The last time I was a graduate student was nearly a decade ago. My life at that time looked very different from how it looks now: I was living in a condo in downtown Chicago, a newly married twenty-something who had been teaching for three years. My husband and I spent our weekends sleeping in, going to street festivals and concerts, and cooking complicated, day-long recipes. I started grad school with a flip phone (and I remember glancing jealously at those in my classes with BlackBerries). Really, I made the decision to go back to school partially because my best friend and colleague had decided to go back to school and, partially, because it would be a substantial bump up on the pay scale. Despite my lackluster reasons for starting my program, the end result of my MEd. was a honed understanding of the complexity and the beauty of teaching.
This time around, I've made the decision to pursue continued education for very different reasons and under very different life circumstances. This time around, I have an iPhone. I'm no longer in Chicago but in Kalamazoo - a city that is still new to me and that I still get lost in regularly (even though I have an iPhone). My husband and I have two kids who keep us busy nearly all hours of the day when we're home (as I'm writing this, our 5-year-old is standing next to me claiming there is "nothing to do in this house!"). We spend our weekends going apple-picking, playing in our backyard, reading children's books, exploring Michigan, going grocery shopping, and folding laundry.
This time around, my reason for going back to school is better than it was ten years ago. I have a goal, and I think I have the background to support it. I'd like to teach future teachers, and I'd like to know how to do it well. Last semester, I was fortunate enough to get a taste of this experience while teaching ENGL 4790: Teaching Writing in the Secondary School, and it made me realize that so much depends upon a good methods course, not only for future teachers but for their future students, too. It's the foundation.
My son just started kindergarten. When I think about what I want for him in school, it's to continue to be excited about learning -- to love it at least most of the time. I'd like to help future teachers figure out their own ways of doing this and to do it well for their students.
But on this Sunday afternoon, it's time to focus on the kids in my own backyard and go play tag.