The Seeker

A Meta-Cognitive Journal About Writing… Plus Other Stuff

The Last Class

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Tonight is the last night of the last class that I have to take–ever.  Allow me to reiterate:  Twenty-five years ago I started my formal education, and after two bachelor’s degrees, two master’s degrees, and a whole mess of stray classes at eight different colleges and universities, I am done.  I have reached the top of the salary scale on my school’s contract, and there is no more need for me to take courses for credit.

I’ve had the good fortune to reach the last lane on the salary scale by taking mostly writing classes these last four summers.  Three of my last six courses have been geared specifically towards writing.  That has saved me a lot of the drudgery that is professional development for teachers, and kept me interested in the class instead of interested in finishing the class.  I still consider myself lucky that writing, my main interest outside of teaching, fits right into my teaching assignment.  I’ve been able to pile up lots of graduate hours studying it, which is a helluva lot more interesting than studying things like state education standards, classroom management, and reading strategies–especially since I’m constantly exposed to those things and constantly working on them as I teach.

None of this is to say that I won’t keep taking classes.  Those who know that I’m finishing my formal education tonight keep telling me that they are sure I’ll continue to take classes.  They are correct, but I will no longer consider if a class offers graduate credit.  This that I can start attending writing workshops in the summer, wherever and whenever, and not worry about spending my money on something that isn’t going to move me on the salary scale and help me make more money over the remainder of my career.

Also, it’s about time I was allowed to bow out of the graduate-level education game.  The state of graduate education in many places leaves a lot to be desired.  I first touched on this two summers ago as I was wrapping up a writing workshop at Skidmore College.  What I’m entirely tired of is working with professors who are masters of their content first, and teachers second (or not at all).  All too often, universities wish to stack their faculties with as many high-profile names as possible with little or no regard to the teaching ability of said persons.  Consequently, too many college-level instructors consider “pedagogy” to be nothing more than a good word to play in Scrabble.  Things like working with objectives, fair and challenging evaluation, time management, effective lesson planning, and even passing out a set of freaking papers are beyond them.  This is so ass-backwards that it’s enough to enrage teachers who take graduate courses and find out they are better and more capable teachers than their professors.  You end up with professors who don’t know how to lead a discussion of a piece of literature, or who read their lectures to you off of a PowerPoint presentation, or who are so socially maladjusted that they don’t speak clearly or make eye contact when they are teaching, or who half-ass create assignments that amount to little more than busy work.  Some of them show up to class with a disposition that practically screams incompetence because they don’t understand how challenging it is to be an effective teacher.  Their understanding is that they’ve earned a teaching position through their accomplishments in their discipline, and so long as they keep riding that pony they can keep teaching regardless of how well they can actually teach.

To be continued tomorrow…

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Written by seeker70

July 25, 2013 at 3:25 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. […] always enjoyed learning, and even though I’ve reached the end of my education in an official / monetary sense, that hasn’t lessened my appetite to keep going.  Hence I can spend time at the graduate […]

  2. […] isn’t up for renewal; nor do you need the graduate hours.  You may have mentioned in a previous post that you’re now at the top of the salary scale and don’t need to take summer classes […]


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