Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Getting Mentally Prepared for MY First Day of School

Even though I've been back at work, teaching, for almost two weeks, tomorrow is a very important day for me.  Tomorrow, is MY first day back to school.  And it's been three years since I last went to school.

By school, I mean college.  

Tomorrow is the first day for me to embark on my journey of getting my Master's Degree in Elementary Administration from William Woods University.  Sounds fancy, huh?  In eighteen short months, I'll be graduating from college for the third time.  This time, with a license to become a principal... if I ever choose to go that route.

I'm not going back to school to get my Master's because I want to be a principal.  Not right now.  It's more about having the opportunity, and just wanting to get it done and out of the way.  It goes along with never really being able to say that I'm done with school, and always wanting to learn more and achieve more.  Plus, it will be really great to be able to have the extra money that comes with having a Master's Degree.  

When I graduated with my Bachelor's degree in May 2011, I had no real intent to get my Master's.  I mean, it was something I figured I'd do one day, but not for several years.  It was tough just getting through those four years, and I just wanted to get out there and teach without ever having to worry about being in another college class for a VERY LONG TIME.  Especially after I got my teaching position.  I felt content.  Like I didn't need to worry any more about classes, books, homework, studying, or tests.  Unless I was giving or grading them.  

Yet here I am, just starting my third year of teaching, and I'm already back at it.  Thankfully, though, this time around should be a lot less stressful and demanding.  There will be no traveling, no having to quit my job because I'm going to school too many days to work, and no heavy class load.  This time around, it should be a walk in the park compared to what I went through while getting my Bachelor's.  Back then, I took a full time load each semester, taking four or five classes at a time.  

It won't be like that, thank goodness.

This time, I'll be taking one class at a time.  I'll be spending four hours a week in class, and it'll be after work right where I teach.  The college professor will be coming to the elementary school to give the classes.  How awesome is that?  We are going to have our very own cohort campus right where I spend all day working.  The people in my class won't be complete strangers, they will be the people I work with each and every day.  We'll be learning together, studying together, and helping each other get through it.  

I think I can handle that.

Of course, I'm not naive enough to think that I'll only be spending four hours a week on school.  I'm not stupid. I know that I'll sit in class for four hours each week, but I'm sure there'll be plenty of homework to keep me busy during each class.  

I was and still am the only person in my family to graduate college with a Bachelor's Degree.  That was a big deal..is a big deal.  The oldest of six kids, and the only one to go off to college and graduate.  My brother did go to college and did some kind of graphic design course, but I hold the highest degree in terms of college success.  

I know that sound like I'm bragging, but.. well.. I am.  It was and is a big deal to me.  Especially with how many setbacks I had when I first got out of high school.  Two kids by the time I was nineteen, living in poverty for several years, working long hours just to make ends meet, and moving from here and there and everywhere because my bills would always catch up to me and become a little too much for a single mom with two kids to handle.  Especially one that didn't have anything more than a high school diploma.  

So, when I made the decision to go to college, it wasn't for the prestige of being the first and only one in my family to do so... it was about getting the job I'd always wanted, so that I could give my kids the best life possible.  And I did that.  I can check all those boxes.  Went to college, graduated from college, became a teacher, and am now living without any form of assistance in my OWN house that I bought, spending my days doing the job I absolutely love, and the evenings running my kids around to their various sports and activities.

That was what I always wanted, and I did it.  No matter what struggles were thrown my way.  I overcame them and pushed forward.

Which is why, I think, getting my Master's is such an awesome opportunity.  Because, for the first time ever, this is all about me.  It has nothing to do with supporting my family, or needing to be better or do better.  It's just something I want to do.  

Getting my Bachelor's meant I could be a teacher, which was/is MY dream job... but it was also about having a career that was parent-friendly.  I work the hours my kids are in school, I'm off work when they are off school, I get to be at their games, parent meetings, and performances.  It also pays well enough for me to support them, give them a great home, food in their bellies, and all the supplies they need.  

This time around, though, it has absolutely nothing to do with any of those things.  I get to go back to school because I want to.  I get to earn a higher degree because I want to.  And, at the same time, I get to show my kids that there's always higher to go, and be someone that they can be even more proud of.  That I never stopped fighting, never stopped climbing, and was able to do this without it interfering with them (this time around).  Lord knows they hardly saw me during my first four years of college.  But, it won't be that way this time.  I won't falter on my parental duties, and I'll gladly sacrifice sleep and weekends to make sure that nothing really changes.  Besides, it's just 18 months.  I think we can all handle it.  

The only sacrifice they are going to have to make is having me home all summer, next year.  I'll still have to attend classes one night a week during the summer.  Which is no big deal.  We don't have any major vacations planned, or any intent on planning one.  I'll still take them to Silver Dollar City, Water Parks, and all the other stuff we usually do.  

All in all, I'm super excited.  I know I can do this.  I'm ready for the challenges that await, and hopefully I'll still be singing this tune a year from now.  Fingers Crossed.

OK, it's that time again to get ready for another WONDERFUL day in my classroom.

Have a great Tuesday, everyone!!


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