This Page

has been moved to new address

The nature of doctoral studies

Sorry for inconvenience...

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
Lead from the Start: The nature of doctoral studies

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The nature of doctoral studies

I will begin posting my work from the doctoral classes I am taking at VCU. Part of the work of the foundations class is to post on a blog. The teacher has added questions and we are to respond and comment on each others' thoughts. So here is my first post from a couple weeks ago. If you are interested in related literature shoot me an email.

I have been warned of the unintended consequences of my pursuit of a PhD by several people. I was especially concerned when a faculty member at the university warned me against the pursuit because I was "not like" the people I would be in the cohort with. I am hoping that this difference will enable me to bring something valuable to the field of education and possibly the sub-disciplines of teacher leadership and early childhood education. I am concerned that an unintended consequence will be that I will be forced to decide on a specialty when I really am interested in both fields.

As an accomplished teacher I have seen the benefits and responsibilities associated with perceived expertise in the field of teaching young children.
I am asked to do more, but also given more opportunities to influence the greater world of education. It is this influence that has called me to pursue the doctorate. I can see that as a teacher, often the "university" set who try to direct teaching in the classroom from afar are disdained. This is a consequence that has caused me to keep my pursuit of a doctorate a secret from all but my closest colleagues. I know that, in my inner city elementary school I will be seen as a know it all. It has taken me a long time to gain credibility as a white male from a middle class background in a school of teachers made up mostly of African-American women from lower middle class backgrounds teaching children of poverty.

I see also a danger in disconnecting from the experiences that I have had to gain this credibility. I have seen that the right person, in the right place, at the right time can make a huge difference in the lives of children. I have spent the last ten years refining my ability to interact with children. Although this pursuit is challenging I am interested in using more of my talents and abilities to make a difference for children and the doctorate will earn me the designation of expert that will enable me to influence the larger world of education. It is this designation that I am seeking. It will empower me to be the right person. I am fearful of the unintended consequence of forgetting where I came from, the classroom. This is a struggle that many individuals go through and which Ruby Payne has described in her work concerning socio-economic mobility. She describes how, when a person moves from one social structure to another they must sometimes lose their connection with the people from their past in order to fully immerse themselves in the new culture.
After acculturating to the new situation the walls between "worlds" can become more permeable.
This unintended consequence is one that I see as inevitable though I don't necessarily know how to cope with yet.



Post a Comment

<< Home