Tuesday, July 12, 2011

We Tried

Our guest speaker for today was Steven Melzer, the Director of Human Resources and Organizational Strategy at Expeditionary Learning and a former member of the New York Department of Education. He gave us a presentation entitled “Education in the U.S.: Who’s in Charge?” 

I learned some very interesting things about education in the U.S. Education is not a constitutional right. It is a mandate of all the state constitutions but is not the responsibility of the national government. I was also surprised to learn that the Department of Education is the smallest department by far, of the entire federal government.

His advice for life was a bit more colorful and I definitely won’t forget it. He urged us to not succumb to pressure to feel like we must know exactly where we want to be in 5, 10, 20 years but instead, to focus on knowing where we are now, in terms of our skills and interests and let that lead the way. He also said if you don’t think you are going to fail your job or class or assignment in the first few weeks you start, you are doing something wrong. This is because a fear of failure can be some of the best motivation, and if you do not think you are going to fail, it is probably because you are not challenging yourself.

This evening, Eric and I attempted to fulfill our required museum visit by joining an R.A. trip that was headed to the Guggenheim Museum. Unfortunately, the trip was plagued with delays leaving campus, waiting 30 minutes for a bus we had to transfer from anyway, transferring to a different bus and walking a few blocks to the museum. The trip was scheduled to leave at 4:15 and, due to the delays, we arrived at around 5:30 – five minutes before the museum closed.

The R.As didn’t want to waste an entire trip so we headed down to Rockefeller Center. After getting something to eat and walking along 5th Ave. for a while, Eric and I decided to part ways with the group and headed back to campus.

This week is almost half way over and I am definitely feeling the pressure. My research paper, though only at 15 pages so far, is coming along nicely, I think, and I am very grateful for Doc. Z’s patience and advice during our conferences. I always leave our one on one discussions with a clearer vision of what I need to focus on.

Tomorrow, we begin our discussions of current President Barack Obama.

1 comment:

  1. Beilul,

    Did your guest speaker also tell you about how many efforts that have been made by the Republican legislators to kill the Department of Education? They feel that education should be left up to the states in its entirety. Of course, in this way they can have more control over the content in the schools. Since many people in these states rely on their faith to guide them, this becomes a large part of their decision making process when it comes to what can be taught in their schools. The schools become extensions of their churches and their religious beliefs.

    Sorry to read about your troubles with the museum trip. It doesn’t sound like the trip was scheduled to allow you all that much time in the museum anyway. If you were scheduled to depart at 4:15 that leaves really only a little more than an hour in the museum. I’ve been to some museums where that’s plenty of time to see everything and still browse the gift shop but I’m betting that the Guggenheim isn’t one of those types of museums.