Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com

Getting there


Friday, December 09, 2005

This is Friday morning, and i have been seriously pressured by the thought of blogging this week. I even thought, what would happen if I just stopped? Like, if i just taught away and didn't blog?
I then thought that that wasn't really a good idea, because the reflection that happens, and the sitting down to gather those thoughts (also for later perusal) and focusing for conversations with colleagues, things that are non-verbal and get more conscious so they can be discussed, and the whole benefit from that would be lost. I thought about the changes in the course I have made this year, using a yahoo group, using more ppt in presentations, having more links available to students for support beyond my own classroom exhortations, are the ones that come to mind, and I concluded I was able to change actively because I had somehow taken stock of what I was doing, and what worked/wasn't working, needed tweaking. Longitudinally.

So in spite of feeling somehow totally overwhelmed with a backlog of student papers to mark (the presentation 2 results to be logged, the vocabulary sheet to be looked over and double-checked, and the article reading report) plus family turbulence, Bham diss and last paper double and Columbia Peace Education module assignments to get out of the way, where oh where am i going to find peace of mind, plus papers written just aching to get published and not a drop of energy to write emails sending them in, (yes, the book deal fell through!)

here is this week's BLOG!!!

Tuesday, Day 9, Research in the Computer Room

Half the class came late. Really depressing, I spent a good half hour or more running round trying to record it all, being blocked in teaching by needing to deal with juvenile train late by at least twenty minute excuses, marking two really late students absent and having to deal with their petty whining attempts to wheedle me to mark them just late. I checked with the train station on the way home, the maximum train delay was 17 minutes, less for some. How come it's always the same students? is what is in my mind. Early birds are there and working.

One of my Japanese colleagues in another department has the same problem, absences and latecomers. The more I try and insist on being on time, the more lax some students are getting. I was thinking it was a silent protest, (???me being too touchy?) this Thursday class one student has left the course, (although they were thinking of coming, according to a friend), the relayed reason being it is too much work. One of the other Thursday students said they were up to their ears with other Economics courses and didn't see English as being on a par.

On my way to the station I saw my absent student running to catch the lights for the next class, I called their name, they didn't see me. Now I get an email saying they were sick one week and had urgent family business the following. Sick for my class and running to make the lights to cross over to campus and go to the next one, huh? Kinda sad, it will have to reflect in lower grades. Here am I thinking I could somehow guide students toward responsibility and ethical behavior by my upright model example...remembering bell hooks, we don't always see the results of our educating right away, ( and then accountability and performance measuring get in the way, for me and students)....

Anyway, having wasted a good 45 minutes on documentation of latecomers and so on, I settled in to circling groups. At the beginning of class I had sketched up on the board a sample of how to quote an article in a ppt slide, and also a reference slide at the end. I was able to offer support to the three groups that were working and researching, but the latecomers groups were all over the place, spent my last minutes of class showing someone how to load the presentation 2 ppt into eemsophia, our yahoo group, and then I was collecting the summer article assignments and feeling rather crushed on my way home.

I hope the presentations validate what's happening, I remember last year there was a dead spot in the energy of the research class, and I know that by contrast this year with the computer room I am making sure they come, and overlooking their process, while last year they left the classroom to research, so there was no guarantee they were actually studying during the research period.

meanwhile Thursday in the computer room, again beginning class with a short reminder of how to quote sources, and here no problem with latecomers, and good group work happening. In one group two students asked me to check their text for ppt slides, and I was able to work over with them, showing them how to cut vocabulary they don't understand, substituting easier words gleaned from the merriam webster, and how to simplify complex relational embedded written structures into two or three more simple sentences for easier listening. I also modeled how to include questions, so that the teamwork aspect and voiceplay are facilitated. Other groups were confident, brushed me aside happily, one group had no output, but we talked over how to approach things and I think got a hook on birdflu, with a scenario projection of how every senior citizen over 80 dying
of birdflu would affect the japanese economy. Will they produce it for next week?That is the question!