Tutor profile: Courtney W.
Subject: Professional Development
What does professional development mean to you?
"Professional development" as a word and an act is something I've seen as becoming this dreaded thing or workshop that employees go to because they have to. They'd rather be working on their lesson plans, grading, meeting with students, anything but PD. I think companies have taken professional development and completely twisted it into something that is now looked at as a chore. For me, I have always loved PD days and although my company may have gotten it wrong at times, I appreciated working at a place that valued it. I am a lover of learning and am always looking for ways to improve in every area of my life. I think it's great to encourage a culture of self reflection, evaluation, and improvement in a company, but it needs to be something that the employee gets to choose and not so general. You see this a lot in education. I've sat through so many PD days where they let students out at noon so teachers can go to PD and learn about how to better help their students. Many of the PD subjects just do not pertain to many teachers, so they're sitting their bored when they could actually be making a difference with students in the classroom. PD becomes one of those things like "this could have been an email". True professional development should come from within. A teacher/employee typically knows their strengths and the areas in which they could use some improvement. It's difficult to be an organization especially a larger one that wants to encourage and facilitate PD and mentorship and still keep it personalized. Just having a culture where employees/teachers/students who have the desire to improve and act on it is the best starting point anyways.
Subject: Library and Information Science
" Why do you need a Master's Degree to be a librarian, don't you just read all day?"
This is a question librarians often get. I'll usually reply with the long list of duties and skills we have or simply say, "set up a research appointment with me one day and you'll see". It is amazing how there are so many people who have no clue what all resources libraries have, with the main resource being their librarians. Some folks still think of a library as a building that holds books and a lady sitting in her bun, glasses and cardigans shushing people if they get too loud. Libraries are quite the opposite now. It's crucial that they adapt with the times or else they'd become obsolete. Librarians of course give reader's advice, but we troubleshoot computers, give Microsoft excel help, write grants, provide outreach services, analyze data, and the list goes on and on. Although I loved my librarian position and the diverse set of duties that went with it, sometimes I'd reply, "I WISH I got paid to read all day!" :)
What does linguistics mean to you?
The Oxford Languages definition provides that it is "the scientific study of language and its structure, including the study of morphology, syntax, phonetics, and semantics. Specific branches of linguistics include sociolinguistics, dialectology, psycholinguistics, computational linguistics, historical-comparative linguistics, and applied linguistics". All of this is true and learning about linguistics and things like the international phonetic alphabet was always very fascinating to me. But, linguistics is so much more to me than the scientific, academic terms. It is, sounds and dialects and why a certain person of a certain region would use this sound when their neighboring state or community would use another. To me, it is very people and culture centered. If I can recognize a person's dialect and connect it to it's region that can tell me so much about a person and their roots before I even ask one question. The mixed dialects are fun because then you can place people to different areas they've lived in in the world and know how to relate better to them as well as find better methods to use in teaching.
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