Monday, October 11, 2010

Disappointment and Direction

This may come as a major shock to some people ... but I miss MJC.

Now before you start the witch trials and throw me into the looney bin, let me explain.

I've written before about how I had some incredibly great teachers at MJC. Teachers who literally changed my perspective and gave me passion for things I had no idea I'd do well at, let alone be interested in. So far, I hate to say it, but I haven't been significantly impressed with the professors here. Perhaps it's that I expected too much. I heard so much about UCSD being the number 7 public university in America. I'd heard about the Nobel prize winners, the award-winning journals and books written by professors here, the noteworthy, influential people who not only graduated from this university, but came back to teach here as well. Or perhaps it's that I expected too little. I'd also heard about how professors here do less teaching and grading because they are more wrapped up in their research - that teaching for the university is merely a way to have funded research and time. Perhaps in my preparation to be disappointed, I allowed that disappointment to be fulfilled.

Whatever the case, I'm, again, not significantly impressed. I miss the teachers of community college who teach because they love to learn, who teach with a passion for their subject, who teach with the desire to impart true knowledge and love of learning to their students who they often take the time to mentor. I've been struggling here to get excited about school this semester. YES, I do have a class or two that I am sincerely interested in, and the reading is fairly interesting, and that really helps. But for the most part, I'm struggling to want to do homework as I have wanted to so frequently in the past.

Don't worry, I'm not giving up. There's no way my pride or my perfectionism would allow me to lower myself to not studying for tets and not doing homework assignments. But I feel as though it is half-hearted ... and, in that regard, I have disappointed myself.

Another problem, I feel, is that I want to learn, I want to enjoy what I'm studying ... but yet another difference separates my experiences from MJC to UCSD. At MJC, I felt that the reading assigned was supplemental, and that, while important, was not meant to be a stand-alone teaching device. Oftentimes, the reading was short or concise, and the teachers expanded upon this reading, if any, in their lectures. The teachers took the directive themselves to teach and to impart the knowledge. I felt that the learning was meant to be enjoyed and retained. Here, I feel as though there is so much reading that no sane person could possibly get through it all in one week, and if they do, it is so quickly inhaled that it is forgotten soon after. The lectures are dry and factual, or too quickly given with so much information thrown at you that you can't possibly learn and remember.

I know that I am in a period of adjustment and change. I know that the ten week quarter system is different from the 15 week period I am used to. I know all of this. But I don't feel as though that is the issue. I can't quite put my finger on it, but those things are not it. I don't mean to sound ungrateful that I am here. I don't mean to seem as though I have given up all hope of enjoying learning and retention. But I think that I do have to be honest that I am still disappointed that I am not at the school I really wanted to be at ... I need to be honest that I thought things would be different, would be better.

But I don't mean for this entire post to sound discouraging, or depressed, or whiny. I feel that really, this has given me, again, more focus and direction. I know now that if I become a teacher, a professor, I do not want to teach at a four-year university. I learned so much from those professors who dedicated themselves to teaching community college courses to students who weren't sure they were going to go somewhere. I was so changed by them, so encouraged to continue and go on, so motivated to get through even a less mentored time later, here, that I cannot help but rather be one of them. I don't want to be continually forced to be publishing and researching and writing and focusing elsewhere. I want my focus to be where it should be when I am a professor - on continuing to love to learn, and helping impart that passion to students who are just like I was - unsure of where I wanted to be, unsure of what I wanted out of life, until I had someone who cared give me direction, purpose, and passion.

In that spirit, I again dedicate this post and my education to those professors who changed me and influenced me for the better. You know who you are, and I sincerely thank you. I wouldn't be who I am, where I am, or where I want to be, without all of you.



Jess(ica) said...

Now that I think about it, I had better student/teacher relationships with my Jr. College Professors, too. Although, after 2.5 years at CSUS I did have some teachers that I thought were great and really took the time to listen the few time I approached them. Hopefully as you take more and more classes you will find those teachers that are there to really teach, to connect with the students, and to share their passion!

I'm glad that this experience has given you some perspective and helped you focus your goal of being a professor!

I also agree that readings should be supplemental, not the only source of learning for the class. The one text book I read (the one I referred to in your fb comment) was for a class where, after the first exam, I realized that 99% of the questions came from the book and the other 1% were from her lectures. So during class I sat in the very back corner and I'd read a fun book (like a novel) because we got points for "participation" aka: attendance haha

Michael and Amber said...

I'm so happy that you know what a blessing MJC is! They really do have some amazing teachers and they do love to teach. Mike has some of the same feelings about his Fresno St. experience as you have with San Diego. I agree with your whole post! You're brilliant I tell you! Brilliant :)