Friday, March 24, 2006

Quals Passed, Proposal Defense to Follow

Thanks to anonymous for asking about the status of my qualifying exams (nothing like leaving a story unfinished). I (Mike) received unofficial word that I had passed the Friday before President's Day (made for a very pleasant weekend!). However, I did not receive official word for another week or so. Phew! This means we won't be packing up and buying that B&B in Alma, New Brunswick. On a more disturbing note, my friend did not pass her exams and has expressed her intent not to continue fighting it out. Some colleagues and I are attempting to convince her otherwise, but the cards seem stacked against her. Not that I am unaware of the difficulty of the process, but this is the first time that I've seen how brutal the process is in the life of someone close.

Sobered, I am now in the process of preparing for my proposal defense. I will be conducting a grounded theory study of educational leadership from the perspective of the led. A grounded theory study is one where you use raw information gathered (mostly) from interviews to develop a new theory about a social process. You are trying to answer a big "How?" question. My big "How" is "How do students enrolled in an educational opportunities program participate in the program’s leadership practices?" Basically, I believe that leadership happens anywhere people get together, and I am interested in looking at leadership from the perspective of the led. What do ordinary people do that affects the ability of organizations to do their jobs? As a teacher, I learned that my biggest problem in the classroom was my own lack of awareness of my students, their needs, and the little things that went on in their lives both in and outside of school each day that helped or hindered their ability to learn. They played a vital role in my ability to do my job. I know, I know. So why did it take pursuing a PhD to learn that. I'll let you in on a secret: PhD's are weird. We don't think like normal people. And we're running your lives! How's that for scary. Anyway, that's the sort of drivel that occupies my time.

On another note, read this book! From the link: "We just don't think critically anymore, says journalist and former Washington Times columnist Michael LeGault. To anyone who's been intrigued by the 'thinking without thinking' concept presented in Malcolm Gladwell's bestseller Blink, LeGault says Gladwell is wrong, and he explains why critical thinking is more critical than ever, in his book Th!nk"

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Our adoption story so far

In December we decided to adopt, and since then we have had a couple of interviews with our social worker, attended a couple of classes to earn our required education hours, created a collage of ourselves to share with potential birth parents, and bought a couple of items for our baby's nursery. We still have a ways to go before we can bring a child into our home. We will have to have three home visits from the adoption agency, and we still have several more education hours before we become certified (although those who know us already know we are certifiable--certifiably nuts). We will also need to create an Internet profile to share more pics with potential birth parents. In all, it is kind of a hurry-up-and-wait game. But we are excited. This has been a really positive experience as we have had the chance to think about what we mean to each other and as we contemplate bringing a new member into our family. Not to be sappy, but we feel as though the experience has brought us closer. We have gone through the expected range of emotions (I guess) as we have made the choice to expand our family through adoption, I think that once we committed to the choice, opportunities and stories opened up that have reinforced that choice. At this point, we are anxious to complete the qualifying process and have our baby!