Sunday, December 4, 2011

Graduate School... My Next Endeavor

Immediately following undergrad I wanted to stay on my parent's medical insurance and consider my career options so I enrolled in several classes at Cleveland State University in counseling and education.  I enjoyed the counseling classes a lot and seriously considered going for my school and clinical counseling degree/licenses.  Then, I found a master's program at The Ohio State University for English Education which sounded perfect for me.  I applied immediately but due to some mix ups on my part and on theirs I was non-degree seeking for the three courses I took (one a quarter) for the year. By the end of the year I'd been accepted I was a bit disillusioned by the process and felt like I needed to return to Cleveland.  I will say though, I felt I held my own quite well in English classes filled with PhD candidates and students persuing their Master's in English.  It hit me, that I perhaps was more equipped to handle a tougher program than I initially thought.  The following fall I was substitute teaching and, since I'd never not been enrolled in school since the fall of 1989 I decided to take a few online classes at CSU.  I did not like those classes so I decided to take a break from graduate school after acquiring approximately 23 credit hours.

Cut to today.  At times I am in love with my job and incredibly fulfilled by it.  But other times, unfortunately more often than I care to admit, I am fearful for my job security and reminded that I am not using all of my skills and talents as a teacher when I am performing my duties as a classroom aide.  After attending the National Council of Teacher's of English convention a few weeks ago I was renewed with this drive to find a teaching position and do what I do best; teach English!  Coupled with uncertainty about my current position being around past this year I have decided it is time to reconsider graduate school.

For a few months now I've been weighing my options.  Should I finish a master's in counseling?  Get my special education license because that seems the only way to get hired?  Perhaps a master's degree in English )which is what private/independent schools prefer, can help you get chosen for AP/Advanced English positions, and gives you the option of teaching at the community college) is the best option.  There are certainly pros and cons to each.  After looking at several programs, considering my career aspirations, and evaluating the costs I think I have finally made my decision.

I am going to apply for the English Master's program at John Carroll University.  When it comes down to it I enjoy the English classes I take more than I do the education courses.  I feel more stimulated and inspired by them.  I still am really interested in counseling, but the job prospects are just as dim if not dimmer in that field so I'm not sure it would really help me in the long run.  While the special education certification may land me a job I'm afraid it's just not where my passion lies.  I have a soft spot for my students who have special needs but unfortunately I think that with a special education license I could end up having to teach more than just English and honestly I am not interested in that!  I really want to teach English and I think an MA in English will help me do that.  Not only may I still be able to work with high school students but I will be qualified to teach at the community college level.  There is a lot of appeal to teaching at that level and I think it would provide a unique challenge for me.

Earlier this week I finished the online part of the application.  Today I requested my transcripts from all of my previous universities.  Tomorrow I will be getting at least one of my recommendations and hopefully finalizing my statement of intent.  Ideally I will apply by the 17th which I believe is the deadline for spring quarter.  If things go according to plan I'd like to take one course, to get back in the swing of things, this spring.  Here's hoping, as well, that at least two of the courses I took at OSU will transfer!

Wish me luck!  Any advice as I finish up my application?


  1. Sara,
    My brother in law is the head of first year composition at John Carroll and if you do end up enrolled there, you would end up taking his class first semester. Would you like to talk to him about the program at all? I know he's kind of busy with the end of the quarter, but I'm sure he would be happy to answer any questions you might have!

  2. Thanks, I can't think of any questions I have at the moment, but I will keep that in mind!