Sunday, November 20, 2011

Week 4 Comments on Jennifer's Blog

Jennifer Williams' Blog can be found here:
Although the idea of reading a self-help book as the culmination of a masters program has completely tweaked me out, I decided this week to apply these 4 chapters to the next step in my life.  My robe came in the mail, the tassel is hanging on my computer, I’m contemplating the perfect shoes to wear, (so I won’t trip across the stage) but really my biggest concern is what happens when there’s not a group of people, a program, or a set of assignments to guide me and the gravitational pull of that downward spiral, that is sometimes more like a bureaucratic, educational black hole, exerts its grip.

A revenge creature!!
Remembering my initial forays into the field of education, I was naïve, optimistic and completely certain that I would not only light a spark but also ignite a fire.   And while some of the “no’s” I’ve heard along the way should have been an “invitation for enrollment”, many of them were completely earned due to a limited, unrealistic vision of what it takes to educate a community of children.   I hope that my re-discovered optimism is more tempered by realism, a larger picture of success tempers those manic tendencies by those on the eve of success, and my zeal is tempered by the now-glimpsed multitude of complexities that are human development.  However, I am grateful to Full Sail for re-igniting the spark.

Chapter 11 of The Art of Possibility, entitled “Creating frameworks for Possibility” stirred many options for me. Of the things I have learned in my 15 years of teaching, one of the greatest is that learning seldom, very seldom, happens in giant leaps.  It’s the daily grunt, the daily practice, the daily head banging, and the persistence (on the parts of student, teacher, parent, administrator, community members) that make it happen a little bit every day!

This past year at Full Sail has taken me from an educator who meets the challenges teaching serves up, to one who can design the stage on which her students and colleagues can learn.  Yet, for continued advancement, a framework of possibility is needed.  One that attends to those details of educating students.  One that attends to the need of perfection in the daily grind.   At the brilliant suggestion of a fellow conspirator, and the encouragement of my iPad donor, I will create a wiki as a means of charting progress and, hopefully, as a means of creating a “WE” story, for all of us who are trying to find our way through the unchartered waters of appropriately educating the next digital generation.  Here’s a link to its humble beginnings.   Care to join?


Shawn McKeown said...
Jennifer, I have also wondered what will happen when we graduate and don't have the assignments and support structure that we currently enjoy. Will I still be driven to innovate my educational practices? After reading your post, I will say this: While we won't have the assignments to fall back on, we will have each other and the staff who has guided us for the past 11 months. We have all be enlightened, and while we won't have the amount of contact that we currently have, I hope to continue to use you and the rest of our classmates as my sounding board, as well as support when things go awry. I know this may sound very much like it did in high school, you know the old "Hey, we'll keep in touch". But honestly, I don't see how we can't. We ventured into the EMDT program as strangers, but have developed into a tight knit group of professionals with common goals, as well as created friendships along the way. We may not have the weekly wimba sessions, but I still feel that in a field of limited "experts", I have access to valued opinions of those, such as yourself, who have been taught to think in a new way.
 "House Lights...Go"

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