Not always the easiest question to answer, particularly when your “job” entails so many disparate parts as mine seems to. Teaching. Mentoring. Writing. Coaching. Assessing. Designing. Consulting. From day to day, my focus shifts slightly to address the pressing needs of a particular moment in time. And yet, if I ask myself this question (as prompted by the recent Inc article by Geoffrey James) each day, I find it serves to both enlighten my thinking and to encourage positivity in my interactions with others.
So, here’s my answer for today….
What I most like about my job on this particular morning is a combination of my writing and mentor aspects of my role as a college professor. You see, it’s Sunday mornings when I usually sit down to read through the written assignments my graduate scholar-practitioners have submitted for the week. Their thought processes are exciting to explore. Their enthusiasm, even where their direction may be a bit misguided, is contagious. And I get to both take it all in, and respond to it in a way that helps to guide their direction and provide encouragement to their on-going efforts.
Because much of my teaching takes place in the online learning environment, I’m afforded the opportunity to reflect and really plan out my responses to students, in a way that when I teach in-person I’m rarely able. Quite honestly, I greatly prefer this, both because I’ve a strong preference for introversion, but also because I think the quality of my feedback his greatly enhanced by the reflection.
This week’s topics for these true research novices focuses on taking a broad research topic and creating research propositions, and where appropriate, initial hypotheses. The challenge? Many of the students are interested in research problems that fit fully into a qualitative inquiry perspective, yet their frame of reference has been grounded in a more traditional quantitative tradition. So, they often mistakenly attempt to meld quantitative hypotheses into their burgeoning qualitative projects. This tendency is nothing new…in fact, I see it nearly every time I teach this introductory research design course. And quite honestly, I love it….
You see, it’s in the attempts to apply what they are reading about research methods to a specific research idea, even where there is some confusion, that actual learning takes place. You know where I’m going with this….it’s in correcting the errors and misplaced assumptions where we most easily hit upon true “aha” moments.
So, today…..this morning….at this moment in time, what I love most about my job is the ability to work closely with individual novice scholar-practitioners in a way that broadens their perspectives with a specific, applied end-point in mind. Oh, they’ll get it. They’ll make their corrections to their developing research proposals, and eventually, they’ll embark on the actual research project, incorporating their newfound knowledge in producing a high-quality applied research project. And that I’ll have had an important impact on their earliest stages of this journey is both rewarding and profoundly exciting to me. That’s what I love most….
So, as you work today, what do you like best about your job?