Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Teacher Becomes the Student

This morning, I woke up with school on my mind. No, not teaching school but learning in school. Not just any school but Full Sail University. No lie. After answering a crazy number of text messages (guess I was very popular this AM), I had Full Sail on my mind. Might've had something to do with the 30 Things exercise I did last night/in the wee hours of this morning.

So I sat up, grabbed my laptop, and pulled up their website, intending to look further into their Creative Writing MFA. But there was an ad for another degree that gave me pause-- Education Media Design. And, yet, another degree-- Entertainment Business with a Sports Management Elective Track (this one I drooled over). And another degree-- New Media Journalism. This one, I was like, eh. That narrowed it down to just three choices. All three are just a year long but, at $30k per program, I can't afford to pursue all three (I wish I could) so I needed to whittle it down again.

In looking at their scholarship opportunities, I saw they offered a nice size one, up to $12k, for teachers if they are pursuing either the Creative Writing degree or the Education Media Design masters (there was another degree choice but it wasn't on my radar), as well as two smaller ones for which I qualify. Well, that narrowed down my choice to two-- Creative Writing and Education Media Design (but I would still really love to do the Sports Management degree). So I thought about the range of possibilities for work/finding another job.

The Creative Writing degree would help give me the discipline I need to finish my screenplays and my other works of fiction. Plus, an MFA would allow me to become a college professor of the same subject, Creative Writing. Some of my dreams are to be a college professor, produced screenwriter, and a published author. Also, I would receive tuition reimbursement from my job considering that I'm an English/Language Arts teacher, and, up until this year, the Creative Writing teacher.

But the Education Media Design degree will not only help me (better) utilize technology in my lessons, it will, also, open the door into me leaving public school teaching all together because the skills I'll acquire are perfect for the corporate world, giving presentations and/or being a Corporate Trainer. It's still teaching only with a better salary and more opportunities for growth.

But that's not really what persuaded me to complete an application for the Education Media Design program; it was the possibility of getting the scholarship(s) and using the unused loan money to pay for and finish my MFA in Creative Writing degree at National University while earning the MS degree at Full Sail. I'm halfway through the program and it's been a real source of depression/disappointment that I have been financially unable to complete the program for the past five years. I only have five more classes until I have my degree in hand. The possibility that lies before me, the ability to obtain two Masters, to finish what I started, is an absolute dream. I want it. I want it soooooooo badly.

I need it for my kids. They don't need to continue hearing from me the phrase "I can't afford..." They need to see me in pursuit of my dreams, my passion, my goals so that they can understand the sacrifice and dedication it takes to achieve their desires.

I need it for my grandfather; as I type this with my eyes closed, I have a vision of him smiling behind my tear-stung eyelids. It's like he's saying, "It's about time you understand". That's crazy how his face just popped up, his (mostly) salt and peppered mustache resting like a caterpillar above the curve of his bottom lip, two smaller hairy caterpillars sit one above each eye, which are filled with the ever-present twinkling essence of the stars. In this moment, I feel his approval draping my soul as if he spoke the words aloud.

I need it for me. I need the completion, the open door, the ability to take control of my life. Teaching is a trap door for those who have no calling for it; once you fall into the job and the longer you stay in that position, the harder it is to pull yourself out of it because it creates complacency.

I'm entering my 8th year as a teacher, the longest position I've ever held with little to no upward mobility. My raises have been laughable, if at all existent. Thankfully, recent government actions have made the job uncomfortable. That was just the kind of push I needed to seek the fulfillment of my potential.

So, today, I've completed my FAFSA; I've sent in my application for admission into the Education Media Design & Technology program at Full Sail; and I've committed myself to my pursuit of passion.


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