Friday, September 07, 2007

I might actually be GOOD at this teaching thing!

Soon I shall return to a more narrative-like method of storytelling. Right now it's all listy, but lists are so much faster!

Sept. 1, 2 and 3 - I don’t remember distinctly what happened which day over the weekend. I know most of my time was spent reading, doing little apartment chores and walking around the neighborhood. I snapped a pretty picture of a moth or butterfly. I found some restaurants that I want to check out in the future and a grocery store about 20 blocks away. I’m going to keep looking for a closer one.

Tuesday, Sept 4 - Office hours were sweaty, as the Batten Arts and Letters building is under construction and for some reason, the air conditioning cut out. My office is a room with four desks. Eight of us share four desks, although I’ve never seen more than three of us in the room at the same time. One girl working in there is a linguistics student. She tells me that an ugly accent is spreading west and south. It’s halfway through Iowa RIGHT NOW! It’s a vowel-lift…that Chi-cahh-go (As opposed to Chi-cog-o) thing, you know? Why is it happening? They’re not sure, but the people it’s happening to CAN’T HEAR IT, so they can’t resist. Listen to each other, Midwestern friends! Guard your vowels. Keep them round and pretty.

Wednesday, Sept. 5 - Teaching, YAY! I love teaching. It rocks. It rules! We had class mostly workshop style. I had the students discuss possible memoir topics in pairs and went around discussing their topic, conferencing with each person. (It’s amazing how easy that is when everyone sits down, doesn’t steal anything and embraces non-violence.) Everyday, I ask my students for feedback and suggestions, and when I asked, “So, do you guys like workshop-style classes like this?” they responded with a resounding “Yes!” It’s the loudest I’ve ever heard them.

That night I had 19th Century British lit, which was pretty easy. Last class and this class we’ve been watching an educational movie on Queen Vicoria’s reign. All we had to do was take notes. That night I got to chat with Rose, who was departing for the Dominican Republic where her husboyfriend is working. I love that girl. Whenever we’re going through life transitions, we cheer each other through it.

Thursday, Sept. 6 - Writing day! I spent a lot of time on my poetry portfolio, reading and planning my lesson, not to mention chatting on the phone with Tom for an hour and a half.

Friday, Sept. 7 - Teaching, Yay! I LOVE TEACHING! Today we worked on how to read critically. I read them a paragraph from a story by Annie Dillard. First they summarized. (Annie learns to play football.) Then they inferred at the basic level (Annie is a tomboy). Then they looked for the author’s message. (She wrote that tackling is only successful if you give everything you have. If you don’t, you end up face-down in the dirt or kicked in the face. It’s a metaphor for life.) We got so much information out of one paragraph.

Light bulbs were coming on over heads all around the room. I could just see it, that “Oh!” moment! It reminded me of when I learned to read critically in college. It changed everything for me, and this might be that moment for them. Wow. My last job really shook my confidence as a teacher, and this experience is making me feel so much better. A few students even stayed after class to thank me! Wow.

I taught, then created new message forums on the course’s online site and commented on ten papers (just nine to go). Then I went home and researched plane tickets with a Kim Possible marathon in the background.

Right now, it looks like it’ll be cheaper for me to fly to NYC, hang out there a few days, fly to Des Moines, stay about a week, then back to New York until after New Year. How can flying from Norfolk to New York to Des Moines to New York to Norfolk be cheaper? Don’t know. It just is. If I buy bus tickets instead of plane tickets, I save even more…well, that’s if my friends have a place for me to camp when I’m there.

And now you're all up-to-date. Since I have a ton of reading to do this weekend, I doubt anything internet-worthy will happen any time soon. Whatever. I get a little stir-crazy, but I'm enjoying academia, teaching people who don't comment on or ask about my physical appearance, clothing, love life, etc., and working for people who believe in my talents.

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