Posts Tagged ‘professors’

Giving thanks

May 11, 2010 Leave a comment

I finished my last graduate school class yesterday. Looking back on my two years in the program, I realize I have a lot of people I need to thank for my experience. From the very beginning I have worked with remarkably talented, passionate professors. These women shared their love of their fields – reading, curriculum development, literature, writing, mathematics, instruction – and their commitment to good teaching. Their unabashed enthusiasm for research and teaching nurtured my own enthusiasm and helped me feel comfortable sharing it with others.  They focus on different areas of learning, but they all work towards the same goal – improving students’ lives and helping them learn.

After my two years at the Curry School of Education, I know that I have a rich network of brilliant, caring professors to call on as I navigate the ups and downs of classroom life.  I think we often forget that there are people who dedicate their lives to teaching our country’s future teachers.  As I wrap up a life-changing two years and prepare to head into my own classroom, I think it’s a good time to say thank you to these master teachers – and their colleagues at education schools across the country – for everything they do.

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Trade offs in all things

May 4, 2010 Leave a comment

As noted earlier, I had my first meeting – ever – to discuss a project with a professor before I turn it in.  The good from the experience: she thinks I have a good project and we had a great conversation.  The bad: she made at least a half dozen suggestions for improvement “if [I] have time.”  Since I’ve scheduled the rest of my week already and I don’t have time, I’m not quite sure why I went in to talk with her.  Did I think she’d say it was perfect?  I think I went in because 1) I wanted an excuse to talk with her and 2) I started to get nervous holding onto the project but not turning it in yet.  I find it deeply unsettling to finish an assignment and still having it hanging around, unsubmitted, days later.  If I have more days to work, shouldn’t I keep working on it?  But taking that approach, why would one ever work ahead or try to get things done early?  It would just lead to a mad, unending, hamster wheel of work.

I need to avoid falling down the rabbit hole on this assignment, yet show that I didn’t completely waste her time or ignore her advice.  To strike this balance, my plan is to set aside two hours this weekend to make revisions – when time’s up, it gets turned in.  I use this rationed time approach frequently to manage my workload – projects get a certain amount of time, or a certain number of pages, or are limited in some other way that makes sense for that assignment.  I work within those boundaries, and when I reach them, I have to find a way to finish up.  It keeps my perfectionist tendencies in check, keeps my time commitments in line with my priorities, and ensures I have time for everything I need to get done.

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Office hours

May 4, 2010 Leave a comment

I’m in my last week of graduate school and yesterday I realized I hadn’t fulfilled a personal goal of grad school – talking to a professor about an assignment before I turn it in.  I certainly never did this in college, at least not voluntarily.  It seemed like a lot of students around me did – and do – but I’ve never understood how they do it.  There are so many obstacles to making it happen.  First, you have to remember the project earlier than the day or so before.  Second, you have to complete some amount of thinking or work on it to make your project worth meeting about.  And third, you have to get in touch with the professor and schedule the meeting.  Who can do all of that?  And on a regular basis?

Happily for me, one of my professors this year asked that we start thinking about our final projects from the very first class period, then scheduled a mandatory peer review session a week before the final version is due.  This meant that obstacles one and two above were taken care of.  I still almost balked at obstacle three (actually getting in touch to schedule the meeting), but somehow managed to get the two sentence email sent. And now here I am, waiting outside the professor’s office, final project draft nervously in hand, waiting to talk with her.

I’m not sure I even know what to say or do in the meeting, but I figure she’ll probably help me out.  After all, this isn’t her first meeting with a student.

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