Well, I am officially a student again, 10 years after I thought I had left for good. It’s funny how the future comes full circle back into the past and then forward again. It all started (again) a few weeks ago when I realized I hadn’t done any sort of professional development for nearly 3 years. As a holder of a professional certification in teaching, I am required to complete 175 hours of professional development every 5 years, so you can see why this was a problem as my 5 years is up late this summer. So I got busy figuring out how to get it done.
First, I looked into professional development courses through BOCES, and through other teacher outlets, but this is the wrong time of year to try and find those resources, and i figured out pretty quickly that it wasn’t going to be the way to go. Not since I still needed 120 hours by summer’s end. Luckily I ran into another teacher friend of mine at my job, and after hearing my dilemma she gave me the advice to take a graduate course (or 3) because they are intensive and are worth 3 credit hours (which translates into 45 professional development hours) apiece. Bingo.
That’s where it got tricky, though, because I had to first find a college, and then enroll in courses that would count in an education program toward my professional development. I scoured the web for universities that would fit the bill, and a host of them showed up, but I needed a place with online courses available THIS SUMMER. My primary problem: online summer courses at pretty much every college have been available since late March and most are full. Ouch. So, I finally found a school in-state (out-of-state schools generally cost more money, even as an on-line student) that had an extensive education program with a variety of summer online courses, some of which were not full.
Then I found out I had to apply to the school. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that before, that in order to take graduate level courses I would have to be an actual member of the learning community. But applications take time not just to fill out but to get responses on, time that meant those courses that weren’t full before were becoming tighter on “seat” space. Oh boy. Not to mention some of the courses had quick start dates, so I filled out the application in record time, found my transcripts to send along, wrote a letter of rationale, and prayed to god they would let me in, and quickly. A week later I was in, but two of the courses I had wanted to take were now off the board. Eek.
That’s when the begging and increased scouring began in earnest. I emailed every single instructor of every single Education online summer course, and got put on waiting lists. I contacted my newly minted advisor and she tried to help me wade through the issues that were facing me. Before the next week was out I was signed up for two online courses that fit the bill, but I needed a third. And none were making themselves obvious, so I was starting to freak out. But then my wife came through with the answer, as she usually does.
I applied for an actual course, not one that is online, but one that meets for an entire week from 9-5, an intensive course that takes advantage of the odd time to help people like me achieve what we need to achieve. But signing up for this course meant I would have to step foot on a college campus again, 10 years after last being on one as a student, that I would have to interact with others students who are 10-15 years younger than I am. But I’m trying not to be fazed by it. I’m just going to go there and do my work. And hopefully come out unscathed.
We shall see. Now if I can just find my pencil case.