Thinking about my post-teaching life and grad school


Photo from BEd graduation, circa spring 2009, courtesy of this guy.

I vividly remember–still freshly cap and gown’d–the innumerable (and inevitable) post-convocation conversations. Wonderful and well-meaning people would ask me, the English major in the teacher education program, so what are you going to do now? They, of course, innocently assumed that I would be teaching, desperately scrambling for that full-time posting, teaching those infuriating-but-inspiring teenagers. Hm, well, perhaps… but actually? My perfect world would involve working as a substitute high school teacher, and working part-time at a bookstore.

Shock, dismay, et cetera et cetera, and I depart the conversation with a gleeful grin pasted on my face into the blue-sky sunshine of my future. And I made that dream land/perfect world a reality; I did what I wanted, and I worked myself into the depths of the earth.

So I did teach, and it became something involving a bit of contract, and it was a great experience. But, then, in the absence of teaching, when not teaching was woefully forced upon me by my lack of bilingualism, I realized how good it felt. How much of a relief it was to no longer face the impending doom of those dreaded first three years in “my own classroom”. How valid my education was in a non-education context. How work was not The Most Important, and was not the centre of my human identity.

And then (also) that perhaps teaching was not even what I wanted to do at all.

And so (thank goodness) after many a conversation with my job share partner, she–ever so gently, in her 30+ years of teacher wisdom–eased in the idea of counselling. Also known as: Me being a counselor (and, Christian kids, not of the camp sort).

Oh no no no no no no no. Not me.

(This is when I self talk, and say “Christie, when have we said that before?”, and rightfully feel all the ‘I told you so’s.)

Three years later (after helpfully seeing a counselor myself, I must add), I put on my big girl panties and applied to grad school. Not for an MEd, nor for an MA in English, nor for anything else I originally imagined… for a Master’s in Counselling & Spirituality. And, the strange thing is, I wasn’t–relatively speaking for me–the least bit stressed* about applying. At times, I even felt quite ambivalent about the results of my application.

* If you know me, you know that not being stressed about something can be a fairly good indicator of the aforementioned something being awesome.

And (then), in the midst of all my (much appreciated!) God-given peace, I was granted an admissions interview. For grad school. Very, very shortly after that (meaning I barely had time to tell friends how the interview went), I received my official letter of admission. 


Ladies and gentlemen,
I am legitimately
and officially
on my way to grad school.

* Obviously, there are details: Deferring for a year, taking two Psychology courses online to meet the requirements, manifesting money, etc. Will elaborate later.

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6 thoughts on “Thinking about my post-teaching life and grad school

  1. sharelley says:

    Remember that time when we both diligently worked on our undergrads in English, and then our PDP programs, and then we both decided not to teach? I love it . I love that there is someone on this path with me to figuring out “what’s next”.

    Besides the counselling part, I could have written this verbatim except mine would end in the discovery of business writing (english!) and human resources (teaching people!) which is essentially the two main things I wanted to do anyway.

    We really do need to debrief this sometime. Love the post.

    • Christie Esau says:

      Indeed Sharelle, I do remember that time, and OH how I appreciate our shared experience. And isn’t it funny (re: your thoughts in brackets) that what we wanted to do in the first place–really–just looks a little different than we imagined?

      And yes. I am ALL for the debrief. Skype perhaps?

  2. Karissa Rowe says:

    Which school are you thinking?

    • Christie Esau says:

      I’ve been accepted to Saint Paul University here in Ottawa! It certainly wasn’t my first thought, but after visiting and knowing more people from the program, it became an excellent fit.

  3. Anjali says:

    Way to go Christie!

    • Christie Esau says:

      Thanks so much Anjali! Hearing some of your stories certainly helped me along the way to applying.

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