Unit 4, Activity 3 | Final Reflections

When I entered into the MALAT program, I hoped that it would help me transition from a career in social services to education. I wanted to become an instructor, so I was happy to get an opportunity to collaborate with other instructors and learn from them. What I learned over the year is that the academic environment and its structure are not the right fit for me. This course and the final project were the last nails in the coffin of my idea to become an instructor. While writing this project plan I kept asking myself why is it such a struggle for me? Sure, English is not my first language, so that is one obvious obstacle, but not the biggest one. Even when I speak Ukrainian I tend to use an informal lexicon and shy away from academic/formal language. When I speak English, the need to use a formal/academic language slows down my brain to an unacceptable degree. I also do not think like instructors do(this has become apparent after doing numerous team assignments and talking to other students in a MALAT discord chat). Some people say that academic writing is just like any skill that you can master over time, but writing assignments like the final one we just did, reminds me of how the formal/academic language is sucking the life out of my soul. It is the reason why I am never happy with the final result. I perceive it as just hideous because there is no life in it. It’s dead but forced to live like Frankenstein.
And yet this realization does not feel like a disaster. I still want to be an educator, but perhaps, my path lies outside of academia or the traditional education system such as school. Someplace that is less structured and less cultured. Somewhere where I can speak simply to people who appreciate simple language and don’t mind me swearing once in a while. I might have to stay in community services because I feel like my flaws are often seen as gifts here.
At the same time, I really appreciate all the concepts I learned in this course and this program. Even though I do not see myself as an active agent of change or a leader, I want to be useful to leaders as an educator or an expert, so learning about different leadership styles and project management was great. I feel like now I can offer a critical eye if I am asked. This course has once again confirmed my suspicions that the quality of anything I produce is directly related to how passionate I am about it. Looks like writing plans, proposal and policies does not consume my soul. There must be another way to support change. And hopefully, there is always a place for a passive supporter of change within an organization.

2 thoughts on “Unit 4, Activity 3 | Final Reflections

  1. Deny,

    You are not alone. I can totally relate to your words here (and not just because I’m Ukrainian). I have always struggled with reading, writing, and especially with academic writing. I’d rather listen, think, and not share my opinions with the world. I had to take a year away from the MALAT because it was (and still is) very difficult to confront my weaknesses. However, if we keep plugging along, surely we will eventually see progress. Pushing the word count, editing, analyzing feedback, re-editing, and learning from fellow cohort members are the keys to success. It’s painful. In a sense, our leadership style is simple and free of academic jargon. We are striving to lead by example. If we can get through, our students can get through.

    I think about this issue every time I workout now. This uncomfortable academic feeling in our brains is very similar to the physical exhaustion we feel in our muscles. This is how we get stronger. This is how we grow. This is how we will get through this program. And this is how we become stronger leaders.

  2. Hi Wendy,
    I appreciate the support! Perhaps, you’re right about just pushing through it. I do wonder about your workout analogy though, because it’s great in a sense that some people feel uncomfortable while working out but then they appreciate the gains or how they feel after. So they continue working out, it becomes a habit even or a lifestyle.
    And then there are people who don’t really feel good after the workout or don’t value the increase in muscle strength beyond they have. Maybe they prefer to develop their creative muscles, who knows?
    How does one know for sure if they are in the first or the second group?

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