SOL Day 19: student again

About a year ago, someone casually shared with me an opportunity to take some classes at UIC to receive an endorsement in Assistive Technology for Special Eduction. I was VERY newly pregnant at the time…like I had peed on the stick the weekend previous. I remember thinking that there was NO way I could have a baby and a toddler, work full time, and go back to school….again…for a second masters degree.

See, I am one of those people who loves going to school. If I ever won the lottery, I may just choose classes to take simply because they interest me. When I interviewed for my current position, the principal at the time jokingly said if she hired me, I couldn’t ever go back to school because I would be too expensive on the at scale. She said I should go to nail school or something if I got the school bug again. I sheepishly told her I had already done that.

Yes. I like school THAT much.

When this opportunity presented itself, I had been working as the computer teacher for my program for less than a year. I was serving on my Cooperative’s Assistive Technology team and learning everyday about strategies to better serve my students. I was loving it but finding myself frustrated because there was a so much more I wanted to do with my students. I didn’t have the knowledge or the tools. I didn’t even know what I didn’t know.

What most don’t realize is that assistive technology is not just about computers. That’s just such a small part of it. It’s about helping people become as independent as possible in their every day lives. Do you magnify the size of the font on your phone or computer? That’s very basic assistive technology. Do you know someone who uses a wheelchair? THAT’S assistive technology, too. It’s a HUGE umbrella of services that maximizes independence for children and adults with disabilities. The program I was interested in micro-focused on students in the world of special education…and it was a scholarship. It was fate I guess.

I applied and won the scholarship along with my nine other cohort members. I interviewed when I was VERY obviously pregnant praying that they saw my enthusiasm and not my bump. We started classes this past January when George was only 10 weeks old.

Aaron has been so extremely supportive of me during his process. When I was going back and forth about whether I should apply, he kept encouraging me to do it.

Short term pain for long term gain, he keeps telling me.

He cares for the kids all day Saturday so that I can complete my homework and assessments. He rushes home on Mondays to relieve the babysitter while I’m in the city at class. He doesn’t complain when I spend 6 hours on a Saturday hunkered down in front of my computer. He encourages me to put my studies first on the weekends even if that means missing events with our families. I’m not saying it’s easy, but it’s a whole lot easier when you have partner in the process.

I just hit midterms of my first semester. I’m told the workload this term is pretty light compared to others. Yikes! Some weeks I feel like I’m barely keeping up. We take three courses both online and on campus for a total of 16 months. It’s intense. I’m enjoying it but second guessing my sanity at times.

I write this not to toot my own horn. But to let others know that if they are wondering if THEY can do something as crazy as this, they can. Even a mom of two with a newborn can do it. So can you if you are passionate about it.

I am writing for the Two Writing Teachers March Writing Challenge

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