Writing and Research Self-Evaluation

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Writing and Research Self-Evaluation

-- Anonymous, January 25, 1999


Writing and Research for Master's Degree Students

Self-Assessment Tina Meyers

As I begin to process this assignment and the boundaries of my professional and academic interests it is important to address my belief in education and from that belief the direction in which it has helped guide and channel the professional and academic choices in my life.

I believe that education does not take place only within the four walls of a classroom. The experiences of an individual are all important because they lead to development of understanding and inquisition. Education, whether formal or informal, is what drives society. What an individual does with the information or skills they have acquired in the classroom or from personal experience is key to communities everywhere. The job of the parent and teacher is to facilitate that natural curiosity every child has and to continue to motivate those students to forge on and strive to make a difference. My belief is that education is imperative to a better community and better world.

My academic background began in the International Falls School District. I believe that the foundation of my philosophy concerning education and the social aspect of education began in the trenches of elementary school and junior high. They are the years of impressions and acceptance, or lack thereof. As I reflect on my elementary and junior high experience I realize that I was not unlike many students who felt moments of anxiety and uncertainty. However as a parent now, I realize the importance of the role of the parent and also educators in addressing adolescent moods and feelings and discussing them with children so they understand the emotional, physical, and social changes that affect them. My early education was neither positive nor negative, I believe that I just drifted through as a warm body placed at a desk.

As an only child, my parents were interested in my education and social life, but not involved in any specific school activities. They attended parent-teacher conferences, but that was the extent of their participation in my education. I went to school, did my homework, and brought home my report card. My parents were both average students so they felt that as long as I was doing average work that was good enough. Neither of my parents attended college. My father had a good paying job at Boise Cascade at the topic of the importance of an education was never addressed. It was not an issue in my home. My husband and I are both involved with our children's activities and also with their education. We meet with their teachers at parent-teacher conferences, I volunteer for field-trips, and communicate informally with concerns or questions. Our children know that their education matters to us and because of our constant communication with their teachers, they know we value education. I wish that my parents and teachers had encouraged me more in school, perhaps I would have tried harder, but that intrinsic motivation was not there for me then. I didn't have student responsibility or a desire to apply academics to my life.

It's not that my teachers in the past were inadequate teachers. I believe that it's quite the contrary. I know my basic facts and can remember the Presidents of the United States; however, I didn't know who I was or what potential I had to offer others and society as a whole. I know that when I chose to be an educator, elementary education was not the road I wanted to travel, but I respect and commend those that face the playground jungle everyday and keep going back for more; they're more patient than I am! Even though I drifted through elementary and junior high I believe that those fundamental years were extremely important in the development of my non-committed outlook and personal feelings about my education and myself. Of course, I did have a few teachers that I vividly remember, but for the most part I never felt good about getting up in the morning and going to school. I try very hard as an educator to make sure that my students aren't just drifting through. I find that motivating students is one of the biggest challenges I face. "The Quality School" by Glasser was very enlightening and helpful in that it addressed the issue of coercion and how it doesn't work. I have implemented some new assessments in my courses that measures the level of student understanding, but also includes self-evaluation that fosters personal development. The teachers we have now in School District 361 are extraordinary. I know that my own children have experienced a positive learning environment and have been challenged and guided by excellent teachers. I value their expertise and trust in knowing they can help lay a positive foundation about education for my children.

My high school experience was the catalyst for the transition in my belief and philosophy regarding my own education. The environment for learning began to change as the high school curriculum began to diversify and I found that I could make important choices about my education. I am an alumnus of Falls High School and am proud to tell my children that they attend a high school that has academic and athletic traditions throughout the state. It was in the halls and classrooms of FHS that I gained some self-awareness and began to realize that part of academia is the experience outside of the classroom as well as within. For me, that experience was very positive and I began to look to the future. High school was when I began to value education in general. I began to look at what I was studying and how it could help me achieve my goals. I attribute this transformation to several very dedicated and caring teachers and also the encouragement from my parents. My son is in 8th grade this year and I am amazed at the quality of work he brings home and the level at which the assignments are measured. I tip my hat to the educators that challenge their students and to those that are not afraid to assess themselves and change when change is needed.

