Life’s Next Step // Help Me Choose [Poll]

Hello beautiful readers –

I need your help. No seriously, please pull up a seat, put on your listening ears, and get ready to vote. I’ve been using every person I know as a sounding board and I figured why not reach out to my thoughtful, amazing followers? I have been annoying my friends and family, using all my resources at work, and questioning Drew to no end. I understand why, but no one has given me a definitive “do this and run with it!”. Whatever I end up choosing, it’s a huge deal, and what friend wants that kind of pressure and would want to be so blunt? That’s why I’m turning to you guys. So please, don’t be shy. At the end of the post I will have a poll and of course my comments are open to everyone. Let the flood gates open and guys, steer me right.

I need to decide what my next step in life is going to be, and for most of my options, the clock is about to run out. I am leaning towards a few, feel confident in most, but I can’t seem to chose just one yet.

I guess I should tell you guys where I’m at now in life, a little background to help you all pick the best course.
Currently, I am a special ed teacher’s aid in a gorgeous, brand new high school. I got my degree in history, but I am an aid for the English department. I’m beginning to fall in love with English, possibly more than history, but that’s another story, for another Monday.

I want to do more than be just an aid though. I watch my fellow teachers and I know I need to keep moving up. I could see myself in their shoes and loving it. At the same time though, I felt the same way about my college professors. I loved going to classes, and my whole academic experience. Up until recently I figured I would be a college teacher, but higher education is expensive and a huge time commitment. That’s why I got the job I did. It was a foot in the door, great experience in my field, and something I could enjoy and make some extra money while I figured things out. But now it’s opened almost too many doors and I’m more confused then ever.

Here are my options.

– Provisional license + Masters.
In special ed, there’s a thing called a Provisional License. It’s a temporary license that some educators can get for three years as they are working towards their masters and actual licensure. You can only get one if you are already in the school system and have all this paper work filled out. Luckily for me, I can fulfill those requirements before next summer. If I got one, I would be able to become a full time, real, fully employed, special education teacher. If someone hires me of course. Wanna know the best part though? I’m in a new school, which will be expanding for the next five years. Positions will be opening up left and right, and I’m shinning and working extremely hard. People already know me and trust me, I would have a huge advantage and an actual chance of getting a position NEXT FALL.

The problem? That job would mean twice as much work, well over twice as much pay, crazy responsibilities and hard days. But that would mean a lot more money and the ability to follow a master’s program and become a college teacher debt free. Not to mention amazing experience for a resume. Major downside? I have to create lesson plans and schedule IEPs and meet with parents and have unbelievable work loads every day at work and even when I come home. So yes, I would have more than enough money to get my entire degree (not just 18 credits), but would I have the time and energy to go to class and do homework? Would I be able to keep up with everything I needed to do?

– Teacher’s Aid + Masters.
I gotta be honest. I don’t make much money as an assistant. Sure, it’s extra spending money and savings during the month for Drew and I, and a little more finical stability with two incomes. But if I was to get into a master’s program, debt and loans would be coming in rapidly. I love my job though, and I have no responsibilities when I’m not in the classroom. This double edged sword? I would have the time after work to actually do homework, enjoy classes, fight traffic. But the money would be thin, and I’d have a big fat loan to pay off when I get out.

– Provisional + Save.
There’s another option, that I’m not really leaning towards, but does have it’s advantages. I could get my provisional license, double my pay, get great experience, challenge myself in the workforce. But this time around, I could just forget about going to school altogether. I have three years to a provisional, so I could work making that amount and save a huge chunk. Maybe after I’m done, I could get out of the system and start a family. Or with my savings go to school. But it would be starting either of those long processes almost four years from now. Which is reasonable, but I can’t help but feel uneasy waiting to follow my actual dreams. A smart, but frustrating choice.

– Teacher’s Aid + Relax.
There’s an even safer alternative. I could keep being a teacher’s aid for as long as I want. I could save the little extra money I get, relax every night, and just take it easy. No homework, no extra commute, no debt, no tuition, no bringing work home, or trying to get a job, or go through paper work. While in many ways, this sounds like the best option, I don’t see myself being happy with it. Already just a month or two into this life style and job, I am flustered, confused, and I feel like I’m missing something. I’m itching to be doing more. I don’t think I could stay this way for long, let alone… years? It’s not the worst thing, but the most boring thing.

