Have you ever waited thirteen years to do something because… well, uh… yeah… why do people press pause on their goals? What stops us from making progress, even when we know the path?
When I went to undergrad, I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do “when I grew up.” As I was graduating, I started to hear the calling, the vocation. After all, that’s what teaching is – a vocation. It became clear and undeniable when I accepted a lectrice position in central France, teaching English at Université Blaise-Pascale. There were countless instances of the ‘a-ha’ moment, the thrill of the chase in designing meaningful lessons, the rewards from differentiation and careful planning. Before long, my path took shape, and I knew I was meant to earn my Master’s in Education.
Unfortunately, my undergraduate studies did not include education courses and when I returned from France, I did not have a teaching credential or certificate. Enter: The Obstacles. And by “obstacles,” I mean that I got in my own way. Want to hear my excuses and reasons and rationale for taking a full thirteen years to earn my Master’s?
I was working full time and didn’t want to impact my household income.
I was busy and didn’t make time to explore different programs.
Taking the GREs… ugh, the GREs!
Year after year took me further from my previous experience and confidence with traditional schooling.
My parenting responsibilities seemed inflexible.
It was hard to see the potential return on investment.
I was concerned that I would get started and then need to quit.
When I managed to tamp down one obstacle, another seemed to expand into its place. The hurdles seemed endless, and the challenges seemed relentless, but I finally enrolled in a Master’s in Education program. Not everyone has the resources and support I had from family and friends that enabled and supported my return to school as an adult. I played the gruesome game of working full time, commuting to in-person classes, paying traditional higher education tuition, and committing nights, weekends, and vacations to my studies.
In the end, I finished that program and earned a Master’s in Education in my thirties. I went on to earn a PhD in my forties. And when I was nearly fifty, I earned an MBA. Along the way, I became AP and IB certified, too. I’m currently exploring additional studies and have a “gotta start to finish” mindset and a “sky’s the limit” attitude.
A few colleagues of mine like to remind people that not everyone knows at 18 years of age that they want to go into education. I smile and say to myself “exactly!” while helping to raise awareness of the many pathways people can follow to become a teacher. My personal experience and my professional world motivate me to share tools like this Questions to Ask Checklist and Self-Talk Guide. If you or someone you care about has been on “Pause,” then please share…. because there is very little that is more rewarding than heeding the call to become a teacher, and few professions with the scope and depth of impact on the future.
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