Spring Term has let me figure out that I do, in fact, have the work ethic to be an effective university student at my age. Something I didn’t really have when I was twenty. If you look back at my academic record during my first sojourn at university, you will discover that I was an erratic student with a general downward trend. Every year I attended, there were good marks and bad marks, basically dependent on how interested I was in the course overall, but with each successive year both sets were a little bit lower.
This time, with less of my life ahead of me after my potential graduation, my motivations are a bit different. I can handle the workload and I can put in the time. That was as true then as it is now. What’s different now is that I’m willing to.
And that willingness, ultimately, comes from an understanding of the nature of time and how limited it really is. At 20, I think I had an underlying belief that a lifetime is a long time and so I had a long time too figure things out and accomplish my goals. That’s less than perfectly true, but it’s certainly truer at 20 than it is at 50. At 50, the perception is much different and the awareness of that perception is much more conscious. There is far less time than you want there to be to do all of the things that you’ve always wanted to do, and all of the things you still want to do.
The path I’ve set myself on is supposed to lead to a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics followed by a Bachelor of Education. The objective is to be a mathematics teacher, backed up by physics, and potentially a couple of social sciences as well, at the high school or possibly college level. This could, in theory, be done as little as three years from now. Taking a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics, which has fewer prescribed courses and more elective flexibility, paired with courses from my previous academic career that actually have adequate grades, and getting into a teacher’s college that does the program in four consecutive terms instead of two terms per year for two years, would mean that just a little bit more than three years from right now, I would be staring down the throat of my last set of exams and evaluations.
There are no guarantees, of course. I have a lot of academic work to do between now and the potential of Teacher’s College.
My preferred path is a Bachelor of Science, though, which has more of those prescribed courses but also keeps more doors open in other areas, and with a full physics minor, before the teaching degree. This takes us to a minimum of four years.
I’m also not willing to mentally close the door on the idea of falling in love with academia and wanting to do a Master’s Degree. Depending on the program type, that can be done in as little as 12 months with the appropriate work ethic and time commitment.
So, considering all of the possibilities, I’m looking at somewhere between three and six years to reach that goal. And the goal itself just marks another beginning.
Let’s round things off to 5 years: three to cover the needed requirements for the B.Sc. and two more for the B.Ed. If I’m successful in gaining entrance to the time- compressed Education program with no summer vacation involved, then I’ll pick up a year. Five years puts me ready to start into my first teaching job at the tender age of 55. That doesn’t sound so bad, does it? Well, when the roughly accepted standard retirement age in Canada is 67, that doesn’t sound as good as it might have.
But I don’t feel that old yet.
And then I remember that I’m part of generation X. As an overall cohort, I think most of us have accepted the idea that an early or even on time retirement is not in the cards. The economic society left to us by prior generations is not conducive to it and it still feels like we’ve never been numerous enough or loud enough to push things to be better. Maybe, with the help of the Millennials and Gen Z, there’s still potential to get enough changes done to fix a lot of the broken things.
Probably not in time to let me retire at 67, though.
And I’m OK with that. I’m not particularly keen on retirement and 100% leisure time, if that’s what it actually means.
Assuming I will be in what I hope will be my final career until age 70 or so, that gives me at least 15 years as a teacher. So the question becomes, after I figure out the path to I’ll take to that new beginning, what is the basic shape of the path I want to follow in that teaching career? Still a lot to think about and work out.
Yeah, none of this exactly explains why I haven’t posted much in the last little while. We’re getting there.
Be well, everyone.by