Too Old For School

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It is true, I am slowing down.

My mind doesn’t race from one thing to the next and I can spend long periods of time researching a topic or even reading an entire book without distractions.

That’s new for me and this skill came with age.

Endless determination and energy is what got me from poor to middle class, but I have always wonder what would happen if I did finally finish a degree.

It is not like I am not educated. In fact I am very well read, researched, molded and cured. I have plenty to show for my colourful life, so it was never wasted. I have worked in many fields, done many interesting things and I have seen much of this magnificent world.

I am one of the lucky informally educated or uneducated people of my generation!

However to start a traditional education at 43 in a university, working and taking part time courses; seems like a huge undertaking. The road ahead seems long when all my previous credits are 16 years and older and cannot be appled towards my current degree.

No worries though, as my life experiences and world travel gives me a lot to draw from when applying them to my Education Studies program. In fact so far, I cannot believe how much of the curriculum just seems like common sense.

Before Alfonz and I were too busy travelling, working and setting up a new expat life in some country or another, raising babies, or constructing a new business from the ground up to even think about slowing down. Always pressing forward! There was never time to go back to school for 3-4 years.

It was something I always wanted to do. And in many ways I wanted to show my children a good example, to go and get their degree first before the responsibilities come, and to take the help that we as parents offer. That is something we never had. OPTIONS!

Somehow I lean towards the idea that this is a new trend in the world. You know, for people over forty, now that they have established themselves a little bit, perhaps not having to worry about the next paycheque, they go back to school to do something a little more suited to their personalities, perhaps even more rewarding.

Honestly 6 years ago when I started teaching, I had no idea how much I would love it. Every day is a gift, always different, and endless challenges. I question if I would have loved it this much if I started as a teacher all those years ago when I started working fulltime at Canada Safeway making union wages? I don’t think so.

What separated me from others back then is the same as what separates me now; the ability to read people and talk to and communicate clearly to make them understand. It made me a good employee, which in turn made me a good manager, and those skills are transferable to teaching. Teachers draw from their own personal experiences and bring them to the table. Listening to what our students need, making sure we do whatever is in our power to help them, and to relentlessly believe in their abilities. No different than running a business and training good staff.

I bet so many of us have got stuck in a job that pays well which never quite felt right.  We stay out of fear of never making that much money again. We find a security in staying put in our ruts and it becomes a comfortable place to build a routine.

And so it goes. We press on.

We remain untrue to what we really want to do while our obligations mount. Mentally we convince ourselves that this is the only answer.

We make the best of it.

We never leave our comfort zones.

I know at the Open University they have 18 year olds right up to 92 year olds! I take comfort in knowing that I fall somewhere smack in the middle. Just like my new found middle age.

Is online learning a blip do you think?

More and more employers are understanding the value of online learning. They want us to acquire a skill but they do not want us to stop working and turning the wheels of their businesses.

With so many online courses and educational vocations offered online, I can only imagine a world where more learn online; from junior highschool right up to university. I can imagine cooking in the comfort of your own home, while someone like Julia Childs works from her own kitchen live in front of you. I can imagine robot teachers correcting homework. I can also imagine tutors via Skype. My imagination is pretty vivid, in fact I can imagine every teacher teaching online to the students they have now. Lessons online, questions online, and even exams online. It would save a whole lot of paper.

School could be for socialization, project based learning, and team building skills where instructors that lead the students and not teach them. I can imagine a place where kids come together to play, think, and grow. The boring stuff students can whiz through at home.

With returning to school, I know I am taking a giant leap. I have always promised to be close to home for my children, and when I worked full time or two jobs, I found it hard to physically go into university to take the courses I wanted. I managed a few, and took anything that fit, but my busy life, paying bills, starting a family, and building a house always came first. Life never made an easy path towards education for me until online courses started to appear.

Now it is not only feasible to work and take courses, but I can see more and more people doing this in their spare time. I feel that this porthole will be the only way to learn in the future making information available to everyone with an internet connection.

And cheaper than contemporary educational systems! Yup 17,000£ for a BA in education studies, where it would mount three times that back home living off student loans to make the bills. My teaching friends back home are anywhere from $80,000 -$150000 in debt! Crazy!

Back in the day, most university students could not go to their tutorials, classes and work at the same time. They had to travel to their classes, go to the library, and spent most of their days on campus. The Internet has made information readily available to millions of students, saving travel time, and making a degree feasible.

Moreover, I cannot see myself ever stopping this learning process. I hope to continue my education for the next twenty years. It feels like this is the next phase of my life, not to see the world, but to learn and understand all those why questions I have accumulated along the way.

I want to learn so many things it would take me another life time to get it all in as my interests are so varied. As more and more courses are offered, more and more students will take advantage of online universities. Once a Star Trek episode, now it is a reality! The future is already here folks, and it is time to embrace it!

Well, so far, the course itself has been easy to follow. On my student page it really spells things out, making it super easy to follow my personalized schedule. I have a personal tutor to help me succeed. Our forums are full of other students taking the same programs. Everything is logically written in the simplest possible format for success. My timetable is mapped out so I know exactly what is due and when.

The best part! It gives me comfort to hear all the success stories from the Open University. They are the best known, and most credible online university offered online today. I hope my own success story will be added to the website!

radio interview expat eva
Eva Hamori talking to Kirk Lapointe live via Skype from Capestang France

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