Monday, August 26, 2013

Day One

My first day of graduate school is complete! I only had two classes but still, it's over! As I just finished my second class, my brain is rambling on and on with thoughts of everything I took in today and I feel the best way to get it all sorted out is to write it here and let you read it. I know this may not be that exciting, but it might give you a little more insight on what I'll be studying throughout my time with MIIS.

Class 1: Marketing and Recruiting in International Education

Going into this class, I was a little unsure about how it would be. I had heard from some of last year's class that it was an challenging course but one that they really enjoyed. When I see the words marketing and recruiting, I honestly can't say much about them [or before 8 a.m. this morning I couldn't.] They were foreign words to me because I felt that I never really had any experience with them. Class started and the instructors (the class is dual taught) introduced themselves and their background in the marketing/recruiting/international education fields, and after we discussed the syllabus and what will be expected of us, we were asked to give our own background on marketing and recruitment - what experience did we have with those two jobs and job skills. I sat there, stumped. "Well, shoot, I don't know anything about either of those!'' But then the more I thought about it, I realized that I did in fact have plenty of experience and when it came time for me to talk, it just all came out and as I sat down, I said to myself, "Wow, I know more about these fields than I thought!" 

Following my study abroad semester in college, I spent my entire senior year volunteering and working with both my study abroad company, AustraLearn, and my international education office at Elmhurst. With AustraLearn, I did various things to help promote the company including helping and running their booths at the Elmhurst study abroad fairs. I talked about my experience in New Zealand, encouraged students to sign up for information, and [bragged] about how amazing it is to study abroad because you learn so much about yourself in such a short time. Through my study abroad office at Elmhurst, I did everything from talking to classrooms of freshmen students to developing a giant video project where I interviewed study abroad alumni students about their experiences, what they learned, advice they would give, etc. These videos were made to promote the study abroad office as well as encourage prospective and current students to study internationally. Well would ya look at that  - I marketed and recruited in the IE field and I didn't even realize it! 

I think I am really going to enjoy this class because I don't really know that much about marketing or recruiting and it is a very huge part of international education and education in general. It will be intense, but I am up for the challenge!

Class 2: Comparative International Education

When I was a senior in college, I had to take several classes related to education and the theory and practices around it. At that time, I had no background in teaching, I had no desire to teach, and I sat through that class with a frown and bad attitude because it had nothing to do with what I was studying at Elmhurst (but I had to take it.) There were several other students who were in the same position as me, yet our instructor refused to take in the fact that not all of the students in the class weren't studying education. For those of us that had never taken education classes, each class was brutal and we stumbled through it. I honestly cannot remember one thing that I was taught in the class. All I remember is that I had to write papers about topics that made no sense to me, and even after asking the teacher for help, still were confusing. I did pass the class though, so I guess that's all that matters.

Today, I sat down in my second class a little questionable about what was headed my way. The teacher started talking and my heart sunk a little because it almost felt that it would be a repeat of the class from college, but then, a light shined down as we went around the classroom and spoke about our own "comparative education moments." I can't really give you a good definition of comparative education yet because it's only day one, but what I can tell you is that each and every one of the students in my class enlightened and taught me about something related to education in all different aspects. We all come from different backgrounds, different places, and different countries. Everyone's view on education is different, and I like that because it just means that I have more to learn.

But what I really learned and took note of is that after being an educator for the past 2.5 years, I know something about education! I was a teacher. I was the one standing in front of the classroom thinking, "What the hell do I do now?" I was the one who got frustrated, the one who had to deal with students who just didn't care, and the one who realized that maybe teaching isn't for me...but...I was also the one who loved seeing a student progress throughout the year, the one who woke up everyday excited and ready to go to school [I must say that this was how I felt in American Samoa only], and the one who figured out what an adverb is, only to forget it again. I mean really, what is an adverb?! I am extremely passionate about education and being a teacher really brought that out of me. Up until about an hour ago, I really didn't think about how much I actually learned from being a teacher. Now everything is starting to click, and I'm really excited. 

This class is going to be really great. For once in my life, I'm excited to participate and discuss and raise my hand [all things I HATED to do in high school and undergraduate.]

Y'all - I think I'm in the right place and doing the right thing. 

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