Monday, May 15, 2006

Community Based Learning

I'm grading the community based learning (aka "service learning") portion of my Ethics class. I'm still getting a handle on grading these things. I now have a pretty good sense of what students experience when they are placed with community programs. People who go to the Methodist Free Will Dinner are amazed at the poverty in St. Lawrence County. People at the various nursing homes wonder about treating old people like children. There is an elder care professional out there who is mentioned in almost all my student reports because he seems to get a kick out of bossing old people around.

I'm getting better at teaching this project each time I do it, but I am uncertain about how much effort I should put into honing this skill. I'm certain I will do better with the CBL next time, just as I did better this time than I did the time before. But will there be a next time? My schedule is set semester by semester, and I have no job guarantees more than two semesters in the future. I mean, sure, I will probably be teaching something five years from now. But will I have access to this kind of CBL program? Will I be back to teaching problem based courses in medical ethics? What city will I be living in?

Back in the internet bubble, people loved to talk about how rapidly the world of work was changing, and how everyone will have to keep updating their skill set, and no one should expect lifetime employment, and how you gotta go out there and sell the Brand Called You, because only those who could adapt will survive in the everchanging workplace. Well, the happy talk of the internet bubble is gone, but the insecurity remains. I think its clear now that life in temp america isn't really conducive to innovation. New ideas require investment, and investment requires predictability.

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