Thursday, December 29, 2011

Lots to catch up on

It's been almost a month since my lat post and a lot has happened. I was so crazy busy that I hardly had time to fit sleep into my day, let alone blogging. Work was busy facilitating workshops with faculty because they had no students for a period of time during exams. Those were long days but interesting.

Then I set December 31 as the date to finish writing the final chapter of my dissertation. I planned to complete it while I was in Florida but decided that I was probably not going to get much accomplished with 12 people in the house. By Dec 9, I revised my arbitrary deadline to Dec 24 and started writing that weekend. I dis that for almost the entire weekend, between babysitting Hana and Breen and going to the theatre. We went to see Romeo and Juliet and it was a very contemporary interpretation of Shakespeare's play with an Arab girl falling in love with a Jewish boy. The play was done in old English so I think that many audience members were bored with that. We ended up leaving at the intermission.

I spent every waking moment of spare time the next week furiously writing and then the weekend of Dec 17-18 I stayed at the computer for pretty much the entire weekend writing. I kept looking at my notes and writing and then it would feel like I wrote pages and pages and still had the same amount of notes left. Robin and Mom kept me supplied with food and drink but I was so focused on what I needed to say that I had no idea what I was eating or drinking. By Sunday morning at 5:30, when I woke up and started having a conversation in my head about Marxist analysis, I knew that it was time to go back to the computer and get the thoughts down on paper. So I burned up the pages with what I had to say and by that evening, the chapter was done. That was Dec 18. My head was so fuzzy that I couldn't make a simple decision about what I needed to do to go up to bed - that is, get up from the sofa and put one foot in front of the other to climb the stairs. That's how tired my brain was.

I spent the early part of the next week doing some Christmas baking for my colleagues in my office and made up the gift bags. I gave those away and felt that I had had enough time away from my chapter that I could now go back to editing it before sending it off to my supervisor. I did that by Thursday evening and sent her a note saying that I would like to be able graduate in April if at all possible. I have quite a bit of the work done already and if she gives me some timely feedback and I work really hard at the edits and final bits of writing, I may be able to graduate in April.

The completed work to date total 460 pages and I am estimating that by the time I am done, it will be about 475 pages. That's been my life's work in the past 4 years. Of course that's not counting my full-time work and family commitments. I would advise anyone wanting to do a PhD to be a full-time student rather than working full-time and studying full-time. It's absolutely crazy to do it the way I am doing it but then again, my initial plan was to do it full-time. Life has a way of throwing you a curve ball and you just have to deal with it or you are out of the game. My supervisor wrote back to say that she will do the reading and suggest any edits and after that, I'll send it to the other two committee members to read and comment and I'm good to go. The next stage is to find two external examiners for the oral defence. One has to be external to my faculty but can be from another faculty and the other has to be external to the university. I don't have to find the people. The university will do that but because of the interdisciplinary nature of my research, they will need to be people who are versed in teacher education, vocational education and transformative education. A couple of people come to mind but I don't have to worry about that.

What I am concerned about though is what is going to happen or what may happen after the dissertation becomes public. What I have to say is a critique of government and institutional policies that do not favour the worker and the college where I work is one of those institutions. It is not a criticism of the college per se, because that college is no different from many other colleges in Canada, but people take it as a personal criticism of them rather than the institutions. Anyway, it won't be the first time I lost a job for questioning the way things are done that are not always fair and equitable. At the end of the day, I have to live with myself so I will have to face whatever consequences may arise and hope that someday someone will recognize that I was a person ahead of my time or maybe I am too much of a dreamer and all dreams do not come true. Enough of that.

I am in Florida with my family and really enjoying the time with the 12 of us.   More about that in the next post.


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