I am able to find the rosters for both of my classes on TCC’s portal, and I see that I have six students in the literature class – though it looks as though one of them is listed as being on a leave of absence – and a whopping twenty four in my hybrid composition class.
It’s going to be a LONG semester.
The lit class is going to be fine. Having so few students means that I can run the class a lot like a book club; we’ll sit around a table and have discussions rather than having the class be a more formal, teacher-directed affair. The casualness of that set up is both an advantage and a liability; much of how friendly and easygoing it will be will depend on the impressions of maturity that the students give me in the first few class meetings. In any event, I’m not overly concerned about the literature class.
No, it’s the hybrid composition class that has me worried. Twenty four students is a LOT of kids, and even if I lose a percentage of them in the first few days of class, it’s still going to be a big class. On top of that, almost all of them are culinary students.
I don’t mean to forward a stereotype here, but my own experience has shown me that it’s the rare culinary student who takes English classes seriously, and it’s an even more endangered species who has the initiative and self-discipline to do well in a class where the student is responsible for more than half of the learning. Since we’ll only meet once a week (and on Mondays, which means we’ll lose a lot of classes to upcoming holidays, not to mention the very real possibility of snow cancellations), the students have to be able to teach themselves from the materials I give them. I plan to give them all the tools they need to do that, but I have no control over whether or not they actually pick those tools up and try to use them.
I’m going to spend a fair bit of time today putting together my syllabi and making sure that I am VERY clear about my expectations for work and behavior, especially from the composition students. I may even invite the head chef to be a guest speaker for the first class, too, just to give the students an impression of how important writing actually is, even to them.
photo courtesy of AllPosters.com