Monday Musings: My Higher Ed Journey

1For those of you that read everything I write whether it is about gardening, blog posts here on my personal education blog, or my articles for Indy/Ed and The Educator’s Room, I appreciate you.  I have a special bonus for you today.

I know a lot of people are waiting for the Indy/Ed article to drop that will reveal what I’m doing next in the K-12 world.  That article will go live on Tuesday, July 17, 2018 at 7 a.m. on Indy/Ed, but that article will not address my higher education journey.  I will address that now.

…so I didn’t really say goodbye to IUPUI completely

In one of my April Monday Musings, I shared that I had decided to no longer teach at Indianapolis University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI).  I obtained my master’s in Language Education August 2012 from IUPUI and January 2013, I began teaching X470 Psycholinguistics for Teachers of Reading K-12/L502 Socio-Psycholingusistic Applications for Reading Instruction at IUPUI.  Spring 2018 was my fifth year teaching the course.  I decided it was time for a break because I didn’t want to be an IUPUI student and instructor at the same time.

During the 2016-17 school year, I was taking graduate courses at Marian University and teaching at IUPUI and working in IPS. It was a bit too much.  Back in September, IPS high school employees found out that everyone would have to reapply for their jobs.  After I found out, I went home and checked my IUPUI email and found a recommendation letter.  The email stated I had been, “recommended as someone who may be interested in and be a strong fit for the Urban Education Studies PhD program.”  I have previously looked into PhD programs and I was interested in the Urban Ed program at IUPUI, but the timing never seemed right.

I decided to apply to the program.  I felt I had a good application.  I wanted to score better on the GRE, but I wasn’t too worried about my scores.  Then, I had to interview.  I did not think my interview went well.  I called one of my IUPUI mentors and told her I wasn’t sure I was going to get into the program, but then I got accepted.

Even though I got accepted, I did not know if I was going to enroll.  I have no college debt.  I’m proud to say that as of today my husband doesn’t either.  IPS offered a $5,000 retention bonus to motivate high school employees to not quit mid-year.  We were paid that bonus last Friday and I used the majority of the bonus to pay off the rest of his student loans.

After determining that I could pay off his loans and afford to pay for the PhD courses out of pocket, on July 12, 2018, I finally enrolled in my first two courses for the PhD program.

Best of Both Worlds

That isn’t the entire story.  My higher ed teaching break lasted for about a month.  I decided to teach a six-week online course, Second Language Learning, at Marian University this summer.  Even if I wasn’t pursuing my PhD this fall, I still would not have taught Psycholinguistics at IUPUI because I wanted to teach a different course.  This opportunity is allowing me to teach teachers how to work with English language learners.  This course gave me the opportunity to completely build a college course on my own.  Yes, I taught at IUPUI for five years but the course was a true collaboration and was built off of the work of another instructor, who is also one of my mentors.  She has great ideas and she had no problem with me incorporating what she used when I taught the course.  Yes, I added a lot of my stuff over the years, but this was the first time that I built a college course from scratch and I’m proud of that.  My Marian students are now halfway through the course and I am enjoying being their instructor.

I had been asked to teach the course I was teaching at IUPUI in the summer but the course was only partially online so I would have to go on campus.  I like spending my short summers with my boys.  Teaching 100% online does not impose on my time with my boys and I’m teaching during a time when I’m not working in a school or taking graduate classes.

It is hard to say when I will finish this PhD because doctorate degrees are hard to obtain, research takes lots of time, and then there is the dissertation. I don’t want to think about all of that now. I’ve decided to start and I’m not in a hurry.  If I begin a task, I know I am going to complete it.

There you have it folks.  That’s the scoop for now.  Check out Indy/Ed in the morning to see what I am doing in the K-12 world tomorrow at 7 a.m.



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