But it really wasn't that bad. I got to know my students in a way I don't normally. My Movies in the Classroom students know movies! It's a simple concept, I know, but I'd gotten used to my students not getting my Star Wars references, giving me blank stares when I mention The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly being my favorite film, and vehemently arguing that The Hangover was the best movie of 2009. And they have their own ideas about film, books, and art! My Teachers for Tomorrow are ready to teach! They can't wait to get into the classroom, and seeing other teachers at schools around the state only strengthens that resolve. And my class of native students are proud of their heritage, their homes, and their culture. But they want to learn more; they're here to learn, and that's not always the case with Freshmen.
That's not to say that it was all peaches and gravy. I also had several student issues. From the students who never turn in a single assignment, never show up to class, and are still surprised to discover they're failing at the end of the semester; to the full-time workers, trying to balance enough overtime to pay for school with free time to do homework; to my first ever student who began and ended a semester of Freshman Composition as an English major and whose essays were literally a joy to read. Unfortunately, I had a lot of the first kind in two sections in particular. Shortly after midterm, I stumbled across this short video that reminded me I couldn't reach those in the same way I could the full-time workers and English majors.
A SoTL story for the holidays. from Jay Hosler on Vimeo.
While I like to think I'm not like The Grinch in most respects, it was a nice reminder as my students went into their final essays.
But this semester wasn't all about school. My most anticipated video game of the year, came out just in time for my birthday!
It's epic, especially now that I'm on Christmas vacation and have some real time to devote to it.
|Love me some Beaver Tail :-)|
It was an amazing trip, especially given how hectic the rest of the semester was. Straight off of that trip, I got to work writing my first grant proposal. My supervisor and I are working on expanding a Writing in the Disciplines program at our university. In other words, we're trying to help other faculty incorporate more writing into their courses to get their students producing better written work. As a model, we've been looking into the way Cornell University organizes their writing program (which is almost entirely taught within the majors students declare). One of their chief directors is semi-retired, and the grant was to get him to come as a visiting professor, teach us some of what he knows, and help our efforts. Unfortunately, we didn't get it. I was pretty bummed for awhile, given the amount of work that went into it on top of teaching and applying to PhD programs. But it was a good learning experience.
Thankfully, that wasn't the only writing I did this semester. I also started writing creatively again, for the first time in about three years. Getting my MA in English Lit. with a concentration in creative writing sort of killed it for me. But an old professor came back this semester and taught a Creative Nonfiction course. She was so awesome before, I had to take a class with her. And it got me writing again. A few pieces I've already sent off to contests and literary magazines, but I'll probably share some stuff here too.
And finally, the semester ended. It took me almost an extra week to wrap up all the grading and reporting I had to do, but since then, I've been taking it easy reading, watching movies, and playing video games. I've been spending as much time with my wife as possible, taken my dog for long walks, hung out with friends, all without having to worry about finishing up this lesson plan or that research for a meeting. It's been a much needed break, and I still have a few days before I have to start getting back to work. But it's given me a good opportunity to take stock of the previous year and plan the one to come. And things are looking up!
Questions? Quibbles? Controversies?