So, today’s class went off pretty much as I expected it to, though with far fewer students than I imagined I’d have. It seems there’s some sort of stomach yucky going around the college, and I ended up with only 15 of my 23 students showing up today. Not that I’m complaining even a little bit about that, nosiree! If you’re puking – or have puked in the last 24 hours, or think you might puke in the near future – you can consider yourself excused with my blessings and can stay the hell home, thankyouverymuch!
Anyway, I spent the first half of class going over the first half of the notes that I had for them. Their book lays out a “writing process” that, for the sake of saying I did it, I’m going over: choose a topic, define your audience, decide on your purpose, organize, add detail, check for clarity and correctness and style and readability. We made it to “organization” before I cut them loose for a break, then we came back to a grammar overview (everyone knew the five things that make a sentence complete and we buzzed right through the parts of speech! WOO HOO!). Then I gave them a few things to read and asked them to do a ten-minute write to respond to one of them, assigned the other for online homework, and gave them the writing assignments that I gave to their Tuesday/Thursday peers.
I am pleased, and a little shocked, to tell you that there was significantly less groaning about the assignment from this class than I got from the T/Th kids. Of course, there were fewer actual KIDS in today’s class, so it could just have been a volume thing. Really, though? MUCH less complaint about the assignment – and far fewer picky little questions about it, too, which tells me that either: A) I explained myself much better to the Monday kids, having had the practice with the T/Th kids last week; B) the Monday kids have a better grasp of what I expect them to do (HIGHLY doubtful) or; C) the Monday kids have absolutely no intention of actually doing the work, so they’re not going to waste energy griping about it.
I’ll tell you which it was in a week…
In other news…
I met with my boss today and we talked about the email I sent him on Friday. He wavered a little – or, at least, I think he did, because he phrased it that I didn’t like his suggestion that I offer to take late work just this once (I didn’t, but it’s not about “like” or “dislike”) – but he did stand behind my decision to not cave to the students.
His concern was that I would eventually find myself in a position of stalemate with students, and of having to explain to other parties (the head of the students’ departments, parents, the Dean) without any conciliatory moves at my disposal. I explained to him that I’m not certain I want any such moves, but that I understand that it’s better to bend sometimes than to constantly challenge oneself to break altogether. I offered up my suggestion of giving the students another assignment, around mid-term, to make up for work they didn’t do, and he agreed that this met everyone’s needs.
He really is a fair and even-handed boss, and I’m grateful to be working for him. I’m also really proud of myself for taking – and sticking to – my stand. I’ve not always been good with challenging authority (at least, not from a position of rationality or maturity) and I think I nailed this one. I’m marking that as check in the “personal growth” column.