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Mhari Goldstein

Reflection Journal 1
Epsy 415
I know youre reading these so this is a fairly honest but tempered way of journaling. I
get why we have to do these things as a way of checking in, of having hard evidence and
quantitative data to support grades. What frustrates me about grad school is the same thing that
frustrated me in middle school. I came here with a clear goal in mind, it would take me two years
to write and develop a curriculum I know is strong but that I dont know how to write. Two years
of focused design, paired with teachers or mentors who could motivate, educate, and inspire.
Instead I sit through broad lectures on a various number of subjects churning out evidence that
Im learning. Im offered an assembly line education when I want to be handcrafted by artisans.
This couldnt be more evident than in the first class of this semester. While I respect the
work and the passion of the people in my cohort I am amazed at how many of them are here
without direction or dont know what they want to do with this degree. They are starting at
square one and I feel held back by them because we must all start at square one. I feel
unmotivated. Its here that I think my greatest disagreement with the educational system lays;
wisdom cannot be taught, it must be experienced. It doesnt matter how much intelligence one
has if they do not have the wisdom to apply it. I spent years traveling, meeting people, listening
to their stories, and experiencing how they lived their lives before finding an education program
that fit what I wanted to do (not the other way around). The wisdom I gained humbled me and
allowed me to recognize the ways that I could apply my privilege and my intelligence in ways
that could be shared.
So, I asked teachers and educators that I knew if they could share their intelligence with
me and help me write this curriculum. Sure, they replied, but you should go to school to learn
these things. No one will take you seriously without a degree. Now, I am here at school and the
things that have stuck with me most, the intelligence that I have gained, has come through

experiential, guided education. Having a short lecture on the concepts of youth identity (not the
people who came up with them) and then have discussion and debate as a whole. Sure, I can
share my feelings during check-ins but, if you want to know something honest about me, ask me
to defend something I believe in.
Spending time as an in home tutor taught me more about the needs of many
communities around America and an article in the paper could have. My year of service with
AmeriCorps taught me more about the complexities and politics of poverty in America than a 3
minute news segment possibly ever could. Do we really question why our national political
discourse is the way it is when the majority of us get our education dictated to us? Doing 30
hours each of observation in grade school bilingual courses and adult ESL classes taught me
more about the way I want to outline my curriculum and structure my program than any lecture.
We have lost the art of the apprenticeship, of teaching through shared knowledge and shared
experience. I dont doubt that my professors are passionate about the subjects theyre teaching
but I can only imagine how much harder it is to get 30 students to cared about it than it is to find
those one or two that love it as much as you do. I certainly believe the latter will be far more
effective than the former.
My independent study will have to serve as the space for me to begin writing my
curriculum and creating a program structure but I am still mire in the readings and assignments
due in other classes. I am without a mentor who takes the time to sit with me one and one and
workshop this with me. The responsibility is mine however and I know what I need to do. That I
lack the discipline to do it can no longer be an excuse. I will just have to do this on my own and
ask for critiques and support afterwards. Unless I can find a grant that will allow me to quit my
job and devote my time to writing this program it will, at this point, remain unfinished for years
after I finish this degree while I work to pay off the loans I had to take out to get it. Perhaps I am
2,500 years too late (and female) for a good Socratic education but surely there can be a middle
ground.