January 6, 2007 I got got married....before I graduated from college. It was the start of my last semester at the University of Texas at Dallas where I was completing my undergrad in the pursuit of a Bachelor degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. All I had left to do was my student teaching, so the only difference in waiting 6 months to get married was a paycheck.
In August 2007 I began my teaching career at Kimbrough Middle School (my alma mater) as an 8th grade Social Studies teacher and coach. At the time, Mesquite ISD had a rule where all teachers had to get their Master's degree within 10 years of employment. I figured I'd get to it at some point because I had plenty of time. For the next 5 or 6 years a lot of life happened - serious car wreck, 2 kids born, a house move. Many of my friends had gotten their Master's in Admin, Counseling, or even specific content areas, and I had desire desire to pursue any of those things.
So, I chose an alternate route the district provided. If I could accumulate 540 hours of things like professional learning, more teacher certifications, being a department chair, writing curriculum, etc. then that would satisfy the requirement. I began collecting and documenting all of this, and just as my time at Kimbrough was complete, I turned all of that in. The only downside is I did all that work and didn't get the stipend that Master degree recipients receive. It's at that point I said,
I'm NEVER getting my Master's!
In August of 2015 I started my work as an Instructional Technology Facilitator. While I can't quite summarize the past 4 years, a recurring theme I recognize is growth. I've found a niche that I love - the kind where it doesn't feel like work. I'm empowered to pursue areas that interest me, and I've reached the point where I'm comfortable taking risks for the greater good of education. Frankly, I want to change how we do school. Our education system isn't keeping up with the changes and demands our society brings. I would pray asking God for opportunities to increase my sphere of influence so that I could reach more people - with the ultimate goal representing Him along the way. Doors were opened.
Having been around what I consider experts in the field of educational technology, one area that I always seemed to be lacking in was the theory and the why any of it was valuable to education. I also knew that if I ever wanted to pursue of career opportunities beyond what I have, that official piece of paper that I didn't have was going to be an obstacle. So the conversation to the husband sort went, "I think I want/need to get my Master's." The supportive husband that he is said, "Okay." After gathering intel on various programs, I thought the online variety through Texas A&M - Commerce was the right fit for me. I started Summer I in June of 2018. Less than a year and 10 graduate courses later, I am about to WALK with a Master's of Education in Educational Technology Leadership.
God Proves Faithful. every. time.
100%, literally 100% of my coursework was valuable and applicable to my job this school year. I didn't have to make up scenarios, write a grant, or develop curriculum that was pointless. If I had gotten my Master's years ago when everyone else was doing it, it would have been in a field I didn't care about and certainly one that I didn't have a passion for. Here's the portfolio that documented my learning over the past year. God's timing is perfect. I still don't know what the future holds, but I do know who holds tomorrow, and I know He will continue to open new doors. Check out the YouTube video below to watch me walk the stage, completing my coursework with a 4.0 GPA. My lesson learned from all of this...
Never say Never!