Posted by Julia Jean Jackson-Fowler
I do not like labels. They are sticky value judgments, and they’re next to impossible to remove. One very big reason I enrolled in SLU’s School for Professional Studies is that I have one very big label I am trying to lose: I am a Green-Eyed Monster.
That’s what Miss B. called me in 4th grade, right in front of my classmates. She looked me in the eye and said, “You are a Green-Eyed Monster!”
Translation: “In addition to your green eyes, you are constantly in motion, roaming the classroom, roaring with laughter, and making it difficult for me to teach!” I would have much preferred the label ADHD, but it was 1969, and hyperactivity was not benign-it was monstrous.
I spent most of my school years living up to my label. That isn’t really Miss B.’s fault-traditional classroom learning was always a challenge for me. I dragged myself through more than five years of college, and finally left school for a career in journalism (I know-spare me the joke).
After 25 years in broadcasting, I began looking for a new career, and was stunned by the number of companies that wouldn’t even let me in the door for an interview. The bottom line: I did not have a college degree. And the Green-Eyed Monster reared its ugly head.
I entered the School for Professional Studies with great trepidation. The last thing I wanted to do was share my spotty transcript with a college advisor. I was encouraged when she didn’t laugh, and even more optimistic when she didn’t recoil in horror at my distracted, Green-Eyed tendencies. SPS fearlessly signed me up for an online course in my absolute worst subject: Math. It was nothing short of a death match for me and my monster.
I was blown away by the ease of SPS’s online format, which allowed me to immerse myself in math, discuss concepts/formulas with my professor and online classmates, and take tests any time of day or night (I function best when everyone else is asleep). By the end of the class, I had slain the monster with my first ‘A’ in math-ever!
There is nothing impersonal about taking SPS classes online. Professors encourage us to do more than simply ‘answer’ the assignment questions; we are expected to share our own insights and opinions. I believe I’m more focused and candid online than I might be in a live, classroom discussion. For me, that makes the whole online learning experience more productive and meaningful.
In memory of how far I’ve come, my SPS online profile will always include my fourth grade school photo.
I hope to finish my degree in 2013-one year before my 18-year-old son graduates! Even if I cross the stage before he does, I will never be through with school. SPS has uncovered in me a love for learning that I will never lose. Label me a “Lifelong Learner.”