Weekly reflection: help I am disengaged from learning

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Right now I inhabit two worlds. The first is bursting with new ideas, collaboration and innovative teaching practices. The other is university.

Yup I am in the study doldrums. As I look forward over the next two months all I see is assignments and exams. Any joy I have for learning is being sucked out by the demand to consume and produce knowledge. In the midst of writing 4,000 word unit plans for students I won’t be teaching I am wondering what the point in all of this is. I passed my last Teaching Experience with flying colours, have a job and am already thinking more about what I want to do next year than on grinding out essays to keep the powers that be happy. Even the essay I am writing on the Maori Policy paper which I really enjoyed in the first half of the semester is sitting at 1,200 words when I need to get it 2,500 words by tomorrow. I am in for a long night…

Following final exams I have another 4 weeks of churning out essays and portfoilos on the Graduating Teacher Standards which undoubtedly have me moaning Haven’t I already done that? Can’t I just hand in my blog and start thinking more about the real world.

Because these days university seems even more contrived than it ever was. I know there are a group of learners out there who will come together next year expecting to learn some useful stuff and I want to find out what the are excited and passionate about. Instead I am being asked to consume this knowledge here and then spit out my response is this nice form pre-formatted word document over there. It doesn’t seem relevant to my learning journey, yet the stuff I am learning about, how to teach science, social science, the arts should be the academically interesting part of the course. How can this be?

I know I am not the only one struggling to find motivation.

The course bulletin board entries are at an all-time low while the course Facebook activity is at an all-time high with students moaning about assignments and exams.

I am trying to treat this as a teachable moment. Is this how our students feel as they are demanded to produce, produce, produce? Are they scratching their heads wondering what the purpose of all this aimless production is to their lives? How do we make learning more meaningful and relevant to them?

I wouldn’t know the answer because right now I am too busy filling out forms.

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4 thoughts on “Weekly reflection: help I am disengaged from learning

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  1. Having worked a few years in tertiary student support – and having done a couple of degrees myself, I’d have to say Stephanie that it sounds as if you have the “enough already, almost at the finishing line” blues. Which happens at many life transition moments – finishing study, moving between jobs, the last few weeks of pregnancy. It is a normal human response to begin to want to get started on the next new thing before finishing the last thing.
    From experience I think a combination of going with the flow and taking some time out to reflect on celebrating the freedoms you have in the moment can help you get through. There are things you can do over the next few weeks you wont be able to when teaching that awesome class next year. So make the most of them 🙂

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  2. I’m with you Stephanie… “to everything churn, churn, churn, there is a season churn, churn, churn… and a time for every purpose under Heaven”.
    Great advice thx Sonja… I at least have an extension for an assignment (3 due within 7 days of each other) after being told by my Dr to rest and “sleep” for two days… like that is going to happen… but I did have some hours off and am feeling regenerated again. But what am I really excited about being able to do when all this study is finished??? Housework!! …and I HATE housework! What is happening to meeeeee?

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