Saturday, July 24, 2010


As of today, I finished the work for my fourth class! Hooray!

When I step back, one thing I find interesting about this program is that it doesn't necessarily practice what it preaches. For one thing, we get very little feedback on our work, if any at all. I know that's partly due to the accelerated time frame; the longest we've spent with any one professor is eight sessions (which was still 32 hours). Still, I could count on one hand the number of things I've submitted that have been returned to me, and of those, every one was a minor in-class assessment. In one class, ironically one of the longer ones, we got NOTHING back. Zero. Zilch. The professor, who was great, even took our addresses so he could send us back our journals with comments. They've never arrived, and it's been over a month. I see that I got an A in the class, so I assume that I was on the right track, but I'm a person who really values that input. Work that we do online might as well have been thrown into an abyss, for all I know. I hate that! I know, as a grad student, I shouldn't need a lot of hand holding, but for heaven's sake, not one returned project? Even our 40min presentations went ungraded! Surely there was something that could have used improvement, some area where I was on the money, and a few extra things I could be thinking about for next time? The program stresses 'give feedback to your students, be interactive with your students, don't just talk at them all the time'. The time we spent with my last professor, all we did was sit in our seats and get information crammed down our throats as fast as she could say it, from 5-9:30, with a seven minute break each night to gasp for air (literally, 7 minutes, I don't know what that was about). I just saw that the soon-to-be-replaced program director (who still appears to be teaching one of our courses in the fall, unfortunately - she's the one who was completely unresponsive about all of my admissions paperwork being messed up) will be using straight-out testing based on chapters in a book on instructing math. We have been told countless times in the last two months NOT to evaluate students based solely on standard tests, but apparently that's what we're going to be subjected to - rote learning and regurgitation. Interesting. On the one hand, we're grad students, adults (some much younger than others), and we should be able to force ourselves to learn without as much light and magic as we'll use with our elementary students, but on the other, if brain-based-learning research has shown that people remember concepts much more clearly when they're connected to meaningful discourse and emotional reactions, *and* at the grad level we should be more than capable of higher thinking, shouldn't these professors be modeling what we should be doing ourselves instead of providing a catalog of do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do?

Also, I heard a lovely gem from the diversity professor the other night. She told us that on her first job, the principal walked into the staff room on the first day and commented that she loved walking into a room of lovely teachers, and because of that she didn't hire ugly women. The prof said that they all just looked around the room at each other, not knowing what to say. THEN she told us that this person is still a principal in our county! So, on top of everything else, bad job market, tightening budgets, schools closing or being consolidated, NOW I have to be pretty?! I'm sorry, people, but I am not pretty. I can be occasionally cute, and charming, but pretty is not on my list. I've had two kids, I'm pushing 40, and my ass isn't getting any smaller. Nope. Plus, and I know she's right about this, men get hired for teaching positions almost before they apply, because there's such a shortage of male figures in schools. I can't pull that one off, either, due to a serious (thankful) shortage in the penis department. So... I'm going to be teaching myself hypnosis to use in job interviews. It'll be my ace in the less-attractive, decidedly penis-less hole.

My one good piece of news is that the people at the board of ed know who I am, through almost no action of my own. Last year, when I wasn't getting many calls to sub, I talked a few times to Melanie, the woman in charge of the system, and she was really nice. The other day, I called in to RSVP for the annual sub training, and out of the blue she said, 'I didn't know you were getting your MAT - the woman in charge of clearances came down yesterday to check who was on my list as already having one, and I saw your name!' I was really excited. She remembered me! That has to be a good thing, right?

Also in the good department - after this coming week, I get most of the month of August off!


LoriD said...

Can you imagine if the principal that made that comment had been male? OY.

Enjoy your August off!

Swistle said...

1. You are so right: that is crazy that they're teaching you how to deal with students IN A WAY THEY DON'T DEAL WITH STUDENTS.

2. Also, you totally ARE pretty. I have seen you in person, and I can vouch.

creative kerfuffle said...

i can't believe you are getting zero feedback--how in the hell are you supposed to learn? i'm stunned really.
i'm even more stunned that the pretty-loving principal is still working in your county. unbelievable. if she only hires pretty teachers, it makes me wonder how she deals w/ the variety of kids attending her school. what an ugly, ugly person she is.

d e v a n said...

Um, can't think past the "only pretty teachers" part. Wow.

Kristin.... said...

First-love the new header! And the new photos of the kids on the sidebar!
Second, is that principal serious???? Good lord.