• Done!

    Posted by Marie Kleiderlein on 9/13/2013
    September 13, 2013
    After four long years, I defended my dissertation on August 14, 2013.  Many friends were in attendance including Ms. Richardson from Ellicottville Central School.  The summer of 2013 was a whirlwind of writing and seemingly endless revisions.  I'm happy and relieved to say that, after four long and difficult years, I am finally done!
    This fall, I am beginning my new position as a reading teacher at Ellicottville Elementary School and can focus my energy on my duties and my students!  I will be training with Ms. Ann Zerfas during the months of September and October.
    Thanks to everyone who lent their support along the way.  I am grateful for the help of my administrators and colleagues here at Ellicottville.  I could not have done it without you!
    Thanks for reading!
    MK. :)
    Comments (-1)
  • Phase 3

    Posted by Marie Kleiderlein on 3/11/2013
    It seems like an eternity now since I started down this path.  This past fall, in October of 2012, I defended my Research Component, a pilot study of my dissertation, and moved into Stage 3, the final stage of the doctoral program.  For over a year now, I've been conducting research for my dissertation.  I've begun to write and have accumulated 160 pages thus far.  My classes are all finished now.  All that remains now is to finish the research and write up the results.  I've set a goal to have the first draft of my dissertation to my advisor by the end of April in the hope of graduating by September 1, 2013.  I write about an hour a day most days, and a lot more when I have time. 
    Life has essentially been on hold for me these past four years.  With the exception of teaching, I have not done much except work toward my goal.  I'm ready to make the final push to completion.  Strangely, I seem to have the momentum; I am more determined than ever.  When it is finished, I'm looking forward to some down time and hopefully, travel.  I want to reconnect with family and friends I haven't seen in a while.  If I can get this first draft done in the next eight weeks or so, there may be time for that this summer.
    Hopefully, the next post will be the one in which I say that I accomplished my dream.  I'm getting close.
    Until then, thanks for reading, and wish me luck.
    Comments (-1)
  • Phase 2

    Posted by Marie Kleiderlein on 2/21/2012 2:00:00 PM
    It has been a long time since I last posted.  I've been working hard since returning to Ellicottville last fall, teaching ninth grade English, assisting with reading in the elementary school and Global Studies in the high school, and taking one graduate class per semester.  I was notified last month that I passed my Research Analysis Exam (which I took last May) and will progress to Phase 2 of my doctoral program later this month.  I am currently doing an independent studyand plan to take an online course this summer and another independent study in the fall.  Those are my remaining classes.  This month I will begin a pilot study which will eventually lead into my dissertation next year.  I am scheduled to present my Research Component, the pilot study, in the summer and begin writing my Dissertation Proposal in the fall.  It has been almost three years now since I began the doctoral program, and it has gone by quickly.  I am making steady progress toward my goal.  I have learned so much, far more than I ever dreamed, and I apply that knowledge in my classroom every day.  I hope to spend the next year conducting research and analyzing the results.  I was just notified that a paper I wrote is published on the Gender Education Association website.
    Thanks for visiting,
    Comments (-1)
  • Halfway

