Wednesday, September 01, 2010

On Grad School

I've had a few "gulp-worthy" moments as I've looked at course materials for the three classes I'm taking this fall.  These include:
  • Noticing that each professor has made up his/her own grading scale (each is different) and it will be a little more difficult to maintain that required "B" average than it was during my undergrad years.  One course says a 94% is the lowest "A" and an 87% the lowest "B", one says 93%/84% and the last  95%/86%.
  • Noticing I have to complete 30 hours of classroom observations.  Trying to balance that with my work schedule may be tricky.  I'm hoping they don't assign me to do a few hours here and a few hours there.  I specifically stated that I need to do 4 or 5 full days of observation rather than a few hours every week.
  • Noticing how much reading and writing I'm going to be doing, and trying to balance that with Jamie's need for my time and attention.  Basically, I'll be doing a lot of my school work after he goes to bed at 9 p.m. (on a good night) and on the weekends when he's off with friends or with his BB.
Luckily, there are also several things working in my favor on this.  Two of my textbooks are online, so I can (during slow times at work) do some of my required reading at the office.  Also, all my professors have different days on which each week's assignments are due.  This means I won't be scrambling trying to get it all done at once.  It will be possible for me to designate certain nights for certain subjects.  Life is much easier for me when I compartmentalize this way.  Despite all the times I've had to go *gulp* while looking over my courses, I'm feeling pretty optimistic about my first semester.  Of course, that could change the first day I do observations. ;-)  I'll be sure to keep you all updated on how it's going!


Suze said...

Good luck Jenn!! Grad school is tougher than undergrad, but you're totally equipped to handle it. Plus, the stuff you study is way more interesting (and thus it's easier to get motivated to do the work!)

Keep us posted on how it goes.

ann said...

I love observations, and they are so helpful for teaching--especially doing full days at a time, where you completely get lost in observing. It trains your brain to be observing while you are doing other things in the classroom. And that is a necessity for a teacher. (Not to mention something that doesn't come naturally to me.)

Some tips I've learned about observation from my Montessori training: try to be as objective as you can, but also go ahead and write your thoughts on some things--just make sure the highlight them somehow later so you can clearly differentiate. We were taught to underline subjective comments in red. This has helped me to refrain from jumping to conclusions so quickly--to try to see a situation for what it is.

We were given several assignments for observations, and one of the most interesting to me was observing one child for an entire work cycle. If you're going to be in the same classroom for more than one day, you may want to ask the teacher later in your observation if there is one child she would like you to focus on for one day, and then offer to share your notes with her.

I'm excited for you. And you can totally do it!