After my last post about meeting with an academic advisor to discuss going back to school to become a credentialed teacher I received both supportive and discouraging emails and comments. One person emailed me to say doing this would be a “waste of my time” and that comment was going around in my head when I awoke yesterday, still under the influence of the tail end of a three day migraine. It was about 5 degrees outside and I wasn’t feeling particularly perky or motivated. Of course I had to get up – the kids had to get off to school and I had to lug gallon jugs of hot water to the barn for the goats and rabbit. But going back to bed afterwards was certainly an option! I could just call and cancel.
The walk up to the barn in the crisp air woke me up and I decided that it would be worth going to hear about the program at least and less of a waste of time than crawling back under the covers. So I took a quick shower to warm up, styled my choppy haircut with product, dabbed on a bit of make-up, and slipped into my black (interview) slacks and a black mock turtleneck sweater (.99 at the Goodwill store). My only winter boots are barn boots so, shivering, I put on a pair of knee-high nylons and a pair of low heels and threw on a chic, but overly large rust colored wool coat that a friend had passed on to me- the extent of my nice cold weather clothing- and headed for town. I felt attractive and professional and invigorated (even if my toes were cold)!
I found the School of Education and the parking garage, which thankfully was not too far from the building, and arrived just on the dot for my appointment. The graduate advisor went over the two programs – Transition to Teaching and Community of Teachers – that were applicable to my situation and we discussed my qualifications and the admissions process. My college GPA and Master’s degree allow me to bypass the entrance exams, making the process fairly straightforward.
As one of my teacher friends told me there is more of a demand for teachers in the fields of math and science than social studies, language arts or history. Science teachers in fact are in such demand in Indiana that there are a number of scholarships available for students wishing to teach science. This was good news to me – as was what the graduate advisor said “Science teachers can pick and choose where they will teach” – as science is exactly what I would like to teach.
So I’ve decided to take the initial (low cost) step - ordering transcripts which will be assessed to determine whether I have the appropriate coursework to become a science teacher. Since my degree is in the social sciences field of Anthropology (Archaeology) and I’ve worked in the environmental science field for the past quarter century, I’m hoping I can become certified to teach Earth Sciences. I may however, need to take additional coursework in science in order to be admitted to the program. If this is the case I will re-evaluate my situation since that would add more time (it’s a 3 semester program that starts in summer and goes through next spring so I wouldn’t be job hunting until a year from this fall) unless I could take courses concurrently.
The other stumbling block is the cost, which is estimated at around $11,000 and would be more if I had to take science courses as well. At this point I’ve ordered the transcripts and plan to talk with several of the professors involved in the two programs, asking them particularly about the success of prior graduates in obtaining teaching jobs, before moving forward.
When the meeting was over, I headed to Tractor Supply to pick up more hay and vaccine for the goats and then over to Pep Boys to buy a replacement bulb for my headlight. Then I went home, changed back into my four layers of warm casual clothes, fixed my headlight and lugged more jugs of hot water to the goats. And I did it with a little lighter feeling; a glimmer of optimism. I don’t think I wasted my time.