04 September 2009

I feel a rant coming on...

Let me start off with a qualifier... I'm tired. Not physically tired, but emotionally and intellectually exhausted. After two weeks of classes and navigating this new context, it's beginning to feel less foreign, and for this I am grateful. But I get the distinct feeling that with the newness some of the adreneline is also wearing off. My motivation for plowing through the obstacles that seem to crop up with great regularity is also waning and I imagine simply giving in to the system that's already in place.

I desperately want to be passionate and committed to my ideals and visions of implementing IC3 on a broader scale at AGU, and it appears that RCCD (Resource Center for Rural Development) would be the natural partner since its students are already involved in development work in their home communities. But I've been told that this is not a group of students that we experiment with... and so I'm stuck.

There are so many obstacles in my path right now: the existing curriculum that does not allow for growth in critical thinking or increased comfort level with intercultural and development partners; the wide range of student ability that seems to make it impossible to meet the more advanced students' need for stimulation and challenge while also addressing the more basic needs of the other learners; the constrained flexibility of the RCCD itself, I've been told I can use the curriculum of my choice but have also been discouraged from deviating from the established curriculum, and my own ineptitude. I'm more passionate than I am knowledgeable and that seems pretty dangerous. Perhaps my idealism has blinded me to the realities that this course includes, but it seems irresponsible to waste valuable time and resources teaching skills that exist in a vaccum. Instead of teaching students to write about traditional foods or the like, wouldn't it be more useful in their work to learn the same skills but in the context of development issues such as health or education? Again, perhaps I'm being naive but it's just frustrating.

At this point, it feels like it's too late for me to back out of this cohort since classes start on Monday, but I'm just not sure that I can work within this system. I dread the thought of being constrained by such an irrelevant curriculum but don't feel like I have the freedom or the ability to come up with a suitable alternative. I wouldn't have agreed to teach this course if I'd known I'd have to use the existing curriculum since that's not really the reason I'm here, and while I hate to sound selfish, I don't really feel like this is the best use of my time here. While most of my experiences here so far have worked toward assuaging my fear that this is an assignment beyond my capabilities, I'm afraid I may have underestimated the challenge that this RCCD class is going to provide. I guess we'll see...

No comments:

Post a Comment