Friday, January 16, 2009

So it looks like Thursdays are going to be rough.

I'll call them School Hangover Days and will love them as my own. I chugged along pretty well through my Tuesday and Wednesday (both days' schedule = work 9-2, school 3:00-8:30) but felt like a truck hit me in the face most of Thursday. Where is my be-loved Dunkin Donuts when I need it most? Bum.

But school, school. So as I typed, I’m taking four Early Childhood Education classes at City College. Not sure it’s recommended to take them all at once (more than one professor raised an eyebrow), but that’s the quickest way to get licensed/get a job so that’s how I’m rolling. I’d like to go into what each class is called/about, but frankly... it’s a little unclear. One is definitely about curriculum planning. Another is about families and students of different cultures/races/sexual orientations – and maybe how to handle them? The other two cover different program philosophies and seem 90% interchangeable. But each unit costs 20 dolla so who am I to judge?

The main difference, so far, between my classes here and my classes at BU was the moment I opened the syllabuses the first time. At BU I suffered a mini (major) panic attack each and every time. That school’s got some chip on its shoulder re: ranking and won’t be happy until every student is buried in work and getting straight C’s. This round, I open up and can’t find anything worth an extra blink. It’s a lot of “reflective journal entries” and “group discussion assessments” sprinkled with some “article reading”. Basically, if you show up for class and give half a damn (a third of a damn?), you’ll do well. Refreshing! But also weird.

The next noticeable difference is the level of diversity. BU had a good mix of ethnicities/cultures, but close to zero mix of socio-economic status. Sure, you’d have a Chinese, Greek, or Nigerian kid in your class – but they all had cash. Things are different here. At BU I was semi-poor, here I’m a baller. And I’m finding out both extremes make me uncomfortable. I’m also only one of two or three white kids in the class - which is a trip. One ice-breaker had us searching for someone with the same eye color; being the kid with blue eyes left me fairly lonely. I think we heart-bleeder types think we're relaxed with all people from all walks of life, but this is definitely forcing me to get comfortable in new ways. It’s good.

One teacher described CCSF’s ECE classes as “half academic, half vocational” and I wholeheartedly agree. It’s super hands on and really aimed at alternative learners. I’m not an alternative learner. I like lectures, I like writing assignments, I like solo projects. Sitting around in a group and drawing pictures on construction paper makes me suicidal. This could be a problem.

But a powerful difference is how excited and invested my teachers are. And how smart and experienced and with it they are. During undergrad I had quite a few fantastic professors (David Somers? I’m talking to you, handsome), but also quite a few professors who didn’t give a damn about teaching. They were there for research, please leave them alone and ask the T.A any questions. Pretty sure this won’t happen at CCSF. I think if you’re there, you’re there to teach. It makes a difference.

And what’s the same across all my educational experiences everywhere? How effing impatient I get with other students. I’d really prefer it be me and the teacher alone in a room with some coffee and cheese snacks. I lose my shit when people ask inane questions and honestly, that seems like what most of most classes are: Other students opening their mouths when they shouldn’t. But er, this is my issue, right? And since it hasn't been solved since third grade, I obviously need to work a little harder. Ahem.

So! Those are some quick-ish thoughts on things and stuff. Since these classes go for eighteen weeks (choke) there’ll be a lot more where that came from. Lucky!

3 comments:

  1. Cindy5:58 AM

    I feel the same about people who must ask an individual question in group meetings; especially just after adminis. says, "If there are no more questions, looks like we'll get out a little early." Wrong...These group "feely" projects also drive me crazy; give me my expectations/assignment, let me go to a private place to do it. Forget the flowered/polka dot folders, colored highlighters, etc. (just had an inservice yesterday)
    I wish you would open a school for 6-9 year-olds; curriculum would only be 5 intensive hours of reading/vocabulary development.
    Should I start my own blog, or can I still use yours? Cindy C.

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  2. Anonymous7:33 PM

    The mystery of college: best students are where the worst teachers are and worst students where the best teachers are - guess it's Tao balance - limiting human advance for some reason.

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  3. So on your boat, Cindy. Do NOT ask a question that will hold up the whole class, do NOT ask "what's gonna be on test?" the day before the test, do NOT make me use polka dots.

    Just kills me that I could be outta there in an hour instead of 2.5 if we cut out all the jibber jabber.

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