Today is finally the day that I can reveal my big news! I have probably built it up way too much, but to me it's very exciting, and will change my life in many ways.
So here it is: Through lots of prayer, discussion, and encouragement from Luke and my family, I have made the decision to quit my job as a teaching paraprofessional, and go back to school full time next year to pursue my master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology. Starting next fall, I will be attending The University of Akron! I finally got my acceptance letter in the mail on Friday, so it can be made official.
The program will take three years to complete because I have to go back for one year of post-baccalaureate classes (or undergrad classes) to get me caught up and immersed in the program. Then next January, I will apply to their graduate program for the following year, and then it will be two years of graduate school.
While I'm going to school, I plan to substitute teach at the school where I used to work on all the days I don't have classes. And I may be looking into getting some kind of campus job or assistantship too (an assistantship would be a research job for the college in my field, and would pay for my school, plus a little extra. So this would obviously be ideal!)
There are a lot of reasons for this change, and I am going to walk through them as quickly as possible:
First of all, I like teaching, but I don't love it enough to do it for the rest of my life. It takes a really special kind of person to be a teacher, and it just doesn't come naturally to me. I'm not intimidating enough to the kids (as bad as that sounds) and they don't respect me enough in a whole-class situation. I've been unhappy in my job for a long time, and I've been praying that God would give me the strength and direction to take a leap of faith. And He has!
The reason I chose Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) is because I've always been interested in it. Basically what an SLP does is provide evaluation and remediation services to those with delays in their speech, fluency, comprehension, expressive language, oral motor skills, and swallowing. It is a lot more medical than what I'm doing now obviously, and I think I will absolutely love it. If I continue to work in a school setting as an SLP, I will be able to work one-on-one or in small groups, and that is what I really love to do. I love to be able to see the progress that way, and I think it will be very rewarding!
Another reason we decided that this would be a good idea was because it would be much better for us in the long run. I have been out of college for four years, and still don't have a full-time teaching job. The job market is very bleak in my area for teachers. Along with that is the fact that teachers are very underpaid, in my opinion, and have to pretty much devote all of their time to their job. Anyone who complains because teachers have summers off is crazy. You should see what they go through the other 40 weeks of the year! Anyway, I'll step off of my soapbox. With Senate Bill 5 threatening to pass in Ohio, teachers would lose their collective bargaining rights, and would be paid based on merit. I won't get into all the reasons why this is wrong in my opinion, but let's just say it makes me want to get as far away from the teaching profession as possible.
Unlike teaching, the job market for SLPs is wide open. They are highly in demand right now, and our school psychologist went as far as to say that any SLP with a pulse could find a job. Also, the pay is much higher and I can't deny the fact that that played a part in my decision-making. As an SLP, I will have many opportunities to work part time once we have children, and that is a big plus for me.
If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you know that my biggest dream in life is to be a mom, and a stay-at-home mom at that. I feel like we were planning our lives out in preparation of that for the past year or so. But our plans are not always God's plans, at least not right now. And it has been the hardest lesson of my life to learn, but it has been made abundantly clear to us (and I don't feel comfortable going into all the reasons at this time) that that is not in the cards for us right now. So I'm not going to just sit around, moping. I'm going to try to make something positive come out of a sad situation.
Wow, that was a lot! I'm sure I'll be writing more about this as the months go by, but I think I've written enough for one day! I'm very excited for my future, and I hope the next three years go as quickly as possible, because I know they are probably going to be very difficult!