Friday, June 27, 2008

On being almost-40, a mom, wife, and grad student.

OK, I have to get this off my chest and I promise that will be it (well, maybe.)

I just completed my first week of grad school and the word I would use to describe myself is EXHAUSTED, but ENLIGHTENED.

I am EXHAUSTED because (and this is for all of you out there who are single, or married without kids, who are thinking they can't do grad school because they just don't have the time... five words for you: SHUT UP and MAN UP)...

... I get up at 5:30 to clear my mind through exercise.
... get home and pack lunches, wake up kids, feed them, get them dressed, pack up my ton o' stuff (really, almost a whole ton... stay tuned, I'm going to weigh it one of these days) and my son's stuff, get myself ready, and herd everyone out the door.
... drop off two kids in two different places, park a few blocks from school, and hoof it up the hill to class.
... class, in this case, does not mean sitting in a lecture (that would be easy)- class means work group and whole group discussions around some really deep readings that were done the night before (more on that later)
... leave class, run off to pick up at least one kid.
... get home, make dinner, eat dinner, clean up dinner, do a little laundry, read to at least one kid, put them to bed.
... by 8:30pm, if I'm lucky, sit down... TO READ at least 100 pages in the reader (which is HUGE... oh, the trees, the trees, felled in the name of academia and learning!!!)

I am ENLIGHTENED because...
... I read Paolo Freire for the first time. For those of you who don't know who he is, he wrote "Pedagogy of the Oppressed" which, yeah, is pretty hard to get the first time around. After discussions, I was fired up to read on... it is fascinating stuff that has so much to do with not just education, but also with society at large. 
... I read Howard Gardner, and not just the multiple intelligences stuff. It was about truth, beauty, and goodness in education as well as his 3 E's- excellence, engagement, and ethics.
... I read Neil Postman and considered my gods and the gods of my school district.
... mostly, I feel ENLIGHTENED because I had meaningful and deep discussions with the folks in my cohort. Wow.

I remain thankful for this harrowing, growing situation I've put myself in. Yeah, I'm older than most of the "kids" in the program. Yeah, I have a family to take care of. Yeah, I still have the same school workload that the "kids" have. But, HELL YEAH, this is wonderful and I'll sleep when I'm dead.

Which, hopefully, won't be too soon.

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