Media Graduate Student Issues

That’s what Kris has me down for on the GLMA Blog calendar, “Media Graduate Student Issues.”  As I read that I thought, man oh man do we ever have some issues!

But before I get to that, a bit of an introduction.

My name is Jim Randolph.  I am an elementary teacher here in Georgia and have survived the first half of my first semester of graduate school in which I am working on becoming a media specialist, or The Best Job in Education from what I’ve been told.  One of my professors will be quite familiar to you: Dr. Mary Ann Fitzgerald.  As she mentioned in her last post, she asked us to each to prepare an online exhibit introducing a professional journal or organization.  I chose the friendly and always useful GLMA Blog.  Here’s the link (but it doesn’t include anything you probably don’t already know).  In an effort to personalize the project, I contacted your own Kris Woods and asked for a short interview.  She was gracious enough to help me out and even asked if I wouldn’t mind blogging for her, thinking a student’s perspective might be interesting.

We shall see about that!

Let me take this opportunity to thank her again and, if I may be so bold as to speak for other media graduate students, thank all of you.  I’m sure many of you know or have worked with some of us by answering our endless questions, pointing us toward good resources, and cluing us in on the things we need to know that aren’t covered in our classes.  We appreciate all of the help!

Issue #1: Time Management

Everyone asks, “How do you juggle grad school, full-time teaching, and a wonderful family?”  I really don’t know.  Personally, David Allen’s Getting Things Done has helped.  I admit that the first few weeks were the hardest.  The beginning of the school year is always challenging, so throwing graduate classes on top of that was like filling the Olympic pool with jello right before the race.  The thing that saved me was my wife’s suggestion to keep the two schools (work and grad) more separate.  I was trying to read Information Power at lunch and bringing grading home.  Now I concentrate on doing the opposite and it has helped.

There’s no doubt that some things have to give.  The dishes sometimes sit longer than I’d like and I’d rather you didn’t do a white-glove check of the dusting.  My lesson plans are more recycled this year than I prefer.  But the amazing things we’re learning and discussing in our SLM program more than make up for these.  And the people we’re meeting (in person and online)?  Forget about it!  We’ve had wonderful media specialist guest speakers, the professors are great, the other class members are unendingly interesting, and the teacher-librarian blogoshpere is a corner of the internet I could just go on and on about.  But I’ll save you that for now.

Other issues we face that I’m sure to blog about in the near future:  more on time management, juggling finances, grappling with new technologies, finding resources, translating assignments, and many more.

Anything else you’d like to hear from a wet-behind-the-ears SLM grad student? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks Again,

Jim Randolph

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Posted on October 12, 2008, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Thanks, Kris! Great short intro. to the GTD method. I’m glad you added that for those unfamiliar. I linked to the Wikipedia article which is also good summary with links, but since it’s blocked in my district, it may be blocked in others as well. –Jim

  2. Media specialists need to be proficient at time management in order to complete all the tasks for which we find ourselves responsible. I have also read GTD by Allen and found many of his concepts workable.

    The essence of time management is to accomplish what needs to be done in the most efficient and effective way possible. In Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, David Allen propounds a personal organizational strategy for effective use of time and response to actionable items. The system works by processing items out of the brain and into the organizational system for retrieval and action at the appointed time. Allen’s organizing principles coupled with actionable processing allow one to master a five-stage workflow method to collect, process, organize, review, and do everything that demands attention. According to Allen (2001), “the big difference between what I do and what others do is that I capture and organize 100 percent of my “stuff” in and with objective tools at hand, not in my mind” (p. 21-22). His system of getting things done involves collecting all outstanding items and placing them in an in-basket. One then decides what the item is and if it is actionable. Depending on the answer, one uses a tickler file or determines the next action. If the action will take less than two minutes, do it. If the action takes longer than two minutes, delegate it or defer it. After all outstanding items are processed and organized according to the workflow diagram, one reviews what to look at and when to keep the system functioning. One does what needs to be done by making the best action choices.

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