Vito Prosciutto: Teaching community college math on the road to a PhD.

Monday, July 28, 2003

A blog begins, who I am 

I've decided to take the plunge and do a proper blog of my experiences as a math teacher. Like any good narrative, this account starts in media res, with me roughly halfway through my graduate education preparing to become a teacher.

Once upon a time I was a computer programmer, and while I didn't much care for the job, or plan on it, that was more or less my career path for a dozen years after college. After September 11th, I told myself that as soon as I had enough money saved up to take a year or so off, or the next time I got laid off, whichever came first, I was going to go back to school and get my teaching credential. Three months later I was laid off.

I managed to get into a master's program at a large public university (I'm going to be a bit vague with details at times to preserve my anonymity and the anonymity of those who I write about. I hope that by doing so, I can be brutally honest and this blog will have some value to readers, particularly other teachers and would-be teachers). After a year, one thing that I would say to anyone beginning any college program is that if you can possibly manage it, do not attend a public university right now. State budget cuts are wreaking havoc with just about every public college and university. I hope that the situation is better at private schools which are less dependent on tax dollars to keep things running. It's worth noting that the better private schools have sufficient financial aid resources available that the cost of attending a private school can often be less than it would be for the state uni (that was the case when I did my undergrad).

So, anyway, at this point, over three semesters (including summer school), I've racked up 46 hours of classes and almost nothing of practical use in a classroom in those classes. Talking to current teachers, the general consensus is that the real education begins in your own classroom.

I had a TAship from the math department for two semesters, but between budget cuts and some frankly duplicitous behavior from the DGS, my TAship has been tenuous at best. I don't have anything for the fall, and I'm going to end up having to take out a loan since my savings have been completely depleted at this point.

So that's about all I'm going to write tonight. It's summer, I'm unemployed and done with summer school so I'm just going to kick back, enjoy the Harry Connick CD playing on the stereo and maybe waste some time with Civ III. Tomorrow I can try finding work for the last few weeks of the summer.

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