Sunday, January 5, 2014

When being in school sucks the life out of you....

Typically, I love being in school.  I love learning, I love reading and I love thinking about things from a new perspective.  But today I'm not feeling it.  I'm sad to admit that my doctoral program has sucked the life out of me over this winter break.  The shame of it is that I'm not even officially in class yet.  The even bigger shame of it is that these two classes are the reason why I selected this degree and they are very interesting to me.  I should LOVE being in these classes.  My 'spring' classes start on Friday.  But, just to be prepared for our first class we had to:
  • Read 3 books as well as (large) parts of other books
  • Read lots of articles
  • Write three papers (2 have to be precisely 6 pages and written to the exact specifications inside the professors head that aren't clear on paper but she's given us three pages of 'suggestions to 'help' us understand what she wants; and one that is a 5 page summary)
  • Watch a 2 hour movie, plus a clip of another movie.
We received all of this information maybe the week before Christmas.  Then we started the mad dash of ordering books and planning how to accomplish all of this while also trying to enjoy the holiday and do other household projects.  Enter the HUGE calendar and an awesome friend to support me through this.  I've been plugging away at it, but I don't feel like I've made a tremendously amount of progress.  The big set back was the revision to the paper description that came AFTER I'd written my first draft of the paper.  :-(    So last night as I was reading and reading and reading, I must admit, I started to get really bitter about all this and found myself feeling like this just isn't worth it.  And then I realized that this is a very sad statement about education.  It's not alright for being in school to suck the life out of any student.

I believe strongly that every student, no matter the age -- prek-doctoral studies-- deserves:
  • A relationship with their teacher/professor...at least the person knows their name and shows that they care about your learning
  • A reasonable work load
  • Meaningful tasks that are engaging, memorable and assist in learning important concepts
  • Meaningful feedback to confirm and expand learning
By providing these things, not only are students more excited about learning they actually learn more.  At this point, I'm reading to complete the to-do list, but I don't have the luxury of really thinking about the material. 

I will keep plugging through and I'm sure I'll get it all done by Friday.  I hope that my impression of the professor and the course changes upon officially beginning the class because I really want to learn this content and enjoy it. 

Either way, I think it's important for all teachers to consider these notions on behalf of all students.  Let's resolve to do everything possible to keep learning as a meaningful, enjoyable process!

1 comment:

Chris Wooleyhand said...

A great lesson to share with your teachers. I have been there. Approach it with the thought that nothing, nothing will keep you from your goal.