So I have my big portfolio project due for school tomorrow. I'm mostly done. Phoning something in doesn't take that long. The project is basically a compilation of a number of different assignments we had over the course of the year in different classes: a statement of our "philosophy" of social studies education, a resume, some units on history or economics, the social justice action project and a social justice "inquiry brief," the usual suspects. We also have to organize it around a quirky/peppy theme. For example, one person did a wedding theme, with her assignments grouped under subthemes like "dating," "proposing," "wedding planning," etc. Another one from a past year was about an ordinary boy transforming into a popular superhero. One girl in my class did something akin to "Riding the equity bus to the state capitol." (Equity is a really big word these days. I don't know what happened to "equality," but it's out.) Anyway, the portfolio is supposed to signify the changes you go through in the master's program. But it's just so silly. I think back to my undergraduate days and I simply cannot imagine a professor giving such a childish assignment. Can you imagine turning in an academic paper with the title "Peter Parker transforms into Superman"? It's almost insulting. And we get a master's degree for this? I think the program knows how silly it is too, because some of the language they use to describe the project requirements just sound like fancy language trying to cover up for intellectual bankruptcy. Witness:
- "The portfolio should be integrative, synthetic, and evaluative.
- Translation: The portfolio should be big word to make me look smart, big word to confirm smartness, big word to blow their minds with the smartness.
- "The portfolio is not a scrapbook, although it may resemble one, but a new creation which assimilates the diverse aspects of the candidate's experiences during the master's program."
- Translation: The portfolio is a scrapbook. Get over it.
- "The portfolio should be organized around a theme which will be set out in an introductory essay explicating and organizing the choice of materials."
- Translation: Choose a theme. Write an essay on why you chose your theme. Explain the materials you included.
- Introductory essay: "This essay should indicate the organizing schema governing the selection of the 'artifacts' of the student's teaching 'journey' contained within the portfolio.
- Translation: Write an essay on why you chose your theme. Explain the materials you included.
- Curriculum Units: "Please make sure to include content goals and skill goals. For these goals, state concisely why you have chosen to include them in your unit as well as insuring your instructional objectives derive from your unit goals."
- Here's what JLo would say to this: "Girl, please. You would not know concise if it hit you with a wood cutout of the word 'explicate.'"
- I called JLo and asked her. She said that's what she would say.
- Social justice paper: "What role has any of the following played in social studies over the last several decades and how, if at all, do these topics relate to social justice?
--notions of self-actualization
--Supreme Court cases
Does the inclusion of "self-actualization" mean we can use the book "I'm Ok, You're Ok" as a source? What if using that book would help me realize my full potential?
- Social justice paper: "Your paper will be a reflection of your shared knowledge, acknowledged here as tentative and embryonic, of these signficant questions around social justice and social studies education."
- Translation: Your paper will be about what you know and what your classmates know, which is not a lot. Your knowledge is, in fact, similar to a hesitant fetus.
- Student teaching reflective papers: "What are the norms, practices, rituals, customs, values, power structures, group affiliations, and status systems that define and shape your classroom setting?
- Well, let's see. We usually start off by sacrificing a goat on the altar of Mammon, cuz he's our favorite god. Then Raquita, who is the Queen Bee of the Nest, leads us through a little blood-letting and some chanting while Michael, affiliated with the school's most elite acapella group, tends the burning incense. Everyone gives a tithe to me, the Dragon Mother, and after that we start the Do Now.
That's all for today. I have to go finish my portfolio.