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Beginnings

September 17, 2009

In 1986, I went back to school to get an undergraduate degree (I had only a few credits from a partial year in school before I married and got a Ph.T—putting hubby through—I worked, he got the degree). Before I returned to school, I had interesting jobs as a newspaper reporter, columnist, and editor; graphic designer; and radio production director, but I’d always wanted to be a teacher.

I majored in English and secondary education, minored in special education, and went to work as a high school English teacher after graduation. I also developed and taught in a high school dropout prevention program.

In order to renew my teaching license, I returned to school in the evenings and summer and finished my master’s degree in special education in 1995. After several years teaching college courses as an adjunct instructor while continuing to teach high school, I made the switch to college teaching. To continue teaching in a Master of Arts in Teaching program, I returned to school in 2000 to get a doctorate. I finished in 2005.

In each case, I worked fulltime while going to school and, because of the nature of the teaching jobs I held, I did not have summers off. I still don’t. I have juggled jobs, family responsibilities, and personal passions (I am also an artist and poet) successfully for more than two decades.

As an undergraduate I wrote a handbook for non-traditional students that was published several times. I wrote the program portion of a university student support services grant and served as the program’s first director. I wrote and taught the college success curriculum for this program and used this curriculum in my job as a transfer counselor for a community college success program where I also taught a class on writing for college.

I taught for several years in a university seminar program (the equivalent of Writing 121, 122, and 123) and further developed my work on successful college writing. In my current job as a teacher educator I work with adult students, many of whom are also parents. And, finally, the whole time I’ve been back in school, I’ve been writing about my experiences in journals where I’ve also recorded insights from other people. Why didn’t I start blogging sooner? I should have.

What is it that you need to get started doing?

A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. • Lao Tzu

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