Perhaps you’ve known that kid at some point in your life, you know, the quiet one that sits in the back of the class hoping no one notices them. The one that never raises their hand, but usually knows the answer anyway. Yeah, you know the type I’m talking about. Well, that kid used to be me. Although introverted, I studied hard and learned quickly. It was my teachers who recognized my potential and engaged me in multiple activities. What a difference they made for me! And I will always remember them for it.
I was raised on a small tobacco farm in Virginia, so I learned at a very young age about hard work…very hard work. I am the first person in my family to attend and graduate college. These factors, I believe, have given me a deeper appreciation for education and a drive and determination that I likely would not have had otherwise. Consequently, I soaked up every bit of knowledge available to me as a child. This could also explain why today my family considers me a walking encyclopedia. I love reading interesting facts on just about everything, from the “Dog’s Suicide Bridge” in Scotland to the “Replacement of Taste Buds Every Two Weeks.” Yes, it’s truly an illness.
In school, my teachers encouraged me greatly. It was this encouragement that ultimately started me off on my professional career. As I excelled in my courses and received various achievements, I was recommended for a federal position during my senior year. It was there, I met my first employer, role model, and mentor. She was an amazing individual, a retired Army officer who taught me scores of information while I worked for her. She decorated me with many honors, including a full-time position upon graduation. he never let me forget about my education and consistently encouraged me to go after my goals.
So with that, I attempted to simultaneously begin a degree program, while juggling a career… oh and a new husband. I won’t sugar coat it….I crashed and burned on my first few attempts. I was young and I had no idea what I was getting into. I stumbled a lot! It took me some time to find that right mix of organizational and time management skills to balance work and home life. Eventually though, I found my way by establishing a plan that I could manage. At work, I found my niche in the accounting world and it didn’t take long before my degree was complete. After several years, I returned to school and completed a master’s of accounting degree after only one year.
Well, as life would have it, twenty-six years somehow flashed before my very eyes. After doing so many things, training employees, testing and deploying systems, writing policies, and most recently, managing the agency’s audit contract, I was suddenly faced with a decision to retire. I began to ask myself, well, now what? What will I do with all of those years of knowledge, experience, and education that I had worked so hard to get?
Well, being a research guru, I read and I read, and then, I read some more. I knew that I needed a work from home, flexible job. So, what opportunities were out there for me? Could I really combine my love of education with my existing experience to make a living? After getting mixed messages with other sources, I soon found Dr. Babb’s group and her wonderful book. After reading and studying that book, I realized I had to backup and take a fresh approach to pursuing my goals for online teaching in order to be successful.
So after more than 26 years of having a professional career, I am now transitioning towards an online teaching career. There are many emotions that come with this decision and they change with each passing day. Some days I am happy and excited, and others, I am nervous and anxious. Realizing, however, that this opportunity allows me to give back to others the way that so many have given to me over the years, is truly priceless and makes this career choice so worthwhile.
Although this transition will not be an easy one, I very much look forward to sharing my experiences with each of you. Now that you know a little bit about me, I hope you will continue to check in to see where this roller coaster ride will take me. I’m buckled in and ascending the first big hill. Be sure to catch my next column as I take you through the thrilling adventures along these transitional tracks in hopes of finding that first online teaching position!