Today is Slice of Life Tuesday. This means my blog is shared with other bloggers via the forum founded by TwoWritingTeachers.org. I am proud to have been a part of this supportive writing community, many of whom are educators, since March of 2017.
School Year Commences
Today, the school year begins for our resident school district. Our youngest is a junior in high school this year. Time sure flies! He was looking forward to the return of school, school related activities, and seeing his friends on a daily basis. Today, that all happens for him.
This day also begins my final semester in graduate school in the College of Natural Resources at a University of Wisconsin system school. I only need one more course, worth three credits, to graduate! But, yesterday, I got an advance email from the professor whose course I was registered to take this fall. The course was Natural Resources Policy. I read the materials, watched a 16 minute video introduction, and pondered whether this was the right course with which to finish my degree. I came to the conclusion, it was not.
This Course is Not for Me!
My second Master’s degree is focused on environmental education. When I started this online graduate program, the degree I was earning was an Applied Master’s Degree in Environmental Education and Interpretation. It has been a wholly enjoyable experience over the past four and a half years. But, last year, the college decided to phase out the Applied EE/EI degree and offer, in its place, a Master’s of Natural Resources. All this time I still thought I was earning the EE degree. But, this morning, as I wrote feverishly to the professor of the course I wanted to add, my advisor to ask permission to drop the policy course, and the Director of the Graduate programs in Education (all of whom thought my drop/add was appropriate), I also learned that I will graduate with a Master of Natural Resources Degree. Huh?! Needless to say, I am a little surprised. But, obviously, what I thought I had surmised from reading all the emails and announcements of this degree deletion/addition, was in error. I get it. It’s all okay. My concentration or focus has been in environmental education within the field of natural resources. It really doesn’t change my knowledge base, although it might change how marketable I am to educational institutions. And, then again, maybe not. At this time, I just don’t know.
Strangely enough, this happened to be the case with my previous advanced degree. My other Master’s degree is in Child Health. To the lay person, that could mean child psychology, child development, or any number of other things. What it actually meant was I had an advanced nursing degree that allowed me to function as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. So, I’ve been down this road before. The degree does not actually tell the story. The coursework and my volunteer work are what will tell you what I am about. I am about student centered learning. I create opportunities for student enrichment, primarily through environmental education, but also through interdisciplinary teaching and place based learning. I care about how students are taught and how we can reach them as they learn, in the way that they each learn.
Staying True to My Calling
So, as you can tell, Natural Resources Policy was not the right course with which to finish my degree. The right course is Advanced Educational Psychology. It fits with who I am and what I am trying to provide to students. This applies to what and when I teach, as well as ensuring they are being taught in the most appropriate way when others teach. So, I will complete my drop/add later today. I was happy receive such support from my advisor and the other professors on this matter.
Be Smart. Be Flexible.
But, I also learned that you cannot always trust what is published or stated. I also learned that despite learning that my degree will be something other than what I was led to believe, I will also be able to graduate in December, not May. I had anticipated graduating in December, but when I read the application to graduate materials, I found that needed to apply a full semester ahead of the anticipated graduation. That meant applying this summer, which I did not do. So, I planned for May. But, this morning, my advisor told me, that I will be able to graduate in December and that someone will be in touch regarding that!
Truly, my head feels like the tennis ball on the U.S. Open courts, bouncing back and forth between courses and graduation dates. Hopefully, the match will be decided soon, and I will be a new graduate!