Wednesday, October 23, 2013

My Comfort Zone

I just completed the first week's assignments for my next class:  Research and Evaluation in Education.

I hate this class.  HATE this class.

My first grad-level class was a beautiful experience--every assignment was interesting, I devoured every text, and I enjoyed every assignment.  Isn't that what grad school is supposed to be?  Studying what you love and minimizing the stuff you hate?

Yeah.  I was afraid it would be too good to last.

This latest class takes me to a place I haven't visited in many, many years--a place I hadn't seen in so long that I didn't think it even existed any more.

I've been taken outside My Comfort Zone.

Reading the textbook is like reading archaic English: most of the words are familiar, and it should make sense because the nouns and verbs agree and all, but so many unfamiliar terms are thrown in (and many more terms that reek of familiarity but connote something totally different in this context) that I find myself consulting a dictionary many times while reading each paragraph.  Terms like hermeneutics and deliberative democratic evaluation and evaluand plague my attempts to learn the material.  I shouldn't feel too bad, I guess.  Spell check doesn't recognize evaluand, either.

I'm no stranger to writing, ya know?  I mean, I've been a faithful blogger for almost five years now--over 1100 posts under my literary belt--and I know my way around a keyboard.  These crappy writing assignments are foreign and awkward and clinical and  . . . boring. I'm learning new terminology and new citation style (oh, how I hate APA format). I had forgotten how I detest being forced to write about boring stuff.

I'm having to FORCE myself to read the material, FORCE myself to prepare for tests, FORCE myself to define a research topic that doesn't a) bore me half to death, or b) challenge me so much that my brain explodes. That's a fine line to walk, my friends.

Rarely in my middle-age, stay-at-home-mom stage of life do I have the experience of doing what I don't want to do, completing what I don't what to do when I don't want to have it done, and doing it with a "You're welcome!" coming from my lips. I don't like not being in charge of my own fate.  I don't like learning things I don't like learning.  And call me persnickety, but I especially don't like being graded arbitrarily by some faceless teacher that uses the wrong form of "to" in her emails. I'm feeling a little bit more sympathy for my school kids who complain that a subject is too hard or too boring.

I have to read peer-reviewed or peer-written articles about my purpose statement.  What ASU doesn't know is that my peers are all forty-something moms of a hundred kids who read Dan Brown for a challenge, not The Role of Culture and Cultural Context: A Mandate for Inclusion, the Discovery of Truth and Understanding in Evaluative Theory and Practice. Yes, that's a real article.  No, I have no idea what the title means.

I keep reminding myself that it's only seven more weeks of this, that I can do anything for seven weeks, that I have written fourteen-to-sixteen page papers in the past and that I can do it again, even under duress.

I also have lurking in the back of my mind this formidable possibility:

My next class could be even worse.

Say it ain't so.


  1. there is nothing worse than a class that doesn't hold your attention! i feel like that is kindergarten for brennan this year. i help in his classroom once a week for the entire 2 hours and 45 min which is kindergarten and every tuesday night i feel like i want to throw up. they sit on the carpet for direct instruction or they are doing worksheets at their desks, and it is KIIILLLLLLIIINNNGGGG me. and brennan. i am just SO unhappy with the education he is getting. i've talked to the teacher several times, offered help to run centers, and all i get are excuses that "the district" wants it this way. however, when i talk to my other teacher friends who work in the same district they say that it is just not true. i am struggling. so there is my rant for the morning:)

  2. I'm glad that the first part of this wonderful continuing education was fabulous. Hang in there. Keep ranting until you get it all out of you and then go to work. Good luck! I'm sure it will all be worth it.

  3. Aaargh. I sympathize with all my rebellious heart. Some classes seem to put up every roadblock possible to prevent learning. There is a difference between "challenging" and "obstructionism in the name of intellectualism".

  4. I feel you pain. I could have written a very similar post not to long ago. It is soooo hard to study things you have no interest in...even harder to write a meaningful paper about it. ...And I HATE APA as well. Enjoy the journey...and good luck!

  5. Ok... now I am embarrassed... That would be "I feel YOUR pain." ... and "too". ;o)

  6. I recently finished my masters and had the same feelings! Wait until you hit the journal articles. Aagghhh the tears shed for the education system at all levels!

  7. Hey Mom! After last semester, I'm a master at APA. (My teacher docked us for every single mistake, and sent it back to us to redo until it was perfect) You can come to me for homework help if you'd like... ;) Good luck on your class! Let's hope the next one is great.

  8. Gross.

    There were a couple of really gross research classes in the masters program. I had to choke 'em down.


  9. I once heard that college professors write textbooks and papers only to impress other professors. It sounds like that article you had to read was also written in that vein.