    Posted by Marie Kleiderlein on 1/4/2011 8:00:00 AM
    Well, I made it through the first semester. It was the hardest semester of my life.  I was on campus for three long days each week, from 9:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.  I worked twenty hours per week and then took nine credits.  I taught twenty-two undergraduate students.  I spent most of my time Thursday-Sunday doing homework: reading, writing and research.  I drove to another school district to do a case study and a field study.  I did not write on my blog; I did not write in my journal.  The whole thing was a blur.  I was careful to eat enough and sleep enough; I had the feeling that it would be really easy for me to get sick, become exhausted, and fall behind.
    I made it this far.  I am thankful that I made it to the halfway point.
    I hope that my spring semester will be a great one.  I am  not teaching Introduction to Education.  While I enjoyed teaching at UB, it was not the best time for it.  It was my first semester as a full-time doctoral student, and I was taking Introduction to Qualitative Methods, a course with a reputation for being overwhelming, as well as another demanding course.  My students e-mailed frequently as they were trying to find placements for their observation hours, and I also had to assess their work.  Next semester I will be able to focus entirely on my own learning.
    This spring I am taking a course in Digital Video which I know will help me to improve my teaching once I get back to ECS.  I am taking Advanced Qualitative; I look forward to doing more educational research which I really enjoyed last semester.  My third class is a Research Practicum in English Education.  I don't know much about that one, but I am excited that it pertains specifically to my subject area.  Aside from my courses, I will still be working in the Learning and Instruction (LAI) office. 
    At the end of this semester, I will be ready to take the Research Analysis Exam, an important milestone in my program.  It is a ten day, take-home exam after which one passes from Phase I to Phase II of his/her doctoral program.  I will be ready to take it by May, and I will be extremely relieved to have it behind me.
    I see that there are two courses offered in Summer which I can use.  Rarely are there summer courses available to doctoral students at UB, so I will take them.   After those two courses are completed, I will only need four more courses and a dissertation, of course.
    Next fall, I will be working on something called the Research Component which is a research study.  My advisor has recommended that I try to do a pilot of my dissertation.  I have a lot of work to do before I will be ready to conduct that study.  I am also taking six credits of independent research this spring.  I am not required to complete all the work in spring semester; I can finish it over the summer and into the fall, and I have set aside July for that purpose. 
    Perhaps you are wondering what my research is about.  I am doing research on masculinities and education, specifically ways to engage boys in academic subjects like English.  This is my passion and the area I hope to improve the most in my teaching as a result of my doctoral studies.  I have learned so much already, yet I still have much to learn.  There are many great books about this topic, and I look forward to doing research that will help me to find ways to improve my own methods and classroom.
    All in all, I am proud of what I have accomplished thus far.  Mostly I am tired and a little shell shocked.  My doctoral program is a tough one.  There is not any hand-holding.  We doc students look to each other for support.  As a result, I have made some of the best friendships.  We have to lean on each other to make it through.  It is frightening for me to hear that some of my peers are not coming back, have left the program for various reasons.  I hope that I will be tough enough to make it.
    I keep in touch with ECS by visiting the website each day and checking my e-mail.  I notice that no one is reading my blog.  At this point, I am writing because I want to have a small log of what it was like for me, something to look back on when it's all said and done.  I try to write in my journal as well, but mostly I succumb to the craziness and don't write anything at all.  I wish there was more time for reflection as I need it.  Like many things, it is overwhelming for a long time, and before you know it, it's over.  Never in my life has time going by so quickly.  It's like being in the SAT exam for the past four months.  That is my reality right now. 
    I find it funny that when I run into people, they tend to all say the same thing, "I hope you're enjoying your year off!"  If they only knew and understood, they would appreciate how much I will enjoy getting back to my year "on" when I return to school in the fall.  Having "a year off" is more stressful that one can imagine.  Returning to ECS will be like coming home, back to my real self, the life I love.  I am entirely out of sorts this year, working very hard but feeling very much out of place.  I don't regret my decision, but also did not realize how much I would miss my real life.
    Over break I have read a few great books.  I have no time to read for pleasure when classes are underway, but I do try to read a few minutes each night before falling asleep.  That doesn't take long.  I guess what I am trying to say is that I miss reading for fun.  Reading has become my work this year; my poor eyes are so tired by the end of the day that I can't read the words on the page.  Break has allowed me to enjoy books again; I have been making trips to my local library.  I don't go back to work until next week, so I plan to read at least one scholarly book and skim a couple more so that I will have a head start on next semester.  Classes start back up on the 18th.  It is a hard and long road, but so far it's worth it. 
    I have seen some of our ECS alumni on the UB campus: Erika N. and Grace A.  The campus is large, stark and imposing.  There are a few warm spots. I know where all the cafes are: Tim Horton's and Starbucks. We also have Moe's!  I will never get tired of lattes and Moe's.  Both make this journey bearable.  I probably wouldn't need a student loan except for my coffee budget!
    ECS, I miss you.  Don't forget me, okay?
    Hope to see you soon!  I hope that you are happy and well.
    Comments (-1)
  • Whirlwind

