On Second Thought...

Brian and I have plans for the future. There's a good chance that all won't go quite as planned, but one of our plans is that I will return to teaching when Teddy goes to school in a few years. I'd like to say our future plans also include things like early retirement in a downtown luxury loft with season tickets to the Nats and lots of exotically-named margaritas on white sand by a glassy-green ocean, but who's to say.

I have four and a half years of experience teaching English in middle and high schools, but not a master's degree. A few months ago I researched a graduate program at the closest university in something that I have recently become interested in learning more about-- reading and literacy. I loved teaching the boys to read over the past few years, even though I didn't really know what I was doing. It was challenging and super rewarding and big to see the wheels turn and everything click into place as they slowly read their first word and then first sentence and then first book. All of the sudden they were finishing their summer reading programs at the library and becoming some of the best readers in their kindergarten class.

I don't know much about teaching reading, (Though this is the book I used and highly recommend.) and am curious to know more and to help other little kids learn to read. I also know that I'll get paid more if I have my master's when I go back to teaching. Starting the program seemed like the right thing to do for my family-- like the responsible thing to do. Make more money. To help a little more in finally being able to buy a bigger place to live without giving up all our conveniences that are so important to our lifestyle.

So I applied. I got accepted. I enrolled in my first class. I activated my student accounts. And then I went to orientation.

The program is more credits than I realized. It lasts longer than I realized. It includes five education classes. FIVE. All the literacy classes sound super interesting and challenging and fun but reading the descriptions of the education classes made me cringe. That's when I remembered: I HATE EDUCATION CLASSES. I mean, for the most part.

We found out anecdotally things I should have researched before applying to the program-- things like what a reading specialist's job is actually like (more paperwork, less time with kids, we were told) and the pay scale they are on in our county (same as teachers). We added up the credits and costs and the inevitable stress that I would have which would not only make me more prone to seizures, but most likely make me less of an involved mom, and more of a bitchy, stressy, yelling mom. It would also prevent me from working on the writing project that I've been working on and caressing and yelling at and crying about for nearly five years.

I want to write a book. I've always wanted to. And I'm at least halfway there. One problem is that I haven't integrated time for writing into my daily schedule over the past few years. Another problem is that I think what I have might be total crap. But I still want to finish it, minimize the crap, and make it something I'm proud of and see what editors and publishers think of it. I'm thankful for a husband who is so supportive and encouraging of my writing endeavors, but specifically this one.

I had been excited about the literacy program. I'd been excited about going to school again for something that interested me. But after I finally made the decision to withdraw, I felt an immense peace. It is peace I didn't expect I would feel and one that has been pushing me to write and write and write on my book lately. I even made a big map of my story on the wall of our bedroom-- chapter by chapter. This matters to me and makes me so much more happy than being elbows-deep in education classes and spending more time away from my boys and husband. So, on second thought, I'm out.

Maybe in a few years it will be time for me to go back to school for a master's. Or maybe never. But now it is time to finish the project I started five years ago.

Just for fun, here is a lovely read for any aspiring writers to give to their parents.

And here is a bonus Teddy picture from yesterday.

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