A high school counselor once told me that I wasn't college material. I began to second-guess my academic ability and myself. The B's and periodic A's I received at FHS tended to fade into the background and I decided that I would save my family money and attend the local community college. The business and accounting classes that I took at the high school helped in my decision to pursue the Office Automation degree at Rainy River Community College. As an adult and a college student, I began to feel like a bigger part of the whole. International Falls was my community, not just a city in which I lived. RRCC was not only an institution that helped guide my academic and subsequent professional goals, but forced me to evaluate who I was and where I was going in life. The instructors facilitated another level of self-awareness. I began to question without scorn and investigate without anxiety. It was at RRCC I profoundly realized that without an education I would not be able to accomplish the professional goals I had set for myself. Moments of doubt in my ability to measure up as a student had flew out the window and I was ready for the ride of my life!

After completing the requirements for the Office Automation degree I completed liberal arts courses and also obtained an Associate of Arts degree and transferred to Bemidji State University in the Business Education department. I excelled in college and began to set new goals for myself and rarely limited my thoughts to the negative and began to vision. The curriculum was rigorous and fulfilling and BSU prepared me to take on the new task of educator. I wanted to challenge my students and also make a difference in how they not only achieved in their coursework, but I also help them assess their own personal development in school and in their personal lives. I wanted to make a difference!

After graduating from Bemidji State with a Bachelors of Science in Business Education I immediately began to teach as an adjunct faculty at Rainy River Community College in the Computer Science and Business departments. Since then I have developed the Computer Information Systems Associate of Science degree offered on campus and am very active in a new portfolio cornerstone and capstone project that focuses on portfolio development with outcomes of personal development, awareness of diversity, and cooperative learning skills.

Although I have not always felt positive about my past educational experiences I have a strong belief in what education can do for a person that applies himself or herself. I see it with students I have in my classes now and also with past students that have gone on to graduated with Bachelor's degrees. A few of my past students have completed their Master's degrees. All of them have something in common. They were focused, they had vision enough to set their goals, and they had a solid work ethic. Education, dedication, and hard work provide endless possibilities for life and for everyone. I enjoy the field of technology and the constant training it requires. I hope that through my encouragement, the students in my classes continue to inquire and grow in understanding of not just technology issues, but also in life. I would like to believe that I am making a difference. This continues to be my professional goal.

The M. Ed Program has fit well with my academic and professional goals. I plan on finishing my Master's in the spring of 2000. The degree will open new doors for me at the community college level and with the computing and technology courses I have taken through UMD, it will help transition me into new areas of study and expertise. Can a personal be interested or even driven with motivation in the classroom without a true belief in education? I don't believe so. I know that the direction I continue to map out for myself in terms of education directly stem from my strong belief in life-long learning. Education continues to challenge me and those challenges are what force me to continually assessment my teaching and my personal life.

One challenge in my academic and personal life has been that of writing with feeling. When I attended RRCC and BSU I took only those courses required. Composition I, II, and III, and also a technical writing course. I do not have any experience using the APA style format and I am very intimidated and somewhat embarrassed about my writing ability. The thesis project will be an interesting endeavor for me.

When originally approached about the thesis topic I began to explore the portfolio assessment area. Because portfolio is on the edge of technology right now and also because Rainy River will be implementing new assessment strategies in the area of portfolio, my original literature reviews were numerous and resources were plentiful. However, shortly after beginning the research process I was approached by administration on campus at RRCC to develop a Computer Science curriculum that would eventually work into an Associate of Science degree. This is now the direction that I plan on taking for my thesis research project. My goal is to research and implement the offering of an A.S. in Computer Science at Rainy River.

-- Anonymous, May 07, 1999

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