ProductoPhobia (fear of actually making something)

by danielagins

On Friday July 15th I finished up with the last of the face to face meetings of my graduate program at Uconn. In the time since, I have been thinking a lot about the program I was a part of and about myself as a student. I have come to two realizations.

1) While proud of my accomplishments and growth over the duration of my program, I couldn’t help feeling that it should have been harder. At least, in the romanticized notion of “grad school” it should have been harder. Writing those words produces an odd sensation within me. I definitely worked harder than I thought myself capable of over this past year, and I hardly wish to take away from my accomplishments. However – as the capstone week drew to a close and I assembled my portfolio, I found myself wondering if my work was worthy of the degree I was pursuing. I recall a brief conversation I had with someone who scoffed at my “one year” program as diluting higher education. I was quite offended at the time, but his words stuck with me, and as I hit send on the email containing the link to my finished portfolio to my professor I found myself back in that conversation that occurred several months prior. Looking around the room at the rest of my cohort, I also knew that of the twenty of us, at least half only pursued this program to satisfy the Connecticut requirement needed to obtain a professional certificate. Were they passionate about educational technology, or simply finding the quickest route to satisfy their needs? Alas, who am I to judge? Does it matter what their intent was, as long as they came away with something that makes them a better teacher?

2) I like to learn, but I hate the discomfort of the artificial structures imposed on me during this process – yet that accountability forces me to actually do something. To produce. The problem with production is that it creates something that I can critique, which I will do to no end. If I get caught in a web of endless self-criticism I won’t produce anything of value, so it is easier to semi-produce things and label everything I do “beta.” It seems this fear of production runs along many lines in my life. For example, I hardly ever publish posts I have written and I never seem to be able to complete a recorded DJ mix. This doesn’t stop me from writing down thoughts, or playing around with my turntables for hours. It seems the minute I set out to do these actions with the intent of coming away with a finished product, I freeze up. Perhaps this is why I enjoy teaching so much. Each year is new and changes are made. Nothing I do in my classroom is set in stone. In fact, on-the-fly alterations to lessons are a necessity. Regardless of how I justify my phobia of production, I realize that this is something I must address if I wish to move forward professionally. So, with that being said – I am hitting “publish” on this post and including a small bonus 🙂