Wednesday, October 27, 2010

it's the beginning of the end

No panic button, I mean the end of grad school. I have affectionately called it grad skoo since the whole process began, but now that a formal application for a diploma has been submitted, it's beginning to feel serious.

I really do think that my degree program at Farmington has made me a better teacher. I feel I have learned a LOT. Interestingly enough, I don't think Farmington was about stretching my skills in the Technology piece of TPCK. I don't feel it addressed my Content piece of TPCK because I did not take one Spanish course. I did all my literacy work up at Orono, so no connection there. But what Farmington brought to me was a series of challenges to the way I do business. It helped me formalize my teaching strategies and it validated my pathways of teaching and learning. It forced me to consider WHY I do things and WHAT the kids will learn as a result. I learned so much about the different ways that people learn and how to chart growth. I read so many pages of interesting theories and philosophies, and more importantly subscribed to some of the most exciting educational bloggers out there, that give a much more eloquent public discourse about education than I can, at this point.

Number one? Graduate school forced me to share my ideas and I became better at that. I developed a very unique, very awesome personal learning network. Not to brag but my personal learning network is very international and very connected! A high point was presenting at PUCMM in the Dominican Republic. I presented to a faculty there about learning with multimedia and gave strategies for designing learning with multimedia. I did this IN Spanish. It was SO hard and so good for my brain!

Now the sweet spot of my graduate school experience. My research. This research is all about open educational resources and I am part of a powerful movement. I lead a team of 9 others to focus on World Languages. I've put 80 hours in to the research already (yes, a lot!) and will have 60 more in before I am done in June. And I graduate in May! It's all so exciting--to realize that Farmington was a good investment, because it stretched my mind and pushed me to be better at this teaching gig. It pushed me to share more, and dare I say fight more for the pathway I represent.

So yeah. It's a lot of work right now, but I'm close. And it feels so good.

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