Ah, school again

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.



  1. I’m glad to read that you’re taking risks. It’s hard to do so in the beginning, but once you have the confidence, it’s not only more fun and engaging (and educational) for the students, but it’s also more fun, engaging, and educational for the teacher.

  2. You are not lame at all….
    And I’ve decided, too, that I am fun…
    and my class isn’t THAT HARD.

    So, we’re offering Creative Writing on our campus
    (a two-year tech/community college in North Dakota)
    and I jumped at the chance to develop it.
    Any advice?

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