I'm sitting in the library at the ol' Faculty of Edumacation, wasting time... er... going over my thesis yet again, preparing for my defence this afternoon.
Last night I headed on down to a little spot down by the lake and pontificated in the darkness while watching the radio towers on Wolfe Island blink away with their magic airplane-repelling strobe lights. I soon came to the conclusion that, while more letters behind my name look nice, academia — at least the kind that goes on in this building, and perhaps in others like it — isn't for me.
Every day, week, semester and year I teach those goofball teenagers, I do way more to better society than I could ever accomplish in this building. Really, what do people do here in this weird, insular, head-in-the-clouds place? People are more concerned with shutting out the outside world and working on some theory about some little piece of some kid's education... and while some of that is all well and good, I never cease to be amazed at how few people in a Faculty of Education look at the mechanics of what goes on inside a classroom.
There's a reason why teachers don't subscribe to educational research journals: they're written by education professors for education professors. The average teacher never reads any of that gobbledeygook, and if they do, it's either by accident, in the midst of doing graduate work in education, or whilst sitting on the shitter at some education professor's house.
The only way education research can actually have an effect on classrooms, as far as I can tell, is if some theory gets kicked around for a decade or so and a small morsel of it might be gradually squeezed into school board's practices, or perhaps even a piece of legislation. (During the Harris years, though, if there was any sort of education-based legislation it would've gone in the opposite direction to what these people recommended, but that's beside the point.)
Anyway, the conclusion to which I came, which I suggested earlier, was that I can do far more to better the world inside my classroom than I could ever do in the world of academia. That's a little disappointing (I really did like the schedule-flexibility in grad school) and a lot disillusioning (especially when someone you've held up as a professional mentor for years ends up being a less-than-stellar thesis supervisor), but it's the truth. I don't know if I'll spend my entire professional career as a classroom teacher — something tells me I won't — but I'm pretty damn sure I won't eventually end up here.