Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Follow-up to Previous Post

On Monday I had my first face-to-face contact with the director of the MAT since this whole ordeal began last week. I have her for two classes, one Monday and one Tuesday. Really, this isn't between me and her; it's between me and the contact in the Office of Graduate Student Services (OGS), which in my humble opinion isn't living up to its name very well as they have been anything BUT a service to me. The latest, which I found out just prior to meeting with the MAT director before class was that a "Disposition Assessment" was filed that stated I was rated as "NEEDS IMPROVEMENT in one or more categories of Professionalism, Work Ethic, and Personal Qualities." It provides a link to a website where I can view it in more detail, but surprise surprise, the website isn't even up yet. Go KSU!

In speaking with the director, I found out that the contact in OGS was majorly "offended" by my last e-mail (the one posted on my last it for yourself and please comment!) and referred it to the Dean of the College of Education. She did not respond to it at all; only the director of the MAT responded. Apparently, the biggest offense on my part was speaking to her as "a peer." So it's OK for them to talk down to me and be unprofessional in their responses and not answer or address concerns, but it isn't OK for me to talk to them like a fellow human being. And as far as speaking to them like a peer, I am much more casual in how I address my classmates and people I know on a personal level, so I hardly consider the way I said things in my last e-mail less than I would speak to someone I am less familiar with who is in a position of authority. Let's not forget too that this person is the listed contact from the College to address problems and questions we might have. The director of the MAT, the only person who actually knows me, has been trying to make sure people up there know what I'm really like, but as far as I can tell from our conversations, she doesn't understand where I'm coming from. She told me if I do stuff like this in teaching, I won't last long. If that is indeed true, then it is no wonder teaching as a profession has such a difficult time keeping and even getting highly qualified and motivated people to teach. You stifle someone's ability to think and fail to provide professional, thorough answers and you can bet people that can get out will. And even then, if a school was upset with how I responded to something, they could remind me that I'm working for them. Right now, I am NOT working for Kent State; I am paying THEM to educate me. BIG difference. I stand by everything I said and how I said it. If it was so offensive and unprofessional, then someone there needs to show me exactly WHAT was so bad about it and WHY. In the end, my crime was not saying what I needed to in the way they have deemed appropriate.

It goes without saying that during class on Monday night all this was weighing heavily on my mind as I had just found out about the disposition assessment and was still very frustrated and upset with the whole process and what I had been told. I was on the edge emotionally for the first half of the class...I'm still not sure how I made it through without having to excuse myself. I sat separated from most of the class, but thankfully I have good friends in class who were part of my summer cohort. Some came over and sat by me and just showed they cared. Nothing pushy or intrusive, just genuine concern. I'm glad they did. One of the best feelings when going through a tough time is to know you aren't alone. It's funny...when I'm upset and I realize I have caring people around me, sometimes it makes me even more emotional.

Part of me wants to just forget about this all and just get on with life. I want nothing more than to be done with school so I can get a job somewhere (in or out of education) and become independent financially. I've been in school almost non-stop (outside most of the summers) for some 6 years (going on 7) not counting the 2 years on my mission. I'm tired of school. But I know that in the end here, I'm being screwed and that doesn't sit well with me in any case, but especially when I am investing such a large amount of money, time, and effort into this program. Even the director of the MAT said she or the OGS Contact had never seen anyone react the way I have. That tells me a lot right there: they really don't know how to deal with me, so they just referred me to someone higher; not so that person can answer my questions and concerns, but more out of a perceived discipline problem. So, I will explore my options. I'm certainly not out to get anyone fired or change a bunch of rules; I was all ready to surrender (I signed up for my extra class), but as soon as this disposition assessment was filed against me, it pretty much forced me to act in the name of my reputation and what is right. In the end, I feel I was not dealt with in a professional way.

On a related note, I found out yesterday that, in fact, I have not been placed at Rootstown, at least not yet. I was told over a week and a half ago that I had been placed at Rootstown's middle and elementary schools by my faculty advisor at the School of Music. I hadn't received any official documentation and my advisor told me the MAT would provide me with that. So I talked to the director of the MAT and she told me to call a person in one of the offices in the College of Education (not the OGS thank goodness!). I called and left a message Tuesday morning and then at class Tuesday afternoon, the director of the MAT (who is also my professor for that class) let me know she had been in contact with the person I had called earlier and that, in fact, I had not been placed yet and I am currently the only MAT student to not have any placement (how comforting). Since I need to have 100 hours of observation by the end of the semester, I'm a little nervous, but the MAT director just told me to take it easy for the time being. I am sure glad that I got in 10 hours of observation the first week of school at Roosevelt and Stanton! If I don't have a placement in 2 weeks, I may end up doing more observations at both schools and maybe even some of the elementary schools here in Kent.

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