This class has been pretty cool to be a part of – It has made me confused, a little mad, and really excited.
I have to say, that I’ve never been in a class that was assessed the same way as this one. We came up with a question about the weekly reading rather than answers from it. We did blog posts rather than papers and we addressed any topic that interested us (relating to the class of course). This was one of the parts of the class that was very new to me. Our professor wanted our work to serve a greater purpose than just a grade. Our final projects are even assessed more on learning and completing it than on content. I would say that I’m a professional at being a student, trained for years in the school system; I’ve never had to be motivated to learn in the school setting apart from the motivation of grades. Although this was a confusing idea for me to grasp, it ended up being freeing and even changed my take on learning. It challenged the way I think about school and provided me with new ideas. I appreciate the ability we had to learn this way, especially in a class studying a lot of the politics that hinder the school system.
This year has been an annoying year for aspiring teachers at Carolina as UNC got rid of the undergraduate education majors. In my conversations with older students who have had experience in the classroom, they’ve explained to me that while teaching is rewarding there are a lot of hoops to jump through with all of the policies. Through this course, I realized how little I knew about all of the complexities of the education system. We were shocked by videos of scripted curriculum and were angered as we learned about what can happen to schools that don’t meet AYP under the No Child Left Behind Act. A class full of aspiring teachers, policy makers, and even totally different professions were all moved and passionate about the different things we studied, which was pretty exciting in my opinion.
One of my favorite days this year was when we got to go out on campus and get student’s opinions about education. My group asked a pretty broad question: “What do you think is the biggest problem with the education system.” We were all surprised by the different answers; some were angry, some were insightful, some were well-informed, and some were pretty funny. These students are probably some of the brightest and most driven students from their high schools (since they are here at UNC) and are closer to the education system than many of the people making the policies. It was exciting to see that even students who are not pursuing education have an opinion and an interest in the problems facing the system. Although learning about education policies has made me nervous to teach in a few years (hopefully), it’s also made me realize how important teachers are and all the more excited for the challenge.