Back to School

By Melissa Miller, Ed.D., M.Ed.

Ask, and you shall receive! Awhile back I wrote a blog about my desire to become a student again. Oh, how I missed the back-to-school feeling, the excitement of the new syllabus and mapping out the course assignments. Well, fate has struck and I am enrolled in a Post-Master’s Certificate program at the request of the University where I teach. It is a specialization I am seeking, and they offered to foot the bill, so how could I say no?

For starters, I forgot the joys of registration. Registrar: “We need your transcripts.” Me: “Here are my most recent trancripts from my doctorate degree.” Registrar: “No, this is a Post-Master’s Program, so we need your Master’s Degree transcripts.” Me: “What have I gotten myself into?”

I forgot the joys of writing papers. Maybe I am getting old, maybe I am tired, or maybe I have just reached the end of the road as an official student. But this time, going back has been hard! I was an eager, excited student – now I find myself putting off papers until the last minute, dreading reading the assigned chapters, all the while asking myself what is wrong with me? Why did I used to love this? Where did my passion go? Is it because I’ve seen behind the curtain at Oz? Or am I just comfortable in the role of the teacher and less so as the student? There are actually other professors in this class with me, and several have remarked that they feel the same way! Why do we struggle to learn new things as we get older? Am I really an old dog? When I was working on my doctorate, I was somewhat young, and I was finshing up my dissertation when pregnant. Everyone said to me, “Do it now, while you’re young!” and I kind of laughed it off. Now I would swear by it. I honestly don’t know if I could take that on again!

I still love learning, of course. I just think I’ve reached that point where I just want to do it on my own time, at my own pace. But, there is something to be said for being pushed, like in a class, because otherwise, we would not be pushing ourselves. So I know the value of the courses – maybe I am just feeling lazy? Can that be it? No!

Have you gone back to school as an Adjunct? Do you find it easier or harder once you have been teaching? I thought I would be excited and eager, and I am really just feeling de-motivated and overwhelmed. How do you manage teaching and learning?

About the New Adjunct: Dr. Melissa Miller completed her Ed.D. with an emphasis in Teacher Leadership from Walden University. She holds a M.Ed. from Mary Washington University and a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from Virginia Tech. Dr. Miller’s professional and research interests include adult and online learning, professional development, and literacy. Presently, Dr. Miller works as an adjunct instructor and an evaluator, while also enjoying her roles as a wife and mother.

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