    Posted by Marie Kleiderlein on 9/8/2010 12:00:00 PM
    Hello everyone,
    First things first: I miss ECS.  I miss my students, my classroom, and my friends.  I even miss the drive to school and the school itself.  It's hard to be in new surroundings with a new job.  But...I am here for now, and I am doing my best.
    I work twenty hours per week in Baldy Hall in the Learning and Instruction office assisting the faculty and staff with many duties.  My position is graduate assistant.  In addition, I am teaching Introduction to Education and taking two classes.  I was scheduled to take three classes but decided to drop the third class.  This way, I only only have to travel to campus three days per week which is a blessing because parking here is very challenging.  I usually park in over-flow, and I get here before 9:00 a.m.  
    You're probably wondering about the workload.  It's a lot of work, so there is not much time that is unstructured.  By a lot of work I mean the most work I have ever done in a single semester.  Details?  Do you really want details?  If so, send me an e-mail, and I'll give them to you.  Let's just say that this program is not for the weak of heart.  I am thankful for other doctoral students who help me to keep my spirits up and motivate me to stay focused.  Ms. Richardson provides a lot of moral support as does Ms. James. 
    I really like the group of undergraduates I'm teaching this semester.  I have a class of twenty-four students all interested in becoming teachers someday.  The are bright and attentive, intuitive and wise for such young people.  And...they have great discussions which makes me very happy.  We have several guest speakers scheduled this semester including Mr. Ward, Mrs. Peters and Ms. James from Ellicottville as well as several others.  Hopefully, I can help them to decide whether they do in fact want to go into a career in education.  It's a big decision and one that shouldn't be taken lightly.
    Being here on campus, I know that I am learning and growing every day.  Like any growth, it is painful at times, exhilarating at times.  Scared is my new normal.  I miss everyone, so if you are reading this, look me up.  I would love to hear what's going on "back home."
    Thank you for reading!
    Comments (-1)
  • After tomorrow...

    Posted by Marie Kleiderlein on 8/8/2010 3:00:00 PM
    Tomorrow is the first day of a two-week summer class which meets five days per week, for 3 1/2 hours per day.  In the afternoons I have to work at my new position as an assistant to the staff in the Learning and Instruction office.  I am a bit nervous, I'll admit.  After tomorrow, I should feel some relief.  I also have a meeting tomorrow for those of us teaching Introduction to Education this fall.  It will be a long day.  Luckily, my syllabus is done, so I can focus now on the work for this class.  Before long, summer will be ending.  I hate to see it go, yet fall should be wonderful, scary but wonderful. Do you realize that I am afraid every step along the way?  Even as I do things I know are good for me, the fear is always present. 
    Wish me luck! 
    Comments (-1)
  • Feeling the heat...

    Posted by Marie Kleiderlein on 7/22/2010 11:00:00 PM
    It's late in July, and I'm trying to stay focused.  My syllabus for Intro. to Education is due in about a week.  I read both books this past week and took plenty of notes while reading.  I marked up the chapters and wrote in the margins.  I've done a lot of thinking, and I'm organizing the class in my mind.  I have yet to sit down and do the actual planning for the course.  I met with a friend the other day; she is teaching another section.  We made a few plans together, but the bulk of the work I have to do on my own.  Somehow I must get focused because the stress is starting to build.  I want to make the class my own, a reflection of me and my philosophy of education.  Maybe that is a good place to start, my philosophy.  I know I have it somewhere.  Tomorrow I will have to see if I can find it.  But wait, I wrote that almost nine years ago as a student teacher.  Hasn't my philosophy of education changed in almost a decade?  My, that time has gone by fast.  Life goes by fast.  So many students in those years.  No, on second thought, I don't know that it has changed very much.  I still believe in educating each individual, and more than ever I believe in being flexible to find the path of success for every student. 
    It's hot, humid, and there are plenty of distractions.  My dog is on a diet, and I am trying to walk him more often.  Friends have been calling for lunch dates.  The mall beckons when it's hot.  End of summer sales, etc.  There are family events and household tasks.  The moral of this story is that I haven't been able to focus yet.  I'm still mulling everything over in my mind.  What does it mean to be a teacher?  Is it a calling?  What are my students' expectations for the class?  How will I go about managing everything on my calendar this fall and over the course of the coming year? 
    I'm growing.  I can feel myself morphing into a new me, trying things that scare me, imagining a future that requires me to question all that I do and how I do it and then try harder to do better and be the best teacher possible.  I am about to delve into something that forces me to raise my game.  Complacency has no place in my future.
    The two books I read this past week were so interesting: I Won't Learn From You gave me insight into the reasons why we deliberately reject learning at various times in our lives.  It helped me to understand that many of my students' choices not to learn are purposeful.  I may not understand their reasons initially, but I can spend time getting to know them and try to see things from their point of view.  Savage Inequalities opened my eyes to the reality of education in our country: the vast space between the "haves" and the "have nots."  It can be frustrating for someone like me, a well-intentioned teacher, because there is only so much I can control, only so much influence I have in my classroom, my school district, my state.
    Teaching is a labor of love.  I do know that.  So much of it has to do with self-love also.  We teachers must find something worthwhile in ourselves to give others.
    Hope the summer is treating you well. 
    Next time I write, I hope I have made better progress!
    Comments (-1)
  • Getting ready...

