Wow, this is a lot of work!

passion_cart_before_horseOK, I knew it would be challenging.

I believe I came into this with my eyes wide open, no illusions about the level of work that would be required.

But, man, there’s a lot to do!

I’m currently 6 weeks into a 3 year Ed.D. program at California State University, Fullerton, and I’m really enjoying it. I like the intellectual challenges, the exchange of ideas with colleagues in my field, and the high-level discussions of the real issues facing education and school leaders today.

But, whoa, there’s so much to do!

I’m working full time as a middle school AP. My school has needs, in terms of discipline, teacher development, and curricular and cultural change. I’m a parent, with two boys in elementary school with active schedules outside of school including karate and soccer. I’m a husband to a wonderful, patient, understanding woman who also happens to be an elementary school principal at a school with its own needs. I’m a son, a brother, and a friend to others. I have interests beyond education that I’d like to be involved with.  There’s only so much time in the day, only so much time in the week, and all of it seems to be spoken for.

I’m still trying to find the right “groove” to balance all of these disparate demands, the right way to prioritize things on a day-to-day basis, and the right tools to keep myself organized. Do I use Word documents for reading and class notes and save them to Dropbox, or do I use Google Docs? Where do I save pdf copies of articles I come across during research? How do I keep track of what is due when? How do I reconcile my use of newer technologies in this pursuit with the old-fashioned paper copies of things? Can I effectively read cognitively demanding materials online, or do I need to print them out so I can reread, annotate, and underline easily?

I know it can be done, and I’m confident that I’ll eventually find the balance. I’ll figure out how spread myself amongst all the various demands upon my time and attention without getting to thinly spread out, but it’s going to take some time. Which I don’t really have a lot of these days.

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4 comments so far

  1. Kyle on

    I am dealing with similar thoughts. I am a science teacher in my 4th year at a high school in south-central Pennsylvania. I am about to finish a master’s degree in teaching and curriculum, contemplating the next step (on which I’d like to get started ASAP), and am having trouble figuring out the most efficient way to organize research, thoughts & notes.

    In terms of organizing while doing research, I have heard good things about Zotero. It’s a firefox extension that allows for OneNote-ish citation development as well as easy note collection. The downside is that it lives on a single computer, which may be fine if you use one laptop all the time, but could also be frustrating if you want to pull up your work using another machine.

    I have also heard of people using Evernote, with which I am going to experiment. Evernote has the ability to capture notes and screen shots. And while lacking support for any simple citation-making tools, it does sync wonderfully with multiple devices, with content living in the cloud.

    If you have any breakthroughs please update us (me).

    • Jarrett Dooley on

      First stop, Zotero FireFox add-on! It is no joke, and has made my research for my M.Ed. quite a bit easier. Other than Zotero, try Delicious or another social bookmarking site. It will keep all of your online “bookmarks” organized by tags that you create. Works well!

  2. Keisa Williams on

    Keep pushing through. It will all be a wonderful blur when it’s over. I use google docs and google calendar to keep myself organized. You can also save PDFs to google docs. During my 1st graduate program web 2.0 tools weren’t in the abundance that they are now. I wish I had diigo back then. I used the citation machine through both programs without any problems. While I love finding resources online, I am a fan of printing, highlighting, and making notations in the margin. Long live books and paper! Good luck to you! (@keisawilliams -Twitter)

    • middleschoolap on

      Keisa,
      Web 2.0 didn’t exist during my first MA, either. And that was a degree in Educational Technology! Much has changed since then, and fortunately so I have I!
      My university has a citation engine (RefWorks) through their library portal- it will put citations into APA 6th ed format sort-of automatically, which is very nice.
      I’m with you, too, on the printing, highlighting, and notating in the margins. The more cognitively demanding the reading, the more I want it on paper. Call me old fashioned, but it just works better for me that way!


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