I’d forgotten about the frightened, first-term freshmen that would be showing up in my writing class. Last fall, I was nervous enough that their nervousness wasn’t so obvious. Example: On Tuesday, I had students thinking I’d assigned both a homework writing assignment and Essay #1 to be due on Thursday. That had never happened before, and for a moment I thought I’d somehow explained it differently. But then I remembered that they were first-term freshmen. And later I noticed that the girl who was most freaked about that possibility actually dropped the class.
I’ve also decided that I’m a much more fun teacher now. I naturally tend to shy away from exciting activities in class because they usually involve a lot of movement and talking that I can’t directly control because part of what makes them interesting and exciting is that the students are in control of their own learning. Also, as a student, I don’t particularly like being asked to form a group or come up with discussion questions or write a quick scene, etc…. (basically anything that requires a lot of “out of the box” thinking). But this term I decided I was confident enough as a teacher that I could handle the more fun stuff (yes, I realize this makes me sound oh so lame). So today in class, my students brainstormed discussion questions, which we discussed very effectively as a class; wrote up a few assumptions that people might make about two things they pulled from their backpacks; and discussed the standards of “beauty” to which men and women are held. I realize now that on the surface, none of that may sound all that exciting, but it required students to be on-task and to actually be interested in discussing, and they were! (This is a rarity, just so you know.)
Also, my classes (workshop and a class on Joan Didion and Tobias Wolff’s fiction and nonfiction) are also going well. I’m busy, but not too busy, which is nice. It means I have time to be sacrificing myself to my writing and my thesis.
And Fall is in the process of arriving. Today, as I walked toward the bookstore, a cascade of yellow leaves fell across the entire street, and onto my head. I shall have pictures the next time I post.