I decided to work full time as a Resource Teacher of Vision and complete a Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Primary) online. Thankfully I was able to use my experience as an early childhood teacher and as an ORS teacher to help me with my assignments. It wasn't all new, but it was engaging and it made me want my own classroom (which I did in Term 4 - see below).
One of reason's why I did so well in an online capacity was because I already have a good comprehension of what it takes to be an "online" learner. I have gathered lots of information via my PLN (professional learning network) about e-learning and blended e-learning. I was also already engaged in the world of a teacher.
In January 2013 I set up a Facebook group with another student for the other 15 or so people in my original tutor group. None of us had met before. That group of strangers became my best friends. They were my rock they were there for me in the late hours of the night when I needed them (I did most of my work in the evening and luckily 2 students were in other time zones hours behind!). I also ended up being a mentor for my group. The one with "connections" to the profession, who was already practicing what we were learning.
From this I set up my "Northern Suburbs" study group with 2 of the guys in my tutor group and our first exam study session involved craft beer and corn chips. We have celebrated both sets of exams with craft beer and pizza at Goldings Free Dive and I know we will be friends for life.
On our residency we all came into the Karori campus and saw each other for the first time. We became instant friends. We were the only tutor group to go out for dinner together. We were in it together right from the start.
So it turns out that the person I study best with lives in Nelson. Skype is one of the most amazing tools. So are Google docs. So much collaboration, so much moaning, so many wines! I even took a study trip to Nelson for a change of scenery. Again a life-long friend was made.
So on reflection, my success comes down to the people I surrounded myself with. That people are a valuable resource. That networking is a fantastic skill to have.
And yes I did get my own classroom. In term 4 last year I started teaching a Year 5/6 class. It was hard slog picking up something new and still studying. I also went on camp for a week and returned that weekend to do a 5000 word portfolio to hand in on the Monday! I tell you! I am nuts!
So this year is a little bit special for me. I only have to focus on one thing - Teaching. Something I love to do and something that I love to share with others.