Education Round Two

Life is all about learning. Sometimes the learning is from experience and sometimes it’s in school. I’ve had 54 years of life experience and now, I’m taking it back to school.

With retirement age creeping into the seventies, I have about fifteen years to work. Although others my age are retiring, I got a late start so need to keep moving forward.

Over the past several years, I’ve had a few attempts at seeking a career change that felt like a waste of time. What I have learned is that there was nothing wrong with me. I just needed to be in a professional environment. I also have to feel like I make a difference.

I have been substitute teaching for about a month now and love it. I’m not stressed, don’t have to worry about co-workers and get to make a difference.

As a substitute teacher, I follow the lesson plan left by the teacher. I get to try out all the different grades. I leave with a smile on my face each day. I have found that I enjoy special education the most. I’ve even enrolled in pre-algebra for summer-school so I can brush up on my math skills. I need to feel confident in helping students in math. Soon, I will need to learn how to use their iPad programs.

So much has changed since I was young. Technology is new. Schools have become targets of violence from unstable individuals who have access to weapons and social media. The southwest has become predominately Spanish-speaking.

Still, some things are better. Teachers treat students with respect that wasn’t there in my parents generation. More services are being implemented. New buildings allow for a more pleasant environment. Although I’m not up to speed with technology, it does help teachers track students’ progress.

I’ve checked out a program in which you can prepare to become a certified teacher by committing to teach in a low-income area and have student loans forgiven upon fulfillment of the commitment. I’m working toward the pre-requisite courses to be able to apply. I would like to teach special education at the elementary level. This would require a focused life change.

We will see what happens but even if I don’t enroll in the program, I still would be happy substitute teaching the rest of my working days. I’m hoping that as the children become familiar with me in the community, doors will open to make a difference.