One of my favorite things in life is the ability to have multiple interests, hobbies and yes even dreams. Whenever I talk to people about careers I always say I had a dream to do one thing or another. You see I was raised in a family that moved around a lot. Being bipolar I also got used to having excessive swings in energy and thus interests too. I dabbled in a little bit of everything.
This jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none mindset served me quite well as a journalist. One of my former editors said we have a knowledge base a mile wide and an inch deep. In other words we know a tiny bit about a lot but aren’t exactly experts in anything other than telling stories. Well I have had plenty of life long dreams. Fortunately I studied mass communications in college. The reason behind that was it being a pretty wide field. Everyone I know who goes into mass media, journalism and entertainment tends to be pretty flexible. Most run the gamut working in theater, Television, newspapers, magazines, radio, podcasts, YouTube, live entertainment and even weddings. When you work in a field as broad as mine you tend to follow several different career paths. This is because you really do learn a wide range of skills that are easily transferable to a number of jobs.
This has served me well in my temp days. Bouncing from one office temp job to the next. As a journalist I was an office manager, data entry, supply purchaser, inventory manager and customer service rep rolled into one professional gossiper. There are several career paths a journalist can follow. Some climb the ladder seeking upper management positions or larger markets. Others branch out into the corporate world putting their communication skills to use in marketing, advertising or public relations. A good number of journalists eventually strive to explore other writing ventures such as publishing novels or getting into book publishing somehow. Then there is the path my mentor followed. The path I am sorta loosely considering myself. That path is education.
Unlike those who wake up and say I want to be a teacher journalists get into education by circumstance. You see by it’s very nature a news reporter is an educator. We are educating the masses to the political, cultural, societal, entertainment, athletic, education, public relations, business, government, international, ethical, criminal, and yes gossip around town. We have to learn to research, study, process and as questions. We are full time students plus full time educators rolled up into one trade that requires us to be constantly learning new things our entire lives. As we grow older we begin to desire to impart the knowledge in a different light. Thus we turn to education later in our careers.
This is the path I am seeking now. It is not a direct path. I didn’t take courses in English in college paired up with early childhood development, psychology and then earned a teaching certificate. No rather what I did was pursued a degree that was 50 percent BA in English, 50 Percent BS in mass communications. Of course if you were to discuss qualifications I did take courses in psychology, philosophy, linguistics, rhetoric and yes even sociology. So where does this lead me now? How do I translate this into teaching, or more broadly education?
Like other journalists before me the schooling I complete coupled with my work experience naturally makes me a good fit for imparting knowledge. However there is a long road ahead.
First there is desire. When in college they prepare you for this by saying most journalists eventually end up in education or PR anyways. Many of us minor in political science or English with a teaching emphasis anyways. I nearly did this myself. Desire is not enough.
Second there is opportunity. A former journalist wishing to pivot into education often has a few opportunities to get them started down that new path. One substitute teaching. This typically doesn’t require specific degrees rather just a desire and willingness to work with children. However it can be difficult to land these jobs without much in the way of experience. That is where trial runs come in. I am talking about teaching-light as in tutoring.
Next, developing a plan. It does require a completed undergraduate degree with a teaching certificate in order to be truly qualified to teach properly. This is in the primary and secondary levels of course. If one wants to teach at post-secondary level they must earn a Masters Degree in something. That requires even more schooling than before. For me the path will eventually include going back to school to seek a BA in English. Not a BS in mass comm or journalism, a proper English degree with a proper teaching certificate. In order to get on that path I have been considering, long and hard for quite a while now, going into the world of tutoring.
Finally there is executing the plan. I started out taking temporary office jobs through staffing agencies. This was an interim to help me hone a few of my administrative skills I was lacking elsewhere. It was also to bide my time while I figured out what I really wanted to do. Tutoring is the first step to get me on that path. I finally found a firm willing to give me a temporary, seasonal opportunity to utilize an emergency COVID-19 measure in one of the relief laws that allows students to receive a certain about of emergency tutoring paid for by the government. These jobs are government contracts. Because it is an emergency authorization they are lowering the barrier of entry thus I was able to get picked for one of these jobs. I will be tutoring elementary students in reading to help them prepare to pass their STAAR test. It is a temporary job. I am not too excited for it on the surface other than it being my first step on a new career path I have long contemplated.
Ever since dropping out of high school the second time I have long dreamed of returning to school not as a student but as a teacher. I didn’t declare being a teacher as my proper life-long dream. As I stated above I have held numerous dreams. Again thankfully I have been blessed to pursue many of them throughout the years. I have been a professional DJ, photographer, writer, TV producer and news reporter, among others. I have lived my dream for the most part. However I never stopped thinking that someday, never knew when but knew someday I would settle into education somehow.
This is that time. I am making that pivot from mass educator (journalist) to one-on-one educator (tutor) so that I can eventually walk the path that will lead me in due time to classroom instructor (teacher). It will take me a few years to get there. Fortunately I am now at the age where with my combined work and life experience with my mental maturity I am ready to being taking those next steps. This is not going to be an easy path. It will require me to let go of some of my previous pursuits. Lucky for me I know teachers who are also published authors, YouTubers, Podcast hosts and Streamers so I know I won’t have to give up any of my other ventures to follow this path. What I do know is I am ecstatic to be on this path now. It took me a long time to get here. It took a lot of waking up in the middle of the night from a dream where I was in a classroom to realize that is where I belong. My entire life’s work has been preparing me for this next opportunity and it starts now with my accepting a part-time emergency tutoring position. I am ready. I am excited. I couldn’t be happier!