Day 15: I am grateful for education, beyond grateful for my own education.
For me, few things in life measure up to the value of my education, which has meant the world to me.
The only thing bad about it is that I did not get even more education than I did. In college, I held a double major–one in Speech Pathology/Audiology and one in English. I started graduate school in Speech Pathology/Communication Disorders, but ultimately switched to English, focusing on creative writing, literature, rhetoric and composition. I enjoyed the combination of studies in both science and the arts.
So many things impede a person’s opportunity to learn, to study, to perform, and to succeed. It feels as though I have experienced every possible obstacle. Overcoming these various obstacles is another reason that my education feels so valuable to me.
I worked hard to complete my courses–sometimes with little or no support…sometimes with downright interference. I kept going and kept returning to school because I love learning. I love books, ideas, and even research. It’s not only that I have a curious mind, it’s that I have an active mind. What some people see as torture–writing papers, doing projects, taking exams (particularly written ones)–I see as engaging and even fun.
I enjoy the activity of accessing information. This is especially challenging to me because I am far-sighted, and I have poor vision for reading. An optometrist once told me that, given my eyesight, I could not have chosen a harder profession. I was a university instructor most of my career, and I taught English at that–a subject that depends heavily upon reading…and on grading student essays, which is an especially challenging kind of reading.
Due to one interruption or another, I never accomplished all I could have or wanted to. This makes me sad, but I have no choice but to accept it. The years have gone by so fast. I think about returning to complete the Ph.D. degree I started, but I am not about to pay for more education when I have already paid for my own college education and my children’s…and I am not enthusiastic about paying for more education after having worked for such low wages for nearly a quarter century because I taught as an adjunct professor in a low-paying department.
Since I have been a life long student, I now know how to educate myself, and I will surely rely on these skills for the rest of my life. I may take a course here or there, but because my needs have changed I won’t be paying the large sums of money required by higher ed…nor can I imagine at my age fitting in as a student, though this would be the smallest obstacle to overcome, as far as I’m concerned. The material is the focus, as it should be. Also, when I was in my early 30s, I enrolled in a graduate course with another student in her mid 50s. She became a friend to all, and was an asset to have in the classroom because of her unique and experienced perspective.
Yesterday, I saw the photograph below on Facebook, and it reminded me of the many meaningful class discussions I had the opportunity to lead as an instructor. This is something I had the privilege of doing only because of the hard work I put in as a student. I learned many useful skills as a teacher, and this photograph brings back warm and happy memories of a place I cherish and one that is actually sacred to me, the classroom.
Lately, I have been preparing to return to teaching, but no longer at the university level. Instead, I am designing courses I can teach independently and online to the general public. I am certified in online teaching and also accustomed to developing course content. All things considered, I am excited about the possibilities of working in this format. I’m not looking forward to the marketing part of the online courses, but I have confidence that once I get participants enrolled, they will enjoy the experience and feel enriched by it. It’s going to be a new adventure, incorporating a lot of my experience and knowledge along with my passion and interests. In a way, it already feels like a brand new major.
The best thing about education is that it is a lifelong endeavor.
How do you feel about education? Have you ever taken any online courses? If you were going to take an online course, what content might you be interested in studying or accessing? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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