Reading has always been a favorite pastime of mine. It’s a refuge from life, an escape from the daily drama. Fiction, nonfiction, research journals all captivate me. My preferred fictional works are books by Jane Austen or books full of zombies. Or both (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies!)
Historical biographies and historical events are my non-fiction go-tos but I do enjoy some travel writing. Since becoming an adoptive parent I’ve read more nonfiction works on trauma than I ever believed humanely possible. This led me into journal articles on trauma research starting in the 1980s. I am obsessed with Dr. Bassel Van Der Kolk!
Peer-reviewed research became an obsession of mine. I could go through an entire journal in one sitting. I’ve always wanted to go back to school. There are a million reasons why I shouldn’t. I already have a Masters in education. I have a post-masters certification in special education. I’m a teacher and the price is pay for a sixth year or Ph.D would most likely not come back to me in the form of a pay increase.
We have highly traumatized children that need me.
I’ve got back problems that continue to this day.
Our daughter isn’t stabilized. She’s in residential care right now.
So I did it anyway. Because, sometimes, I have to choose myself. Waiting for our kids to be in-traumatized or for Mary to stabilize would be like waiting for Hailey’s Comet. It may not come again in my lifetime. If I spend all of my time staring at the sky, waiting for it to happen, I might see it. Then it would be over so quickly that I wouldn’t have had time to do much of anything. So maybe this is our normal. Maybe I need to learn to work within it.
I want to look back on my life and say, “I accomplished these things.”
I will most likely look back on my life and say, “I acquired these student loans.”
I don’t want another degree in education. I’d like to earn my doctoral degree in Applied Behavior Analysis.
The first step is to get another post-masters certificate. After that I can sit for my BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst) exam and then pursue the doctorate. There’s just one small problem.
I can’t start my field experience. My workplace would have to sign off on it and they haven’t. We had a big meeting about what I would be doing. Things like helping one of my students reduce episodes of screaming in class is one. Another would be to increase the time-on-task of a different student. I also suggested tracking the social exchanges of a child I am working with to increase reciprocal conversations.
I’m doing these things anyway as part of my job. Why not take some data and allow my field supervisor to provide feedback and guidance? I think I know why. My injury is a work injury. I won’t go into details but it seems unlikely my employer is concerned about my physical health here. After all, I’m already doing the job.
It’s more of a courtesy to allow me to do my field experience within my job. And they don’t have to be courteous. Most districts would encourage the further education of their teachers. In this case, I’d have to conduct my field experience elsewhere.
I think it’s obvious I won’t be going to another location to complete my 10 weekly hours minimum requirement. I don’t have it in me physically to take on the extra time.
I just come home and rest on my heating pad after making it through a day of work.
For the time being, I am researching, writing and acing my little heart out of these online classes. If I can ever get my field experience I can think about that doctorate. If not…I guess I’ve wasted a lot of money.
I don’t have all the answers. Does anyone? I can still answer one thing. What choice do I really have? None. This time I need to choose me.
*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.