One of the things professors tend to forget about their students is how new many of them are to higher education, and how many pressures bear down upon them as they fight to find, negotiate, and complete their degree programs. Those who teach in schools that serve many first-generation college students need to learn that it is almost impossible to anticipate all of the things students don’t know or understand about going to college. Figuring out what to do about all this is part of the joy of teaching for those who can quiet their egos enough to care and do what is needed to be helpful. Although community colleges, liberal arts colleges and research universities serve many masters and embrace varied goals, we have one thing in common. We influence lives. I wonder what would happen if we measured our “success” in higher education in terms of lives influenced instead of more traditional, hierarchical measures of prestige-among-peers and revenue generation?
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Thank you for commenting on my post. What an exciting life you have had as an educator! Your blog posts are captivating. I am not sure the situation is quite as bad as you describe in your “Ruined for Life” commentary. On the other hand, it does take a special level of commitment, patience, commitment, and a certain amount of luck, to construct a satisfying life-long career as an elementary education teacher.
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May, thanks for citing my blog post. I think your struggle to persist toward finishing your degree is impressive. Many students don’t finish their degrees in four years, so a shame for you to worry about this. Congratulations on the success of your blog!