    Posted by Marie Kleiderlein on 7/8/2010 8:00:00 AM
    As part of my studies this year, I will be teaching Introduction to Education to undergraduate students at UB.  I am one of seven graduate students who will be teaching the class.  We get together and discuss teaching the course under the supervision of our professor.  The graduate students from last year suggested some titles for me to use in my class: Savage Inequalities and I Won't Learn from You.  The first title arrived in the mail yesterday.  I guess that means it is time for me to begin reading and planning for the fall.  I am going to meet with a friend later this month to collaborate on our syllabi.  She is a high school teacher from Niagara Wheatfield and good with technology.  I have learned so much from her already.  I know that she will help me to navigate the on-line system for courses at UB called UB Learns.  It's brutally hot, mid 90's, so I'll find a cool place to read and get started. 
    Wish me luck!
    Comments (-1)
  • Summer 2010 begins...

    Posted by Marie Kleiderlein on 6/30/2010 10:00:00 PM
    Hello everyone,
    I am sitting in a crowded Chicago airport waiting to board a plane home to Buffalo; I have been visiting my brother in Dickinson, North Dakota for a few days.  He is a theatre professor.  I haven't seen him in four years.  We had lots of time to talk, and I shared my plans with him.  I will be taking a sabbatical this year to study full-time at SUNY Buffalo.  I am a doctoral student in English Education.  Hopefully I will accomplish a lot toward my degree in the coming year.  It is a big step for me and one that took a lot of careful thought and planning.  I am so excited to be embarking on this new journey.  Last week I spoke to my supervisor for this coming year.  I will be working as a graduate assistant while studying.  There will be a lot to learn, but I am determined to do a great job. 
    Spending time with my brother, I wonder if I would be taking this new path if he had not done it first.  When I was a teenager, I heard my brother and mother talk about his education...his bachelor's and master's degrees, and later, his doctorate coursework, writing and defending his dissertation.  There were many hurdles along the way.  He sat at our dining room table typing his dissertation one summer, and I was amazed to see the amount of work he was expected to produce.  But he did it, and I remember how proud my mother was of his accomplishments.  She flew to Detroit, Michigan to hear him defend his dissertation.  At the time, I didn't have any plans for my own education.  I couldn't wait to graduate from high school. I hated it.  Even though I didn't go to college right out of high school, the seed was planted in me.  Eventually I did go to college, and I found out for myself the feeling of accomplishment that I earned with every class I took as well as the many doors that opened as I earned my degrees and teaching certificates. 
    I guess what I am saying is that we take on some challenges because we know someone who has already done it, and we imagine that we can do it too.  If I did not have a brother with a doctorate, I might not have imagined it for myself.  My brother is a very intelligent person, but he is also a regular person, just like me.  I can accomplish what he has as long as I am willing to do the work.  At some level I am still hoping to make my mother proud, even though she passed away four years ago.  I know she would approve of this decision and back me 100%.  It is a good use of my time and talents, but it won't be easy.
    I will miss being at ECS this coming year.  As difficult as teaching can be, it is my home away from home and what I have done for the past 8 1/2 years.  It will be very hard to get up in the morning and head to Amherst rather than Ellicottville.  At the same time, I never had the chance to be a student without being a wife, mother, part-time employee.  I will be working at UB part-time as a graduate assistant, but other than that, my focus will be entirely on my education this year.  It will be nice to immerse myself in my studies, and give it my very best. 
    Please send me an e-mail from time to time.  I am still in the Ellicottville system.  I would like to hear about your adventures and accomplishments as well. 
    Thanks for reading.
    Comments (-1)