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As a fourth year doctoral candidate, in addition to having completed comprehensive examinations and prospectus and working on the dissertation, my thoughts are also turning towards the job market and securing that first academic position. This purpose of this blog is to chronicle the trials and tribulations of completing my Ph.D. and finding that first job.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Something I've Been Sitting On For A While

Okay, so I have had this as a draft entry for quite some time and have never really gotten aroundto finishing it up. It was initially titled "Something We Don't Do Enough Of In Education".

I saw this entry over at Playing School, Irreverently, where ~profgrrrrl~ had posted an entry entitled Which student were you? (which I think has been taken down since she moved her blog).

It got me thinking about, both about what type of student I was at these stages and what those memories have to do with the type of teacher we become. As a teacher education, I often tell my students that the ways that we learn best in many instances become the ways that we teach. So, the exercise of remembering what type of student we were AND, taking it a step further, to assess how common this was or how typical we were compared to our classmates, is a useful exercise in reflecting upo our own teaching.

For the record, to use the stages that ~profgrrrrl~ used...

The student I was:

In Kindergarten

I honestly can't remember much about kindergarten other than these construction paper shoes taped to the front of the classroom underneath the chalkboard that we used to practice tying our shoes - mine was red.

In Elementary School

I can't recall much of my early elementary school either, so most of my memories come from after we moved from Buchans to Corner Brook early into grade five. From that point on, I would probably say that they type of student I was could be classified as competitive - I wanted to be the best in the class at everything we did.

In Junior High

This was an interesting time to look at who I was as a student. It could best be classified as the student who tried to be different. I had a unique style, particularly when it came to fashion, that was all my own and that I was usually solely associated with (I can still remember someone who didn't like me all that much dressing up like me at Halloween to try and make fun of me - everyone knew who he was dressed up as because what he wore was only associated with me).

In High School

I was the overachiever - if there was something to be involved with, not only did I have to get involved, but I had to be in charge. If there wasn't anything in a particular area that I wanted to get involved with, I'd simply start it up.

In College

In my first undergraduate degree, I was more interested in moving what I thought would be my future career ahead than I was with being a student. Consequently, my work in politics often took precedence over my studies (which was reflected in how I did).

In my second undergraduate degree, you could pretty much copy and paste the description of me in high school here.

In Grad School

Well, I'm still in grad school and I think that many of my colleagues would say that the description I've written for high school would still apply. Personally I think I'm a much more calculating student, planning out how my curent actions can be used to benefit me in the future.

Now, how does what type of student I was, affect my own teaching? I'm not sure... In thinking about what I have done in the teacher education style courses that I have taught, I believe that my experiences as a K-12 teachers helped me to realize that very few students were like me. And while I still enjoy, and may even gravitate to those few students, I think that my own teaching style has been a much more relaxed style (especially compared to the more uptight styles that I had as a student).

In thinking about the non-teacher education courses that I have had experience in teaching in the academy, I think that in my planning the uptight-ness still comes through. I have some of the longer and more descriptive syllabi of any of my colleagues. But my more relaxed style still seems to win out when I'm in the classroom itself.

So, maybe the type of student I have been has helped me teach in a way that is almost opposing that type of student because I have come to realize that, as a student, I was fairly unique.

Tags: graduate student, graduate students, graduate school, higher education, education

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