First class

First class. 1/12/2016

As usual, I was nervous. Prepared a bit differently than usual because I was afraid that too much talking would result in a coughing fit. So I asked the 12 students that showed up to carefully read the syllabus with a partner, and identify at least 3 questions it raised. The usual concerns about grading and points emerged.

To my surprise, no one asked about the “technology policy” or lack of office hours. I think we had a good discussion about handling potential tech disruptions, and I have added that to the syllabus.  I was pleased that their approach so closely mirrored the Benedictine value of respect for persons, and told them so.

Also to my surprise, they expressed no concern or confusion over the rules for “print” writing assignments versus Blog assignments. I had expected that, as it is even unclear to me when they need to bring paper to class and when they post to their blogs. Perhaps that will emerge after they create their individual blogs tomorrow. It may also point to their lack of facility with thoughtful, engaged reading.

I need to get used to teaching in this longer (for me) 80 minute period. Forgot to give them a break until after I assigned the first in-class writing, a personal introduction to me. Only one student took advantage of that break. The rest kept at the writing.

Based on the results, we have a lot of work to do. At the sentence level, most do fine. But there is very little idea development, use of example, or evidence of individual voice. Lots of preference for Twitter and text reading may be reflected in their lack of extended narrative flow.

Oh, but they seem to be good people! Friendly, respectful, bright. Introductory interactions among them went well. I’m honored to be their teacher, and hopeful about our journey together in the next four months.



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