It’s 2015, the year that Marty McFly went “back” to the future and it appears that everything old is new again. Reboots of favourite films from my high school days are on the way (hello Terminator and Star Wars!), Dungeons and Dragons is having a bit of a renaissance and if you aren’t rocking your Doc Martens, then you aren’t cool enough for school. I even saw some Winona Ryder pixie cuts on the Oscars red carpet. I’m even considering going back to university!
I wrote last year about my students graduating high school and heading off into the big, wide world. Well, over the last month-and-a-bit many have been relocating all over the state (and further afield!) ready to begin at university and it has got me thinking about my own uni experiences and my own education. While I had great fun at university, I can’t see myself returning in order to party like its 1999 (thank you, Prince) – I just don’t have the stamina anymore! But as I progress in my career and think about the multitude of other opportunities that lay out there, a post-graduate degree is certainly tempting me.
Post-graduate degree opportunities are everywhere, but for me it needs to be done online. That way I can still have my family-time when I need it, and get to work often enough to still pay the mortgage. It will also avoid any awkward Billy Madison moments for me! Many universities offer online MBA’s which really intrigues me. While I have always thought more of going into professional writing, preferably on a beach somewhere – with a drink in my hand – I can also see the advantage of some formal qualifications as my current career slowly transitions into more leadership roles. An MBA may not seem like an obvious path for a teacher, but as schools become more autonomous it is important for the leadership team to have a sound understanding of modern business practices, including marketing, accounting and data analysis. In fact you may (or may not) be surprised at how much these things are already a part of a teacher’s daily life!
Going back to university is really appealing, and not just for all the potential comedy hi-jinx that might occur, a la the films Old School or Never Been Kissed. (Have I told you about my crush on Drew Barrymore? Another time perhaps.) After all, my love for school and learning was one of the reasons I became a teacher. I love learning new things, broadening my skills and finding ways to apply new learning; a post-grad degree seems like a brilliant opportunity to do all these things.
I can see doing an online degree could be a double-edged sword. It takes a certain kind of discipline to come home after a long day at work, or set aside a few hours on the weekend, to study. The benefits, though, are many. I was talking with a (former) student as she prepared for her very first day at university. Our conversation revolved around arriving early enough to find a car park: I remember the constant fight for a decent spot that wouldn’t require a half-hour walk to campus. Really, what’s the point of driving to uni if I still have to walk that far! Besides avoiding the obvious parking traumas, studying online also means I am able to work at my own pace, in my own office, with my own coffee mug (it’s nice, it has pug on it). There is no worry about being late for lectures, or having to make a tough decision about missing work, an important moment with my kids, or seeing my tutor.
It took me eight years to complete my first degree, studying between jobs and trying to find a balance between all the facets of life. Back then, these kinds of options for online study just didn’t exist (yes, there was an internet, I’m not that old!). I would have jumped at the chance to study online while working my job and pursuing my wife! Now seems like an excellent opportunity to revisit the idea of further education.
Have you studied online? Have you done an MBA? I’d love to hear about your experience.