The first MEd weekend was complex. It felt familiar to be back on Burnaby Mountain in the Education Building even though I haven’t been a student there for fifteen years. The various identity exercises were also quintessential SFU and I very much appreciated the way Vicki approached those activities. How can you figure anything out about your practice if you don’t know who you are? Teaching is an intensely personal and private experience and if one is to fully become a teacher researcher, one should be clear about oneself to begin with for a multitude of reasons (e.g. know your biases, understand your world view, or your own personal hermeneutics, know your interests so you can pinpoint exactly what it is that will be most meaningful to you). Starting with self may seem ‘artsy-fartsy’ (poor Billy, Jeremy’s right, that one’s going to stick) but I think it’s the most logical and practical place to situate oneself at the outset of such an experience.
The readings, and how to read them academically, are fantastic. More fantastic is how Vicki uses (not sure if that’s the right word…) the readings to bring certain ideas and examples to our attention. This prof is a master at leading students through a process so as to maximize the experience of learning. She could easily have told us about the importance of imagination in Maxine Greene’s article or we could have taken notes as she lectured about how exactly to ‘read’ an article in the course, but she instead somehow primed us then gave us the articles which facilitated our own discussions to discover these ideas on our own. I’m fascinated how smoothly she did this, I was aware of it, but it was so organic that I kept getting swept along in the learning experience even as those moments of awareness popped into my head. We are fortunate to have such a Master of Education to guide us along this learning journey because that’s exactly what she is. More than that in fact, but the word Master speaks more to me than Doctor in this context.
My mind is so full tonight. And so expanded. I was to the point at times today where I couldn’t quite comprehend some notion or idea. That’s a rare experience for me. That feeling of ‘it’s almost there, I almost get it – now if I can just hold on to that thought while it fully matures…’. It’s wonderful. I love that stretching of the mind. Thoughts so complicated that my brain can’t quite understand…wonderful. My brain feels very stretched because of how large the body of knowledge is that I was exposed to this weekend, but also stretched wide open because of the realization of how much the Academy encompasses. It’s amazing really. And one can only learn so much in a lifetime – what kind of a ‘yardstick’ or assessment could ever be used to ‘measure’ that?
The quality of the people in the cohort was another humbling experience. Every single teacher in that room today is an exceptional person and professional. I like Jeff’s take on the group too – lots of little niche groups within such as being a parent, being a TLITE graduate, having of love for the outdoors (mountain biking, fly fishing, camping – nature in general). We’re all highly engaged in our profession and, I would say, we’re all pretty wide awake in the sense of Maxine Greene’s ‘wide-awakedness’. It’s motivating, inspirational, humbling and comforting to be a part of such an amazing group of people. I really felt like I belong in a way I’ve never experienced before. I am thankful, and happy, for that. A little awed, too.
Imagery by JKim1 on Flickr.