Thursday, September 3, 2009

The First Week


Well, I have survived the first week of courses at the university. I can predict it will be an interesting year...

The research course was the most average when compared to my previous experience (a whole three semesters mind you). There are only four students; the same folk that I shared class with this summer's research course. The professor spent most of that first night trying to understand what we had accomplished in the previous course so that she could build to her own course's final goals. This 'average' combination only lasted through this first course.

The differentiated education course will be quite different from what I had expected. My advisor and the professor had believed that most of the students in the course would be professionals seeking their certification in the education program. Um...the class contains 2 speech path. students, a junior undergrad. education student, approximately 20 Teach for America folk, and me. I am seriously old enough to be their mom or at least their mentor. Only the professor is older than me. The first night of class was spent sharing our names and a good/bad experience from the day. Most of the TFA folk had just finished their first day of teaching and were full of information about this experience...including what their fellow teachers need to learn about students/teaching. I shared how I was excited for my former students and teacher friends as they started the year in the new school. At the break, I spoke with the prof. to see if he thought I should remain in the course since the make up is very different than predicted. We decided I should stay; the content and opportunity to observe in other schools is not going to change. I know that I will need the lessons about reaching out to students whose needs vary in the classroom.

Insert my reflection from Mass the morning before my Diff. Edu Course:
The day of class I was still deciding if I should drop the course. I had heard it was going to be mostly TFA folk and I admit that I do struggle with its whole philosophy. However, God is sneaky and so are the Jesuits. There were only a few of us at Joan of Arc Chapel that day and I was asked to read...Paul went on about how we are children of the light and how we see Christ in all we do and need continue to support one another and be the good children of the light that we are. The gospel was Jesus expelling a demon and nobody can figure out how he did it. Fr. Jesuit connected the two in this way. Paul speaks in the positive to help us believe that Christ is active in all that surrounds our life and wants us to look and see Christ not only in our lives but in the lives of others. (See where I'm going with the sneaky God business) Then he pointed out how the gospel revealed that even those who interacted with Christ couldn't always see His active presence in their midst. So, we need to support each other in such a way that reveals the living Christ active in our lives. isn't fair when God knows where our prejudices are leading. I sat a bit uncomfortable in my prejudgement of the kiddos I was about to meet in my course. So, I will go hopping to learn what God is wanting me to see and wondering what God is having me bring to them.

The final course is about the history of education. 25 folk (over half are doctoral students) showed up for the first night of class. There is a ton of reading assigned and recommended! Fortunately, I have a friend in this course! Erica and I chose seats next to each other and were glad for the support as the PhD and Administrative MA students pontificated on this first night of class. One of the more interesting assignments that the professor offers is a multi-generational history of education in my family. I think that will be fascinating to discover who has done what kind of education in my family's past.

I believe there will be alot to learn this year. It will be a heavy work semester between the research and history courses. However, the differentiated education course will bring in more of an opportunity to see and practice those skills. Hopefully, there will still be time to build a volunteer relationship with the nearby Catholic school I've been working to get into.


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