Christine, Wondering

Random Musings of a Human Becoming

Monday, March 5, 2007

New Week . . .

I’ve been re-reading the Anne of Green Gables series for the umpteenth time, as light relief from my heavy schedule of 20-30 papers or chapters to read for my classes each week. I found the quote below in Anne of the Island and it felt very close to what I’m feeling this week:

For the next three weeks Anne and Priscilla continued to feel as strangers in a strange land. Then, suddenly, everything seemed to fall into focus – Redmond, professors, classes, students, studies, social doings. Life became homogenous again, instead of being made up of detached fragments. The Freshmen, instead of being a collection of unrelated individuals, found themselves a class, with a class spirit, a class yell, class interests, class antipathies, and class ambitions.

This is exactly how things have been so far this week . . . well, apart from the “class yell” lol. Classes have settled into regular attendance, we can now recognise most people in the course by sight if not by name, friendships and groups have been established, readings are starting to make sense, etc. It has indeed all fallen into focus.

I didn’t really expect the ‘class’ feel of this degree. A bachelors’ degree is by nature fragmented, as everyone does different units; my honours group was so small that it didn’t count (and I wasn’t on campus much anyway); and my previous graduate diploma only had about 30 people in the course and they all seemed to be majoring in different areas. This year’s course has around 180 students in it, between Grad Dip Ed and B Ed, Primary and Secondary. We don’t all share the same set of units, it depends on which course we’re doing and how we’re doing it, but we’re all there to learn to be teachers, a homogeneity which makes up for the variation in units. It also helps that most of the B Ed students are right out of high school, so they’re still in their teens or very early 20s and haven’t quite lost the high school class mentality.

There’s a small amount of friction between the Grad Dip Ed and B Ed students – the B Ed-ers regard us Grad Dip-ers as “Johnny come latelies” who are trying to cram an entire 4 years’ worth of bachelor degree into a one-year course. Grad Dip Ed-ers regard the B Ed-ers as kids who’ve gone straight from school to learning to teach school and will then go straight back into schools again, without ever having explored more esoteric subjects or worked in the ‘real world’ (as we have, since we Grad Dip-ers all have previous degrees and most have professional work experience). There’s elements of truth to both attitudes, but luckily the friction is low-key and mainly manifests in the fact that each group tends to hang with its own and not mingle much with the others in workshops unless forced to do so! To come back to the quote above, this dichotomy echoes nicely with the frictions between ‘Freshmen’ and ‘Sophomores’ that L.M. Montgomery relates in the passage following the one quoted above.

Anyway, I’m feeling very comfortable with and glad of this whole ‘class’ feeling – I’m really enjoying the experience and I can’t express how glad I am to be doing what I’m doing, here and now. And next year, although I can’t foresee where I’ll be or who I’ll teach, will be a simply marvelous adventure.

PS: People who like the Anne books, watch this space: a treatise on education as portrayed in the Anne of Green Gables series will be appearing here shortly. I’m working on it slowly, but it promises to be quite interesting if you like that kind of thing!


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