Thursday, November 22, 2012

Working without guarantees....

....this is LIFE!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

This week

This week was a nice good reflective week!  The only bad part is that I don't get to see my lovely friend Krista as I had originally hoped; albeit, it was my decision not to got to North Battleford but it still sucks that I can't squeeze her big baby belly one last time :)

This week I've learned to start saying 'no'.  It started with getting asked to participate in a Masters research thesis project.  I willingly accepted and then when it came time to schedule the interview I realized it would be around the heavy part of the month where I would be pushing to get two major papers complete.  I politely said I was not able to do the interviews on her schedule and asked if I would still be able to participate in December when I'm finished with my classes.  Of course she agreed.

Then yesterday and today I got called in to sub. in the ESL department at the university.  I said no, to both offers.

I'm realizing that I've got to make decisions for me, even if they could potentially disappoint other people.  I'm starting to find that if I don't take care of myself, no one will.

So I'm slowing learning to politely decline offers and the steps are small but recognizable.

Anyone else out there have guilty feelings when they say 'no'?  Am I alone on this matter?


Thursday, November 08, 2012

Disappointed

Yesterday I walked out of class, research paper in hand, disappointed by the mark I got on my assignment.  And I know marks are just arbitrary numbers that don't indicate how much you actually know, but when you have a career in academia marks matter.  I won my undergraduate scholarship by a mere 0.4%.  That was the difference between first place ($20,000) and second place ($0).  

I got a 87.5% on my paper, btw.

And in reality I'm sure this is a good mark for a graduate course but I worked really hard on my paper.  I mean really really hard.  I spent days reading extra material that I could incorporate into the paper.  I'm talking an extra 20 articles (30-50 pages in length).  I sacrifice sleep and work and time with my husband so that I can solely focus on school.  I dream about my research and wake up thinking about it.  And the reality is, I love writing!

I had my mind set on a 90%.  And I knew I wouldn't be happy with anything less.

So this 2.5% has made me think that maybe I'm not cut out for this.  Maybe it's time to start having babies...that would be easier (ha - joking!)

Okay pity party over!!

Since I always write stories and personal accounts on this "woe is me" blog.  I thought I'd share more of the academic side (I use the word 'more' because we are to use our own voice in these entries).  This is an excerpt from a weekly reading response in the Language and Learning class I'm currently taking:


Reading:
Siegel, J. (2007). Creoles and minority dialects in education: An update. Language and Education 21(1), 66-86.

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Siegel (2007) points to the positive benefits of creoles and minority dialects in education, emphasizing the use of these dialects as instrumental in overcoming disadvantages faced by speakers of these varieties.  While linguistics may agree upon the advantages of using creoles and minority dialects in the classroom, a major point of concern as outlined by Siegel (2007) is a lack of public awareness (and teacher awareness) on these matters.  Therefore, since the general public is not informed of the positive uses creoles and minority dialects have in educational settings, for instance, disrupting the status quo seems rather unfeasible at this point.  Taking this idea one step further, having a knowledgeable public does not necessarily guarantee change either; as I have learned in this class, dominant ideologies continue to pervade the mainstream discourse and reproduce inequalities.  People get nervous when change calls into question their positions of power and authority.  Questions like ‘what do I have to lose in this process?’ become scary and perhaps unpleasant questions to answer.  Nevertheless, I believe these uncomfortable questions need to be addressed!  From my perspective, there seems to be a large disconnect between what linguists are proposing and what is actually happening in practice.  What is missing for me is a sense of urgency.  While I support the call for “disseminating information in non-technical terms, running workshops, attending educational conferences and meetings, and publishing articles in journals read by teachers,” I do not think researchers should stop there.  It is worthy to note that Siegel (2007) believes if change is to take place it has to come from below rather than above.  I support this stance.  Thus, writing articles calling for more sociolinguistic teacher training is not enough.  Although I believe what Siegel (2007) says is important, I think another possible way to disrupt the standard language ideology is to empower the oppressed.  By focusing on only the teachers, Siegel (2007) overlooks what I consider the important role the speakers of these language varieties play in the equation.  The urgency that is missing for me can be created if linguistic researchers engage in participatory action research, going beyond simply describing, analyzing and theorizing social practices to working in partnership with these speakers of language varieties to reconstruct, transform, and offer practical solutions to their concerns.  Said again, I am suggesting that linguistic researchers turn their focus to the disadvantaged language variety speakers and work to empower them so they learn to push the envelope by challenging socially constructed notions of ‘standard language’.  That being said, let it be known that my intention in this critique is not to mitigate the efforts made by linguistics who have already made great strides in changing the “entrenched attitudes of teachers and the general public” (p. 77), but rather to provide another course of action with the intention of moving toward the same end goal:  dismantling monolithic ideas of language by embracing and legitimizing English language variations in schools.

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Tuesday, November 06, 2012

UPDAAAAAATE!!

Hello my friends (are you still there?)

Sorry for the looooong absence.  I really love this blog so it sucks I can't dedicate more time to it.  I am here to pop in with a quick update and then I'll be back at the beginning of next month (after my last assignment is due) with more details.

1.  OBAMA JUST WON!!!  This makes me very happy.

2.  School is going well.  I have two major assignments to complete and then I'm done for the semester. I will be working really hard for the next 21 days.

3.  My friend Jennifer and I have decided to declare Monday nights as our night to cut up fresh veggies and fruit so that we can have more healthy snacks on hand.

4.  I have been subbing a little bit at the university and it makes me miss teaching A LOT!!

5.  I still love studying but I hate that I leave assignments to last minute (and then I freak out!  I'm freaking out right now)

6.  Sung Hyun bought a truck!  A new shiny big blue truck.  He calls it his girlfriend :)

7.  We are going on a couples vacation to CUBA in January.

Okay the END!  Any major changes on your end to report?