Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Countdown to Comps

My advisers told me that I can't take any more classes after I finish these in May.  Certainly I need to know more.  A huge body of knowledge waits for further investigation and exploration.  But I have to complete comprehensive exams sometime, and June looks like the time.

Has anyone else suffered more nervousness in the last semester of coursework than in the beginning?  I have only begun the process of walking through the exam requirements and I don't feel ready.  Have I really gleaned all I could from every class experience and every teacher who has taught them?

I think I have seen some signs that perhaps I am ready or nearly there.  Usually my classmates and I latch onto the theories or methodologies presented in the current class or fall in love with particular research topics.  That has been true for me until very recently.  During the summer and fall, we learned about various qualitative research traditions.  During the fall, I noticed a change in some of us.  Instead of oooing and ahhing over each one, we each showed distinct passions for different traditions.  We expressed our own opinions and even wrinkled our noses at some different methodologies chosen by our colleagues.

Recently, a friend of mine sent me an article link that showed the artistic side of State of the Union Address, clearly an arts based researcher's dream.  But I have trouble understanding that tradition.  I love stories.  Narrative inquiry and discourse analysis intrigue me.

Teacher agency and voice.  This is the story I want to learn and want to tell.  What helps the teacher find a confident voice?  Will confident voices inspire teacher agency and advocacy?  These are questions I have today.  They may change slightly tomorrow, but I will still search for the story.  And I will be ready.