Well, two weeks have passed on what has, so far, been a journey into my new career. Moving from secondary teaching into the world of Higher Ed was always going to be a steep learning curb – but I think I’m slowly working things out. Insights include the following:
- Uni students are still students. They have needs and they still glow inside when I hand out stickers for good work. Sure, we’re all adults (and we have a chuckle when I explain how positive reinforcement works).
postscript – at the store today, I couldn’t help myself – and purchased three new sticker books…
- The future of education in Australia is in good hands. The pre-service teachers with whom I work have hopes, dreams and passion for good teaching, creativity, loving their future students and nurturing their freedom of thought.
- Many of these pre-service teachers went to school in tech-rich environments. “Digital divides” hardly seem relevant any more – and I feel like the ancient one when I admit that I went through high school in the mid-90s. At the end of the day, I’m still learning all the time from the students that I teach.
- Juggling research and teaching is a real challenge. The criticisms of those in Eigher Ed (e.g. academics living in the ivory tower) aren’t fair any more than criticisms of primary/secondary teachers being “child minders” are. There should be room for middle ground – secondary teachers can be passionate researchers just as academics can be passionate teachers. My workload for the next week includes 40 hours marking, preparing for 3 classes, starting over 100 hours of research assistance work, doing the usual admin and, God forbid, making a start on my PhD.
- Nonetheless, I still celebrate openness. Studying a PhD in a higher institution is a luxury (check world figures on this and you’ll see what minuscule number of people actually have the luck and good fortune to make it to where I have). I feel that contributing back to research is the very least that can be done – and I openly share who I am and what I do.