It is strange thinking about being done with this course, especially as I am just at the beginning of my journey at BSU. Like most people have already articulated, it seems to have come around quickly. I have always found it hard to leave things. I’m the guy that doesn’t like ‘goodbye’ just a ‘see you later,’ and so finishing something that has actually been incredibly important in my life has been strange and disconcerting.
I have not been at Grad school in a long time so studying again was daunting. I studied in Europe at the University of Edinburgh and so I worried about the differences and cultural challenges I might face. I have a full time job and a two and a half year old and wasn’t sure I would make it 2 weeks let alone a whole semester. I did know that I needed the challenge. When decided to do this course in March, I stepped down from my Leadership role in school. I went from Head of our Upper Elementary school to 5th grade teacher. I decided that teacher, administrator, father, husband and student were too much for me. Although it was incredibly difficult to walk away and perhaps even make a big career error, I can say that I am glad that I did and it was one of the best decisions of my life. Overly dramatic? Maybe, but life has a way of just helping you do the right thing.
The week before the courses started (I took 543 social media learning which I highly recommend as well) my wife and mother were both diagnosed with cancer. Devastating. I wasn’t sure that I should continue but I figured that I had to try. Maybe it was selfish – I’m not sure.
Studying has been my refuge. I have worked harder in the last 4 months than at any time since my first year as a teacher. It hasn’t been easy to juggle and fill all the roles I need to. I am constantly dissatisfied with my own performance but don’t beat myself up about it, just learn and move on. Education is important. Thats it, it’s important. It should be the most important thing. Always. Our house is quiet at nights everyone is in bed early and so I have studied and learned and found that I enjoy it more than I did when I was young. I am seeing life through the eyes of my students again and it has given me the energy to make sure that every day in my class I walk in with a big smile and remember how important my job is.
The challenges I faced were just getting things done. I managed. Often at the last minute and sometimes with some stress but that was really it. The learning activities and tasks were interesting, fair and thought provoking, so I was never bored.
I found that I just needed to adopt a routine and stick to it. I would study 2 days for each course at a time, in the evening when everyone was in bed . . . and drink espresso at midnight and get it done. On the weekend, Saturday was 543 and Sunday was 501. I told my wife to take no pity on me and that seemed to work too! She supported me 100% and has been my inspiration. What are a few late nights compared to what she is going through? Not a lot really.
The artifact which I am most happy with is my School Evaluation Summary because I have put heart and soul into my school in the last 7 years and I think this might really impact and make a difference to a place which I care about deeply. I took time to consult and ask others and wrote reflections which opened my eyes to many things, good and bad.
I am already using many of the things which I have learned in school. My 5th grade all have Glogster accounts now and my school evaluation will be shared with our school leadership team in the near future. I think about ethics much more and know that I will always struggle to cite a source properly and that OWL at Purdue is now a favorite in Safari.
I wrote in my reflection for 543 that I was, ‘all in’ and so I am. Education has been the single thing in my life which has been consistent. It has always been there and perhaps as I faced some curveballs this Fall, so it was again. Everyone needs something to be there when life gets tricky. For some it is religion, others family or music. For me it has been education and learning. I know this post is quite personal but I believe that in order to truly reflect you have to be honest and open and so I write what I feel. I really don’t think anyone reads anyway!
To all of you who I have learned from this term, thanks. I am sure you have your curveballs too and I hope that you hit a few home runs off yours. Keep swinging.
“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”
Thanks for reading it this far. A