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Talking to Myself

This week I thought I might just post some of the quotes that I find myself saying to students (often when they are particularly anxious/stressed though not always).  These are also the same things I say to myself. I’ve found self-talk/trying to keep a rational and positive internal dialogue going a great reassurance.  Now, I’m not a psychologist, so I write these quotes/questions with the caveat that these are things I’ve found useful though I’m fully aware that they will be little help if you have clinical anxiety or depression. In which case, take heart but also go and talk to a professional.

Some quotes I like:

“Comparison is the thief of joy. ” – Theodore Roosevelt (There’s always someone younger than you, smarter than you, more talented than you etc but that doesn’t lessen your achievements or the pride you can take in your work! On a side note, I try not to think too hard about the fact that I’ll never become a professional tennis player for this very reason. Also, I don’t play tennis which is another problem.)

“What do you call the doctor who came last in his class? A doctor.” – This one’s courtesy of my dad. He didn’t make it up but not sure where he got it from…

“If you’re not happy with your OP, I’ll re-enrol you in year 12 and you can sit for it again!” – Definitely my Dad’s. He said this to me when I got a really good OP (though not the best OP) and I cried for 2 days.  Puts things in perspective! I’m not sure of anyone who would willingly re-enrol/resit a piece of assessment that they passed just to go for a better mark…

Some questions I like:

Can I remember a time when I didn’t feel like this? (The answer is always yes). Therefore, can I foresee a time in the future when I will no longer feel like this? (Again, the answer is always yes)

What’s the worst that could happen? (Most academic situations are never a matter of life or death)

Why am I here? (Good to ask yourself to get back to the reason why you’re studying)

Short post this week! Next week I’ll be off to compete in the Three Minute Thesis Trans-Tasman Final – woohoo! Perhaps next week I will do a post on public speaking?



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Biting the Bullet

After a few years of being too afraid to post my own opinions on twitter (I prefer just to retweet out of fear of retribution for saying something unpopular, stupid or nonsensical), I’ve decided to start this blog as a way of developing my academic and professional identity and voice. There are a few reasons why now feels like the right time. First, in a couple of months I will be graduating from a Masters by Research (Education).  I figure after spending nearly three years researching and writing on the one topic, I might have something to say. Also, I am planning starting a PhD soon, so maybe I will have even more to say! Second, my wonderful manager has suggested we keep some kind of reflective journal of our teaching and development.  Reflection is such an important aspect of all aspects of life.  For teachers, especially, I feel it’s an essential and often overlooked component of good teaching practice largely because we often don’t have time to formalise such reflections (my observation is that reflection generally occurs informally via a number of colourful conversations over the staffroom table at lunch time). You don’t need to scratch very far beneath the surface to find a number of excellent journal articles pointing to the importance of critical reflection.  A good place to start (especially if you’re a preservice teacher) is here:

Ryan, M. (2012). The pedagogical balancing act: Teaching reflection in higher education. Teaching in Higher Education, 18(2), 1-12. doi:10.1080/13562517.2012.694104

The third reason for starting this blog is that yesterday I won the QUT Three Minute Thesis Final! Wakadoo! So I have some wind in my sails and I figure, why not write a blog?

In this blog I plan to reflect on my roles as a teacher, learner and researcher. I plan on writing about teaching practice (pedagogy) based on my own experience and on the experiences of others; academic skills advice (all the nuts and bolts of academia unrelated to content but integral to the ways we find, create and communicate content). I also want to reflect on my experiences of higher degree research (which can often feel like this); and also share my developing ideas about my research which is largely centered on 13 and 14 year old girls and the ways they use social networking sites to construct their identities. And, yes, there is more to my research than just this.

I’m going to try to make Friday my blogging day – I figure it will be a nice way to reflect on and end the working week!