My students know that I’m a writer. I don’t think that any of them have figured out that I blog, though – and I’m not about to tell them. We’ve had quite a few conversations about where writers find material, so they know that I write about anything that happens to be happening in my life at the moment. They also know that THEY happen to be happening in my life at the moment, and the idea that I could be writing about them intrigues them. I’d even be willing to bet that it scares some of them, too.
All in all, my T/Th kids are doing extremely well, despite having behaved like a bunch of frickin’ ninth graders all week (what the HELL!? Seriously – not only were they off the wall, but I was in no mood to deal with it. Ugh). No one failed the test I gave them – though their essays left quite a bit to be desired – and they all pretty much all agreed, however grudgingly, that the writing process is getting easier for them. THAT’S really what I’m after, so I was pleased to hear this.
We’ve moved away from a lot of lecture and into workshopping this week and, while we’re getting off to a rocky start, I think they all have a good idea of where we’re headed with all of this and, for the most part, everyone is in for the ride. They’re doing peer-editing at the moment; reading each other’s papers and working on ways of formulating and delivering constructive criticism. I’m trying to make sure that everyone rotates among his or her classmates, though, because I’ve got a couple of students in the class who really are behind in their general language skills (a couple who are LD, one ESL student from Japan, and my darling boy who admitted to me on the first day that he’s “lazy”), and I want to make sure not only that those students get edited by some of my sharper kids, but that they’re not often editing the work of the students in the middle who really need good, solid criticism.
They have to put together a portfolio of their best writing for me by the end of the term. I’ve set a ten-page minimum for this representation of their work and I think, given where we are in the term and the number of assignments I’ve given them thus far, that they’re right on track for hitting the limit without completely losing their minds. I’m not sure that this is true of the Monday kids, though – I’ll have to look in on that. In any event, I’m pleased by where we are, and am still feeling pretty upbeat about my professional life in general.
I met up with my boss this morning in the copy room (while I was pilfering a Calvin and Hobbes – the one where Calvin complains that he has to write about an adventure, but how can he when he hasn’t had any adventures yet? Hobbes points out that he DID drive the family car through the garage door, but Calvin responded that that didn’t count because he didn’t even make it to the highway). He asked me how things were going and thanked me for letting him and the head chef take up part of Monday’s class time (THAT’S RIGHT! I was going to write about THAT!! Watch this space – I’ll write either tomorrow or Saturday). It was right about then that I asked him to schedule me for straight face-to-face classes next semester.
My strengths, I told him, are in the connections I make with my students – my personality and interaction in the classroom and my ability to make the classes, if not fun, then at least tolerable – and I don’t feel like I’m being as effective an educator as I can be with the hybrid kids. He said he’d keep that in mind when looking at the schedule, and that it likely won’t be a problem because it seems as though the college is going to start allowing the culinary students to decide whether to take traditional or hybrid courses (right now, the chefs-in-training have no choice; they have to take the hybrid courses, and most of them hate it). I’m hoping that turns out to be the case, because I can tell you for sure that most of the kids in my Monday class aren’t learning a damned thing.