Just another mailing tube in a box full of mailing tubes – that’s what my master’s degree looks like today. I was digging through the basement looking for something and I came across that rolled up diploma from what seems like multiple lifetimes ago.
It’s a Master’s Degree in Education and when I got it I believed it to be the first step toward a life of advanced degrees. I was certain I’d pursue my PhD. I was sure I’d write and teach and then settle into a college professorship somewhere, taking time to teach and write and speak.
Then, in my last semester of school, I found out I was pregnant and my whole world changed. But it wasn’t a severe fork in the road. It was a gradual turn I didn’t really see coming until it felt too late.
I worked for a bit, even using my new degree. Then I had another baby and not only did going back to school seem impossible, I wasn’t really sure I even wanted that life anymore. I was not in love with the job that my master’s got me, so pursuing further education and advancement seemed wrong. Also, I tended to love the schools full of challenges and I threw myself into every community 110%, so the more kids I had the more the thought of trying to juggle the needs of other peoples’ children and then come home and tend to my own seemed an insurmountable task.
So I left the classroom and over the years I’ve tried on many professional hats. I’ve had sales jobs and was pretty good at that. I’ve written a time or two for actual money and that can be fun. I’ve worked in any way I have needed (and a few I wanted) to keep an income while staying home tending to my own. I also paid attention to how I was in every role. What moved me? What ate away my soul? Where did I shine?
Now I think I’ve found a path, a new road to take that works for the new person I’ve grown into over these years I’ve spent learning about me. And though it’s not in a classroom, and I don’t have that PhD, it isn’t too far from the road I did not take.
See, it seems no matter what, I am a teacher. I don’t mean in the traditional sense of the word. I haven’t been in a classroom full-time in over seven years. But in my soul, my gut, all the places that heat up when you’re doing something you know is just right? THERE I am a teacher and teach is what I need to do.
I still think I was right all those years ago to walk away. I know in my heart that to be really happy, being self-employed is what I need and that is not the way it works in any type of school. I don’t regret my degree. I learned so much getting it that it has served me well in most of the jobs I’ve had and continue to have. It’s ok that I veered off the path I thought was right all those years ago.
Life is long and, so far, I’m enjoying the drive.
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