So, after much prayer and deliberation, I am pursuing another dream—a real intentional career move.
I decided to keep working at the VA as long as I can stand the stress. I can pay for schooling through my paycheck—so the plan is for me to hold on as long as I can in order to pay for schooling out right, and not have to touch our savings. I’m hoping to finish schooling in the next year to two years.
I have applied and been accepted into a university in the state to pursue my graduate degree. I am enrolled in classes to obtain my Masters of Education—with the intent to become a middle/high school teacher in the subject of Social Science and English. At the moment, my degree will be just concentrated in Social Science, but once I get closer to graduation, I can take the Highly-qualified test for English and receive an honorary degree in that field as well which will enable me to teach either English or Social Sciences in the public school system. Most private middle/high schools around here do not require secondary education teachers to have a state certification in the field where they want to teach, so it would give me a leg-up if I decided to teach in private schools instead.
When I got my job at the VA, it wasn’t because I had dreamed of working at the VA upon graduation from college (let’s be real—whose dream would it be?). It was due to an attempt to find a full-time job after graduating college and getting married. God blessed us with this job, and it’s provided a handsome income to us as we’ve started our family. For a long time, I really wanted to pursue teaching but was too afraid to leave the income from this VA job. This past February, on the road trip with my mom to Florida, I really got a chance to think about how I could make life work with about half of my current income. When I realized it’s not practical or healthy to stay in a stressful job just because the money is good, I started making strides towards pursuing what I actually wanted to do.
I came up with some plans on how to pay for school and even had a plan set up where I could leave my current job to pursue schooling at an accelerated rate and finish sooner than what the program called for. I discussed all of these plans with Aaron and he was on board! He said that the VA was never intended to be my career and that it’s okay to pursue something else. I’m still young enough to have a career change and work enough years to receive retirement or pension from the state due to being a school teacher in a public school—although I wouldn’t oppose working for a private school either.
I applied to school and began taking the acceptance tests, and getting my background check completed (along with fingerprints), and requesting in my transcripts from undergrad. I missed a passing score on the Highly Qualified Social Science test by 7 points in March, so I had to wait 21 days to take it again in mid-April. When I was able to retake, I passed by about 10 points. One set of my transcripts was lost in the mail (story of my life) in early May, so I had to fix that hurdle and move on. The first test failure, and the transcript loss made it so I couldn’t begin schooling this May like I was intending. Instead, I’ll start on June 26th. I’m a little apprehensive about starting school because I really don’t know what to expect, but at the same time, I’m ready to begin my educational career in order to leave the career I’m currently in.
I registered for my courses (I’m taking two to start) and ordered my books. I was astonished to find the deal of the century on Amazon where I can pay a minimal fee to “rent” the book and then return it at the end of the semester. This is a huge savings! I’m hoping most of my other textbooks can be handled this way. I had to actually buy one book because it comes with an electronic code and Amazon didn’t recommend renting that book just in case the code was already redeemed by a student in the past. For that book, I was able to use a gift card given to me by one of my best friends for my birthday—with the specific intention that I use it for buying a school book.
I worked as a tutor for athletes while in college and I really discovered my love of teaching then. That job was so awesome, and if we lived closer to Auburn, I’d probably have applied for the Tutor Director position years ago. Right after getting married, I worked as a substitute teacher in the county we live in now. Subs don’t make a whole lot of money, but something is better than nothing, and it allowed me to do something I enjoyed (teaching) while looking for full-time work.
Being a teacher would not only let me be around an age group of kids that I don’t mind being around—middle and high schoolers—but it would also enable me to have more time with my own kids during summer and winter breaks! Knowing that I’m pursuing a career that will benefit my family with the gift of time is a huge blessing. I’m looking ahead to when Michael is nearly seven, Noah five, and Avery nearly two when I get to have a job that grants me time with my kids when they’re off of school. This is priceless.
Yes, the financial difference is HUGE. I’m expecting to reduce my current income by at least half. But the benefit of being with my kids and having more time to soak up my family makes the financial sacrifice worth it for me and Aaron.
So, here’s to June 26th when I officially begin my journey to a different career path!
Until Next Time,Much love, Reba