of autumn quarter was actually pretty good. Teachers: 45; me: 55. If it really were a competition, against anyone else I would have not made it. But it was more interesting and collegial than a typical grad school experience, and I am pleased with the result.

In fact, the BEST part of this Master’s in Teaching program is the set of students I am with. About 43 well-matched, interesting and fun, and absolutely brilliant people who are completely focused on the students they have worked with and will work with. We enjoy working together, problem solving and supporting each other when things are rough, and getting together for fun times as well.

So yes, I managed to survive, and even did quite well on the term paper and final set of essay questions. I believe my teacher was pleased with my progress.

I also had a good time with many of the assignments, though I continued to be worried about whether I was living up to expectations and leaned heavily on all three of the faculty team for reassurance and assistance with some tasks. Which, I suppose is why they are there, in part. I am fortunate that at this school (The Evergreen State College) the emphasis is less on weeding people out than it is on supporting the learning process. They would rather work with a student who is struggling than let that student fall through the cracks. This is, in my opinion, a fine model for me to use as a teacher: when a student is clearly making a strong effort and staying engaged — even if the work isn’t what you expect — you stay with them and they improve.

To be honest, I do have a lot of skills in specific areas, and feel confident when I work with students; I have patience with others more than with myself. In speaking with my teacher at the final conference again it was clear that I am much harder on myself than anyone else is: of course there are areas that need improvement — the point at which I stop learning and growing is the point at which I become plant food!

Overall, the quarter was physically draining (didn’t help that I had two major allergen exposures and a couple viruses) and mentally exhausting; it was also a good test of my resolve and my ability to adapt. I think I did pretty well.

On a side note, my teacher — who is an accomplished author — reflected to me that “writing isn’t ‘fun’.” I generally find it relaxing and helpful, though when I am highly stressed out I don’t write as much. So I wanted to poll my readers informally — do you find writing fun, tedious, difficult, rewarding, or some combination of the above? What type of writing do you enjoy most? What type of reading do you enjoy?

4 Interactions on “The Final Toll. . .

  1. Writing is hard when I have to create a piece that someone has requested. I want to know what kind of impression they want me to give, but they always get vague and say to write what I want. I put pressure on myself trying to decide if what I want to say is what they hoped I would say.
    Writing is hard when I tell a story that people enjoy so they want me to write it out. All of a sudden, the story that flowed so easily becomes picked apart and sounds contrived and I chuck it out.
    Writing is easy if it is for a paper or something where the expectations are clear. Writing is easy and flows when I don’t expect anyone to read it but I write as if someone will.

  2. I like to write essays about my experiences, thoughts, feelings — kind of like a journal. But not research papers. And not opinion pieces. Nothing formal.

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