– Provisional licensure + High school licensure.
Just for the heck of it, I thought I’d throw this in as an option. I’m mostly just curious if anyone would encourage me to pursue this. I could still go through the process, get my provisional, and become a special ed teacher. Instead of trying to get my masters in history or English to teach college, I could try to get my actual teaching license. Like I said, I have my foot in the door, unlimited resources, and I have already fallen in love with my school family and the environment I get to work in. THIS option is the hardest and the most work. Not only am I taking the harder job, but I would also have tons of extra school work as well. There are four to six huge, expensive, challenging testes you have to take to get your license. The competition for those jobs are fierce. The hours are long, the requirements are grueling, the standards are daunting. But I’m in this place and I can’t help but feel like I want to stay, at least just a little. To be a peer with my co-workers and stay in the family. I don’t know.

That’s the thing guys.

I DON’T KNOW.


I guess I should tell you what I’m tentatively planning. I’m thinking that Plan #1 with my provisional + masters might be my best bet. I would start taking classes for my masters starting this January. That way, I’d have a little bit of loans, but still time to knock out almost a full course load. All the while, I’ll be preparing my provisional paper work and applying for special ed jobs. And if I decide that even being a TA is hard while in school, I’d still have my provisional for when I do have time, if I even want to use it! It’d be a great option to have, if ever needed. In the summer, I’ll take more master classes and hopefully get hired as a full time teacher. By next fall I would then have 12-15 credits (you need 18 to teach introductory classes) completed and I will be going into the new job with only one class left. That semester I’ll finish my 18 credits, but will still be making my much bigger pay check. I’ll have that whole next semester to continue my masters, and/or apply for jobs, while still having the pay check and security of my special ed teaching. If things are horrible and I don’t get hired as a professor right away, I still have my provisional and pay check for three years. But hopefully, with time, I would get out of the system and into a university quickly and debt free.

Now that’s a lot of ifs, buts, hopefullys, and fingers crossed. I might not get my provisional. I might not get hired as a special ed teacher. I might not get into my master’s program. I might not get hired as a professor. I might crash and burn. But I think personally, that this plan is my best bet for me to feel happy and challenged and is the perfect mix of what I want and need.

Maybe?

Maybe college teaching doesn’t pay and I’d end up hating it. Maybe I’m overestimating what I can accomplish. Maybe I should start a family sooner than later, so I should just stay the course and get pregnant soon. Maybe I should look into teaching in the private sector without a license but the good pay. Maybe I should look into being just a special ed teacher for longer than three years.

I DON’T KNOW.

I’m desperate and going crazy. Tell me what you think I should do.

Or you know guys, Ordinary Adventures could suddenly become famous over night and I could quit everything and blog full time.

Cheers,
— Brey


40 thoughts on “Life’s Next Step // Help Me Choose [Poll]

  1. My first thought was Provisional license + Masters even before you said that is how you are leaning. I don’t want to go into the many reasons, but from all you say here I think you’ll be happier in the long run. More work? Only if you don;t love it and I’m sure you will.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I agree with April above. From an outsider’s perspective it sounded like the best option too. I’ve had points where I’ve been working 2 jobs and taking classes and blogging. It can be a lot but for some reason those things just have a way of working out and you end up getting really good at prioritizing (and time management) so you can still enjoy life too. I’ve been curious what your job is too and I was so happy to learn it today not just because it’s something else we know about you now, but what an amazing field to be working in. No matter what you chose, it will lead you somewhere great I’m sure.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Do the thing that you really want to do. Otherwise, you’ll just be postponing doing it another day (because you really want to do it). A Master’s degree is hard, but it’s not as hard as you imagine. And when it comes down to it, it’s just another bill to pay for when you start paying off the student loans. It will be worth it so you don’t hit a ceiling later in life.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. In my experience, people always choose whatever they’re leaning towards regardless of logical arguments made for other options. I would hate for any of us who might be jaded to try to advise you against anything, but of all teaching, special Ed is the hardest, with the most paperwork, and I have seen people burn out much faster doing that than anything else. Taking that on while pursuing a master’s isn’t impossible or even crazy, but you’ll have to go in knowing it will *feel* that way until you’re done. You could always get your provisional and enjoy the higher pay for now and work on your master’s while you’re at home with your baby… I know a lot of moms who have done this. And if you are saving from now till then, you can do it with less debt than they did…. just a thought. Plus you would have the extra time to plan for that, as well as pursue other dreams and hobbies, which, who knows, may change your plan altogether.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. as a high school teacher now, i’m of course for you getting your masters and becoming a high school teacher 🙂 it is the most exhausting but fulfilling job! such an awesome profession-you are full of wonderful options and i’m sure whatever decision you make will be the best choice. best of luck!

