Thursday, February 23, 2012

Why having 212 college credits might not be ALL GOOD

Okay, so, yes, I have 212 college credits (... and one degree ... so far). If everyone doesn't know the story, I started out at a university that used trimesters (they called it quarters, but there were only 3 ... or 5 if you counted the two summer ones). First, it was engineering, then architecture, then eventually a complete detour into kinesiology, which brought me home to the University of Wisconsin - Madison, where I graduated in four years (of course AFTER the first two at UofM) with my Kinesiology - Teacher Prep degree with a Health Education minor. When I got married and we moved to Minnesota, the state decided I needed 19 more credits to officially be licensed in Health (even though I had been completely licensed in Wisconsin).

Now, I'm completing my masters program in Education - Differentiated Instruction. I thought it would be interesting and offer new concepts for me to impliment once I venture back into schools to teach. Well ... not so much. Not to fault THEIR program. I just think my previous education has been pretty good.

For instance, most of my first masters class, Education of the Exceptional Learner, probably was first taught to me back in 1995 and 1996 when I took my Strategy for Inclusive Schooling and Adapted Physical Education classes. I did like reading the book Keeping Katherine - and suggest it as good reading for parents.

My next masters class was Educational Research & Applications. Actually, I liked being able to look up my own stuff for that class; unfortunately, the bulk of the material actually taught in the class itself was how to do research and write in APA format. The APA stuff I remember from high school and my freshman composition class at the UofM. What higher level research and writing techniques I didn't pick up from those classes, I probably have learned from being an informal editor for my research-scientist wife for the last twelve years.

Currently, I'm taking a class called Effective Practices in Differentiated Learning. Though there are many 'new' terms, their doesn't seem to be a whole lot that I didn't learn at UW, or while teaching and doing workshops/inservices at Green Bay, Lodi, or in our current district. This week, we were supposed to watch PBS Frontline's "The Teenage Brain" - which I've watched a few times since it was first broadcast in 2002. We have also talked about theorists from Socrates, to Piaget, to Gardner. Good thing I studied them in high school, college, and in workshops. We're beginning to write a unit plan (which I will never use) and this week I'm also supposed to help a language arts teacher write a rubric for a personal poetry book project. Sounds perfect :) ... (on a side note: I DO actually love poetry)

As I said before, I don't write to fault the masters program or the class or even the instructor(s). I just need to vent because I really wish I felt like this was helping me be a better teacher in some way. Maybe it will someday. Who knows? Just doesn't feel like it now ... at all.

Keep smiling. My new motto: Work hard. Lead well. Be great.

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