Thursday, June 5, 2014

Big News.

Since college I've held many jobs in many fields: preschool teacher overseas, how-to website, professional development for government employees, development at an art museum and managing editor at a magazine. I have met at least one wonderful, lasting friend at each one of these jobs, and for that I thank God. I have always envied people (like my dear friend Ashley) who always knew what they wanted to do as a career from a young age. For me, it's been more like trial and error -- weeding out what I don't like. 

A couple of years ago, while working at the museum, I realized that although I loved my workplace and the people I worked with, I was not cut out to be a professional fundraiser. At that time, I started evaluating my strengths and weaknesses, my interests and what I saw myself doing long-term. It was at that time that I start investigating the possibility of being a teacher, and even went down to Marshall University to speak with their education school about their Master's in Teaching program, which is a program designed for people like me who have degrees in something that's not education to help them become teachers. Around that same time, this job opening at the magazine came across my desk (literally) and, as working for a magazine had been a goal of  mine since high school, I decided I would regret it if I didn't throw my hat in the ring. As you know, I was hired for that job. Unfortunately, for many reasons, it became very clear, especially over the past couple of months, that that particular workplace was not the one for me, although I love writing and journalism.  

Me and one of the people who have given me so much courage, Mel. 
And, even more importantly, in the past several months I have felt a real calling from God to be a teacher. I have always loved taking care of kids and feel I'm good with them; I also do not think I'm cut out to be behind a desk for 8+ hours a day. I have always loved school and teaching preschool and ballet, and some of my favorite people are teachers. (Jen, Uncle Bobby, Uncle Marc, Aunt Caroyl, Uncle Paul, Danny, Katie.) I also think I need a career where I feel like I'm making a direct positive difference in someone else's life.

With that, I wanted to tell you all that, beginning part-time this summer and full-time in the fall, I am returning to school (again!) to pursue a Master's in Teaching from Marshall University. It should take two years, and when I leave school and pass the appropriate exams, I will be certified to teach Social Studies for grades 5 through Adult and Journalism to grades 9 through adult. God willing, exactly two years from now I will be looking for a job as a teacher. I have been told that statistics show many teachers will be retiring in the next year or two and it will be a great time to be looking for a teaching job. 

God has opened so many doors for me in this pursuit. In order to go back full-time I would not be able to also work full-time, and I was worried about finding a part-time job and/or a graduate assistantship to support  myself. Out of nowhere, a girl I had class with this past semester offered me a part-time job working with her. Additionally, although all the GA jobs were gone, I found out that there actually was ONE left -- a marketing job for which I'm qualified and have the appropriate degree. I do not have it for sure yet, but the prospects look very good. My last day at the magazine was today, and I also began my new part-time job June 2. Hopefully begin my GA in August. One of my journalism teachers also said he would like to talk to the dean about me teaching a journalism class at Marshall in the fall, which is also very exciting. 

Perhaps even more tellingly, I believe this plan was actually put into motion many years ago. When I first entered undergrad, it was as a Mass Communications major and a Political Science minor. In the first semester of my sophomore year I was taking my second political science class with a professor I loved and I started thinking about changing my major, with designs of working on the hill. So I talked to my professor, who agreed to advise me, and switched majors. But, although I loved all my poli sci classes at Shepherd, I realized that a legislative life wasn't for me, and I never really knew what I'd do with the poli sci degree. I actually have never had a job that used it directly. Fast forward to now ... this Master's in Teaching program works with your undergrad degree to certify you to teach something: English, social studies, math, science. Because of my political science degree and liberal arts education, I have most of the content classes I need to be certified to teach anything in the social studies field. Had I stuck with Mass Comm and still wanted to be a teacher now, I'd have to start all over again working toward an undergraduate degree in education. So I really think God had his hand in this years ago. 

Mom, Katie and me swinging on the day of my last ballet show.

Unfortunately, after months of thought, I also concluded that it was in the best interest of the dance studio for me to resign my position as director. I love my students and parents, I love dancing and I love our mission, but with a full-time course load and at least two or three part-time jobs I was not going to be able to give my students what they deserve, and it would be selfish for me to continue. Luckily, three teachers stepped up to take on the administrative duties so the studio's work will continue. It was a heartbreaking decision, but my students and their parents have also been very understanding and supportive, for which I am eternally grateful. 

Mel and I after the last show we directed.

I turn 30 this summer, and part of me is freaked out that I'm starting a whole new career (even though I know 30 is by no means "old"!). But I never want to make a decision -- or not make one -- because of fear. And, as my mom says, I will be 32 in 2 years whether I pursue this degree or not, so would I rather be 32 working at a job I don't like or 32 and a teacher. I am very fortunate to have the parents I have who support my dreams and goals, whatever they are and however old I am when I have them. 

I am really energized to become a teacher and I feel like I'm really following God's will for my life. Thank you all for your support and prayers! 


This post is one in a series on Turning Thirty. 

2 comments:

  1. I'm so happy and proud of you, Anna! I cannot wait to see what the next few months and years have in store for you! "All you did was show that anyone can change her life." -Snow White aka Mary Margaret aka a teacher.

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  2. Thank you Story! I really appreciate you saying that. And so true, right? The last missing piece of my Mary Margaret puzzle is now being put into place!

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