Thursday, November 15, 2007

Adventures in Comp: Part Two, More Flashbacks

If you want to really know your students, give them work to do in class. Today is the day I filled in for Katherine. A lot like babysitting, in ways that I'll expand on in a minute. The agenda for the day was peer review and revision. Each student was to have their pre-draft peer reviewed by two others, then, time-allowing, begin to revise according to those reviews. And off they went...

A few clumped up with their buddies. A few went off alone. Some stayed on-task, some didn't and needed prompting along the lines of "Oh, finished already, are you? No? Well then, get to work." It was funny to see how they broke out, though about what I expected.

Substituting today reminded me less of waitressing (though, I still remembered everyone's names and was able to name those who were absent) and more of babysitting and working as a tutor in the writing room. The babysitting came in because the dynamics are much the same. A stranger steps in and takes on an authority role usually reserved for the parent/professor. There's a lot of water-testing that goes on and trying to guage how to interact with the kids/students based on their personalities relative to being in that authoritative position. The tutor part is pretty obvious. A couple of students asked me for help today and I flashed back to the writing room and trying to pull the answers out of the student instead of handing the answer to them.

Not so easy, especially when they're asking, "That's what I think, I think. Is what I think right?" Then to reply, "Well, what have you said to me? *repeat* How does that sound to you?" It's an answer that annoys people, but gets them to dig a bit and they usually come up with their own answer just fine after they give me that exasperated look.

Now, after this experience, I'm glad of two things:
1. That I visited Tuesday. Walking in already knowing the students' names and having an idea of their personalities did a lot to put me at ease. I already had a pretty good idea of who I'd need to keep an eye on vs. who would be pretty self-sufficient.
2. That I did it. In my imagination, this whole teaching adventure was getting a bit blown out of proportion and scary. Now that I've actually been in a class I'm less intimidated. Today wasn't too bad, and once they're my own students in my own class, it'll be easier.

My own class, by the way, will be MWF from 10-10:50. I checked the online registration and, while it still says TBA for the professor, it also says FULL. I have students. Now I just need a syllabus, reading list, and course calendar.


Debbie said...

10-10:50? No wonder it's full. Perfect time o'day. Don't have to get up early, but you're out before lunch.

When grad students taught at UCCS, the schedule always said, "Staff." Dr. Staff taught a lot of classes.

You'll be great.

Whittaker Luckless said...

Kewl. Teacher Ali.

Hee hee. Mine is an evil laugh.