Opening Doors What led me to Michigan State University’s Educational Psychology and Educational Technology (EPET) program was a love of teaching and learning, but needing a change. At the time (2013), I was not happy in my middle school mathematics classroom and I feared this dissatisfaction would lead to future sub-standard teaching on my part. That was not an option I was willing to accept. I needed a new perspective. I wanted to open doors of opportunity and I thought that getting my Ph.D. would allow me to have the credentials and knowledge to be able to work with pre-service teachers in a teacher education program.
Toward the Door In the middle of my first year of the Ph.D. program I wrote that my goals were:
enjoy and absorb as much as I can during this Ph.D. experience.
complete the program in no more than 5 years.
maintain good life balance, healthy eating/exercise and good relationships with family and friends, but still having fun and enjoying life.
after the program, become a part of a smaller college with a quality teacher education program/department and teach future teachers.
As I near the completion of my degree, I have “absorbed” much during my doctoral studies (though I would now probably say “experienced”). My classes have drastically changed my thinking about teaching and learning. My assistantships have provided a variety of teaching experiences and research opportunities that have continued to push the way that I think and act. While it is likely that I will not complete all of my goals within 5 school years, I am still hopeful and working toward completing these goals within 5 calendar years. My life balance can always improve, but I have done a respectable job of prioritizing and keeping life in check. Where I will end up next is not so simply addressed.
Through the Door My view of wanting to be specifically in a small college is much narrower than my current goal is. This goal came from what I knew. I had wonderful educational experiences at my small undergraduate college. However, my goal now is to find a quality place to work that will enable me to use my skills and knowledge to benefit the organization I work with the hopes of improving the community I am in. This is intentionally broad. Maybe this will be a traditional classroom-based teacher/student environment or perhaps with online learning environments or working for a company in supporting employee learning and education. In essence, I want to find a position that inspires and energizes me so that I may inspire and energize others. I know that door exists, I just need to find it, open it, and walk through.