I love lifelong learning, I really do. The principle of our capacity and need to improve ourselves through education beyond our school or university years is very dear to me, and equally dear to many people I know.
My own school history was mixed, transitioning from a mixed primary school to a single-sex private school at age 8, missing an entire year of schooling due to health problems and therefore not finishing school until I was 19, starting and not completing degrees at university twice and then finally completing my degree at the fifth (I won’t bore you with the details of attempts 3 and 4) attempt not short of my 40th birthday.
In the past four years I have completed: PTLLS level 3 (enabling me to teach in Further Education), level 2 qualifications in mentoring, principles of business administration, maths & English, two professional accountancy qualifications, both a Postgraduate Certificate and a Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Practice in Education, short one-day qualifications in food safety & emergency first aid. Oh and in the next two weeks I will complete a 15,000 word dissertation on a piece of original research for a Masters in Professional Practice in Education.
I need a break. I had been thinking of moving on after the Masters to do an EdD (doctorate), but for a while at least I need to stop and smell the flowers, and watch the piles of blu-rays and listen to the piles of CDs that have built up over the past few months.
The decision not to move forwards, at least for the time being, towards a doctorate was at first difficult but eventually came down to one simple fact, I don’t need it. If I were pursuing a career in an institute of higher education then that might be something I would more aggressively pursue, but for now, that’s not the plan.
I have been lucky to be able to undertake a lot of my learning either funded by my workplace or the government, or at a reduced rate, but even so there is a financial cost, even if that cost was within my means. Two weeks ago today I returned from my first holiday overseas in about 15 years, and I want to do more of that. I will still be involved in lifelong learning, but I will be learning languages and cultures, replacing certificates with photographs and experience. I am not saying that one is better than the other as the choice is individual to each of us, rather that it is my choice for now.
Of course the learning doesn’t stop completely. As a professional, both as a teacher and an accountant, CPD (continuing professional development) are still part of what I will be doing on a regular basis, but where possible I will be avoiding academic courses for a while, as I take some time to refresh, recharge, read and, who knows, spend some more time on here writing.