Thursday, July 10, 2008

Yay for homework

I've gotten a lot done this week!
I am nearly through with Persuasion, our next book for group discussion (by group, I mean two of us at a bar, and a few people vicariously through email and phone conversation). In my summer class on Austen last year, the prof's famous mantra was "sometime next summer, when you're on the beach reading Jane Austen, think about this..." (after which he would introduce some intriguing tidbit). I'm just waiting for a nice sizzler, so we can have a Jane Austen bikini party.
I turned in my letter of resignation at work. This is bittersweet, to say the least. I am fortunate enough to say that I truly enjoy my job and get along with my coworkers (well, there's some love/hate bidness, but for the most part...) Nonetheless, due to extenuating circumstances surrounding the job and my own situation, the time has come .

Doc and I haven't really talked about it much. He is the one who asked me, during the interview, why he should hire me over the other applicants, many (if not all) of whom had previous office experience. I replied, point blank, "Because I'm going to work like a horse, with less mess." (I went home and told my husband that I blew the interview with that ridiculous statement.) Four years later, I have graduated from main therapy assistant to front desk to billing and personal injury specialist; I have trained six employees, four of whom have worked there for over a year now, if not longer. Doc still repeats the "horse" story-- verbatim-- when he is showing off about his staff.

I busted out the GRE book a few more times and, when I stop to pick up some notecards, I'll be unstoppable.
(until I get to the quantitative section, that is)

I polished off one brand-spankin-new syllabus for a remodeled Comp One course. This coming fall my classroom is web-enhanced, and I'd really like my syllabus design to take advantage of that. I haven't really even explored all of the possibilities just yet, but it was fun to revamp old assignments and "lectures" (if you can call the blatherings of a teaching assistant a 'lecture') with technological supplement in mind. Simply put, the world is at my fingerpoints. My biggest concern, at this point, is practice time--you know, I need to be able to navigate scary, expensive equipment with the help (and suggestions, I'm sure) of an audience!

Practically speaking, my students will be able to complete a large amount of their class work there, in the classroom. Now, I had a few fellow TAs suggested that this was a bad idea, that homework is homework, etc, and I should use time in the classroom for discussion and so on. Right. My version of leading discussion is turning red in the face and hoping someone else will raise their hand so that I don't have to have a ready response to the suggestions and comments. I am awful at facilitating discussion, and find that 80% of what comes out of my mouth is padding for the miniscule point I try to make. I have faith that with more experience, this will work itself out. In the meantime I have a media-enhanced classroom. Go watch youtube, kids.

Anyway, my take on the 'using classtime for classtime' is that its still classwork, and its ready access to a computer, which not all of my students have off campus. Besides, procrastination is procrastination. If they're not using allotted class time to write for me, then they're staying up till 2 am the night before and handing in a shotty essay.

Then again...with some of the latest conceptions(see blogs on concern for higher education) that higher education ought to consist of sitting in front of computer screens and having peer reviews--neglecting any type of teacher input-- part of me wants to get out of the digi-classroom, go all "O Captain my captain" and have class on the front lawn of the university. You know, make em write poetry or something.

More on syllabus type stuff later.


Dr. Virago said...

Hey, on the GRE front, Bardiac had a great post a little while back that you might want to check out. Lots of good comments, including from yours truly.

I got an "A" in Crazy Beeyotch said...

Thanks, Dr. V~Bardiac's post was a help, and very much an encouragement when she discussed her scores allowing her to compete with students from fancier universities. I can only hope my scores will do the same. can always take it again, catcha?