Dissertation Defense in T-16 days

I just sent out the final draft of my dissertation to my committee.  There will still be some minor edits, and there is the presentation to continue preparing, but this degree is winding down.

I picked up my graduation regalia last week and still can’t quite believe that I am almost done.

I’ve been counting down since the week before spring break – it was the 4 week mark until my defense date on April 14th.

I’ve been telling people that I’m done, completely done with degrees.  (Those who know me just smile and nod knowing that I won’t ever stop learning.)

Quote from Michaelangelo "I'm still learning."

I do not know what is on the horizon, but I do know that there will be new doors and opportunities ahead.

Now to get back to working on the presentation…

Technology Philosophy Statement

In one of my recent courses I was asked to create a technology philosophy statement.  I have written teaching philosophy statements, but this was the first time I actually thought about my technology philosophy.  Rather than a written document, I created a Prezi.

Teachers and Instructional Design

I am currently working on a PhD in Instructional Design.  I waited to find a program that fit into where I have come and where I am going.  But even now, in the middle of this choice I often wonder why this new fangled term “Instructional Design” is so “new”.  Isn’t this just another word for teaching?

And then I read We Are Not That Different by Elliott Masie, and I couldn’t agree more.

Teaching and Learning is generally the same at all levels.  It is as you focus on the content and the learners that the differences start occurring.  And isn’t that the way it should be?  I would not expect the lessons of a third grade classroom in south central Los Angeles to look identical to the third grade classroom in rural Idaho.  Each teacher will take the content and work with it to create lessons that will connect to their specific classroom.

I loved the connection of social learning using a jig-saw activity as an example in an elementary school classroom. Divide up the content between a small group of learners. Each becomes the “expert” in their section which they then teach to the others.

Mr. Masie wishes that “every college professor and high school teacher had the opportunity to spend time in a corporate learning department.”  I wish the corporate learning folks could spend time in the K-16 setting. There is amazing things happening in classrooms all across the nation.

A Path Not Taken – Finally Begins

I am a teacher.  I sometimes have to remind myself amid the sometimes conflicting desires in my life.  I  began my teaching career hating all the iconic teacher emblems of apples and cutesy chalkboards.  I was perceiving something demeaning in the symbols.  In my undergraduate teacher preparation courses I had an instructor share the saying “Those that can do, those that can’t teach and those that can’t teach – teach teachers.”  I do not even recall that teacher’s name nor any other content of the course.  (I’m sure I learned something, but I cannot connect it to that course.)  So perhaps my aversion came from many messages that teaching was a sub-par profession.

This message comes to me recently in recent article on the Chief Learning Officer website Why Do We Teach? While the article’s purpose is to try to encourage organizations to appreciate and value their learning and development professionals, the taglines send the age old message that teachers are not good enough to do anything else.  “Training professionals are rarely seen as the most essential, powerful or highly regarded employees, So why do good people do this job?”  Or rather why do good people choose this when they could be doing do much more.  I was looking for the solution on how we, as teachers can create a better image and promote a more positive attitude.  The article was in the end hollow sounding suggestions for people above the teaching profession.

I have taken many paths and explored many options in my life, but I keep coming back to the same one – I am a teacher.  I began my career teaching French at the High School level.  I loved teaching a foreign language.  I loved engaging the students and bringing something into their lives that was not easily accessible.  But French was not my true love.  I moved on to incorporating technology into teaching.  I managed labs, taught computer skills to children and adults.  But I did not truly love computers nor technology.  I went on to teach science and math.  Math was a true adventure having only the math classes my Chemistry minor required.  What I learned from that adventure was that I could teach math, even if I wasn’t the “expert” mathematician many thought I needed to be.  I continued my career in a variety of other teaching experiences and eventually came to the decision to further my own education.

Tomorrow I become a student again, beginning with a class on statistics.  I am looking forward to the learning, but from my experience in completing my MA degree, I have a better understanding of the road that lies ahead.  Working full time and going to school is not an easy task.  I was supposed to begin this journey last year, but due to budget cuts we had to wait until this year.  Hopefully at the end of my PhD program in Instructional Design I can better use the teacher in me and the teacher in me can be better heard.

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