    always,
    jae
    xo

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  6. Do whatever feels right for you. It looks like you are leaning more to option 1 and I can say that you sound like someone who will always be learning. Last year I did some graduate studies and this year, I began studying for ESL certification which is now almost complete. You can always take more certifications and exams if need be. There might not be jobs and maybe more work, but I’m sure you can do it. Good luck with whatever you decide.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I would do the Provisional and Masters or maybe just the Provisional. There are good points to everything that you are thinking through. I was in your shoes when I was going to college, then decided instead of having more student loans just to do something that would make me happy and fulfill a small part of what I would end up wanting to do. Now, I know what I want to do but it means going back to school for a masters and working to pay off the student loans and school expenses at the same time. Part of me wants to wait until I get this student loan paid off a little more before taking on another loan.
    In other words, sometimes taking the chance is so worth it as long as you are sure. I wasn’t sure, so I did something that would make me happy for the time that I was out of college. It’s more up to what you think you can handle now and what you think is best for yourself!

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  8. You should do what is going to bring you the most joy. What is going to make you happy?
    (I realize by the time I’ve read this, you’ve probably already made a decision, but I’ll put my two cents in anyway!) ;o)
    I always meant to get my Master’s and PhD. Do I have them? No. I wish I could go back and tell myself not to put it off. I wish I had went ahead and started my Master’s program immediately. I know it’s still something I can do, but I’m at a point now where I have to ask myself…”Do I invest in my education or do I invest in my children’s education.” I’m sure you can guess which one is going to win.
    So, my vote. Your first option…(You listed it first, subconsciously, is this what you want most?)
    Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I would think provisional & masters would be your best choice. You get to experience the full responsibilities and deicide if that’s something you’re prepared to do long term. Only the plus side surely having the masters would mean you could teach either college or high school? Also as a side point there are more important things in life than money, so definitely go for what you love.
    Just my thoughts. Best of luck.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Decide on your dream. Then follow the PROCESS that takes you there. Passion creates motivation. It creates excitement. Don’t focus on “how much time you will or won’t have.” That will be determined along the journey. Experiencing the joys of living a purposeful life provides new meaning to “living your life to the max.”
    Choose the path where your heart and brain lead you. It is ALWAYS the right path regardless of the outcome. It ALWAYS leads to GROWTH and DEVELOPMENT.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree. Sometimes I can get so caught up in the end result, that I’m not really enjoying the journey. I always try to remember that the end goal is not happiness, but that happiness is what you aim for along the way (wherever you may end up).

      What would I personally do? I would be against an option that incurs large amounts of debt and takes me away from my family because it would cause too much stress and prevent me from enjoying my day-to-day. You’ve expressed wanting to start a family and to me, family life is more important than the job I use to fund it.

      I’m not that much older than you, but I’ve been working for awhile. Trust me when I say a job that drains you also sucks the joy out of your life. I make excellent money at the moment but I’d trade it for more balance and less stress. You’re defined by who you are and how you live your life, not by your 9-5.

      I wish you all the best in making your decision. Only you know what will take you a step closer to the life you want to lead. If you’re true to yourself and honest with yourself, then you can’t go wrong.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Go with your inner dream while you still are able to do it, before you have kids and commitments. I promis you, that taking an education, while you have kids is very tough. I did it but will not recommend you to do the same. It is very hard. Follow your heart.
    Irene

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  12. Girl, you are thinking too much! I’m sure you already know the answer. Once you look into the panel results, I’m sure deep inside you’re cheerleading for one of the answers to win. Don’t think about the consequences – it’ll never turn out exactly as you predicted. Just follow your heart, you already know what you want to do! Go for it! 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m not going to vote, and I don’t think the result of the vote is going to make you take a particular path. Follow your heart – if you don’t know right at this moment what you want to do then just keep doing what you’re doing each day. Live each moment and see where you end up! You will know when the time is right, which direction to head off in… Good luck!

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  14. Follow your heart, life is to short, and for me it would be to follow Your first gut reaction, for that normally is the true one, any other would be a case of over thinking , in my opinion, take care , and always move forward , xxxx

    Like

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