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Monday, October 02, 2006 

Back to School

Well, I did it again. I'm taking classes to finish up my Bachelors that was started over 14 years ago. Some of you know I grew up near, and went to school for a few years at, Syracuse University- the school I always wanted to attend growing up in Upstate NY. After the Bioengineering program ate my lunch and spat it out at me, I took a few years off and did some work in construction and eventually jumped into the Air Force to get my head screwed on straight.

When I left the military to opt for the family life, I knew I had to finish what I started. I was there in Albuquerque so I dove back into school at the University of New Mexico. I did school part-time as I worked at the Albuquerque Biological Park while procreating at an alarming rate. When my wife and I had 5 kids in 4 years I knew it was time to elevate my pay grade! (as well as get cable!)

We moved to the Las Vegas valley at the end of 2002 right after my baby girl was born. The jobs paid more and there was much greater opportunity to be exploited in the booming Vegas job market. Unfortunately the amount of hours I worked didn't allow for the coexistence of schooling and sanity.

Recently I've really got to thinking about what I really want to do with myself. My job of the past several months has been very successful and full of promotional opportunity, however it still doesn't seem to satisfy a deep seeded desire.

When I was working out of my house during the calendar year of 2005 I became addicted to my kids. I wanted to be a part of everything they did. I wanted them to know that they could rely on me to be there for them. I loved helping them with their homework, teaching them how to play baseball, and just good ole fashion goofing around. The bond I established with them that year profoundly affected me. So much so that I have reevaluated the course I want my life to take.

I started a new job where I am now working 10 to 12 hour days 5 days a week. I go to work right before my three boys go to second grade and don't get home until about 5 minutes before their bedtime. I no longer get to help them with their homework. I no longer have the energy to clown around and play with them like I used to. However, I do have a stable job with benefits and promotional opportunities. It just feels like I'm missing something.

I decided to dive back into school. I am now studying to be a teacher. It's going to take at least 2 years at one night a week to finish up my Bachelors but I'm going to finally do it. I want to be off of work when my kids are out of school. I want to be there for them when they experience the horrors of growing up in the maddening junior high school culture. I want to know the parents of the kids they decide to hang out with. I want to be inimately involved in their educational development. I want to turn them into the men (and the woman) that will be a great father (and a great Mother). Most of all and most selfishly, I want them to be proud of me.

My career choice isn't going to pay off financially but it will provide my heart with the satisfaction of knowing that I'm going to be a father who was there for his children. Perhaps there's a measure of selfishness in that, but it seems to be the type of selfishness that is positively based as far as their futures go.

As far as my sanity goes? I'll need all the blessings available to withstand the pressures of completing my new assignments- all the while maintaining the high standard I set for myself at my place of employment. Thankfully I have an amazing wife who is completely behind me and totally understands my motivation, despite our potential future financial strains. She understands that it is more important to be devoted to the raising of the next generation than it is to be accumulating wealth. If there was a way to incorporate the two I sure hope I discover it! Nonetheless, I admire the respect and motivation she provides me as I tackle this new goal.

Wish me luck for I'll desperately need it... now it's time to get a couple of papers written!

Sounds like the team has a plan! Best of luck to both of you! It's great to hear a father say he wants to spend more time with his family. I'm sure there's a few rough patches ahead but the benefits will be many!

Peaks,
Your doing right Brah! Be assured, the benefits will far out weigh the hardships!! Well done!

btw, now that yor goun to be a teecher and all, youin best knot be currectin my writin any! U here me!?

Your blog helped me to understand that I am not as selfish as I once thought either. I have decided to go back to school as well. I earned my Bachelor's degree in Business only 3 years ago, and discovered, only after I had my son Dalton, that fighting for raising profits for a company I could care less about didn't fit into my life anymore. The type of snack my kid ate, or what cartoon charcter he was now in love with did. I became "addicted" too. I think teaching is the right career also. It isn't just the fact that I will able to know everything my child does all the time or be able to be home when he is. It is the fact that this "addiction" I have for my child could definitly want to spread to other children as well. Especially those whose parents haven't made the time for them. I enjoyed your blog, look for mine anytime on backtoschoolwithkids.blogspot.com

Wow! A man with integrity and gumption. We could use a few more teachers like you. The pay isn't as terrible as they advertise, and you get summers off. It is possible to live that way, you just have to re-adjust your priorities. Last bit of advice from a teacher; it is easy to bring work home at night or on the weekend. DON'T! Remember the ones who got you to where you are (Family). The work will be there when you return.

No doubt your students will reach the Peak of perfection. It is good to see solid morals heading into the classroom.

You guys are great, thanks for the morale boost! It's something I've thought about and thought about... Finally I got my butt to quit thinking about it and do something about it. The next couple of years are going to be insane but I know I'll look back on it and be glad I did it.

Thanks for the kind words...
...oh and Ssssteve, you've got to do sumthin'bout dat spellin! Its'a like nails onna chalkboard! urr sumthin...

Hey... sounds like me!! I took 14 years off between classes, too - finished up at UNLV in 1999 with my teaching credential (secondary ed / math) ... not using it, but so happy I did it. Two babies in 7 mos ... does that count? Mine came after the school. Good Luck!

MJ: that definatelly counts! Thanks for the well wishes, do you still live here in the Vegas Valley?

Beautiful choice, Peakah. At the end of the day when you lay your head on your pillow, you'll rest peacefully knowing you put your best efforts in areas that matter most. (Besides, spending more time with our witty and cute children makes us happier people in general, I think). You'll be a fine teacher. :)

As a teacher, I know this world needs dedicated, awesome, male teachers who can be really good role models.

Just so you know...the 10-12 hours a day will continue. I have close to 200 students over the course of a year (high school); all of them are very different and have many challenges (learning, personality, wacko parents).

Despite the long hours, hard work, walking on eggshells, and general questioning "self" about whether or not it was the right the thing to do because of the stress, hours, etc...I have come to the conclusion that yes, it is worth everything. You get the chance to impact lives in a positive way, where maybe someone else might have been a negative impact. I am seeing students from my first year of teaching come back to substitute and go on to teaching or other fields. It is the most heart-warming experience to see them grown and taking on mature challenges.

You will be angered by what you see in education, you will realize that it isn't all in the teachers' hands to change, but you will also see and reap the enormous rewards that come with seeing children "get it."

Just this week I exchanged the fist high five with a former student because he was so happy about the grades he is now receiving on his writing assignments. He is thanking me,, but I know he is also working very hard.

Good luck and if you ever need a pep talk when you begin your career, you know where to find me. I needed the pep talk for the first five years...that seems to be the norm.

BTW...I didn't start teaching until I was 31. You'll have your head screwed on much better than most of the younger teachers and you'll be able to handle the stress a little better.

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  • I'm Peakah
  • From White Mountains, Arizona, United States
  • ...this isn't who it would be, if it wasn't who it is...
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