“Hsieh Miserables” : The revolution, the redemption, the reflection — Final Reflection Fall 2016


It has been quite a semester, particularly in the last 6 weeks.  Teaching during this electoral season was difficult, personally and pedagogically. In addition to what’s being going on in the world, there’s been a lot going on with my family and me.  Through injuries and illness, strained relationships and ever-present concerns about the scarcity of time and money, I’ve struggled to keep present to the work that is so important to me, the work of preparing educators to be the best that they can be.

But, in the midst of struggle, what I have learned is that there can be joy.  That joy comes in moments of focus on the work that is mine to do.  For me, it came in listening to my students share what they were taking away from this semester–new understandings, new perspectives, stronger professional senses of their professional identities and commitments.  Here are a few things they shared with me:

Joy also came in figuring out an authentic research agenda based on how who we are impacts our teaching (who we want to teach, how we teach, etc.) and feeling really inspired to develop my work in that clear direction.  Joy came in making my practice public, in serving my colleagues, in challenging myself to teach a research methods course, in sitting on two dissertation proposal defense committees, in helping my Masters students (many of whom had little to no experience with educational research) draft action research proposals, in joining my church choir and social justice committees, in hugging my children, in the awe of my daughter going from no words to 3 word phrases and from crawling to running, in watching my son go from dreading school to taking pride in his academic performance.  Joy came in the journey, the rocky, but beautiful, journey of this semester.

At the end of the semester, one of my classes presented me with a basket of thanks including the above poster:


It was a touching (and hilarious) gesture of thanks, reminding me to continue doing this work even when the going gets tough…perhaps especially when the going gets tough.  But I am the one who is most thankful, to do this work I love, to invest in the present and future of education and educators, and to dedicate my life to contribution.

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