Monday, June 09, 2008

A Very, Very, VERY Long Road

Supposedly, I'm on the home stretch of what has been a very long, intensely painful, very miserable four years. It involves finishing a dissertation, prepping a 10-day summer institute for Chinese teachers, and revising a paper required for graduation--all in the next three weeks. (We won't even talk about the cross-country move that awaits me after that.) From my vantage point, the road ahead looks very long, very muddy, and filled with irritating mosquitoes (like IRB renewals)!

I'd rather be writing about the abundant life that fills the rest of the world, like the inch-long ant (seriously!) that came to visit me last night, my favorite tree--perfect in every season, the bird parents that faithfully feed the babies that live above my balcony at 5:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., or the idyllic farmscapes on the way to my friend's houses. I guess "real" life, and its accompanying stories, will have to wait for another day.

For now, here's the Twitter version of my dissertation (plus a few additional characters):

The world has changed. School hasn't. Although learning is inherently joyful, school is absolutely mind-numbing. Most educators lack the vision and the transliteracy skills to create compelling learning environments. High quality professional development shifts perspective through powerful paradigms, playful pedagogy, and the modeling of multiple representations. As teachers view their professional responsibilities through new lenses, changes in their practice follow.

And this is the Twitter version of my current take on graduate school: Dissertations make you dumb!