Thursday, June 22, 2006

School Recap

Yes, school is “out.” It has taken me a few days to recoup from the stress of trying to take care of my family and wrap up my classes over the last few weeks too. And since I’m sure you all (all three of you) are dying to know how things went, here’s the poop:

The college course: If you recall, things were a bit rocky for a while with the College Writing II crew. First, there was the dreadful “they don’t get it” shtick. After re-grouping and re-teaching “how to write a paragraph and incorporate borrowed material,” things seemed to go more smoothly.

Then, there was the whole “cheating” incident. You remember - that strange student who totally borrowed his paper from various Wikipedia pages (and from a site where comfortable beds are sold). That ended well, as the student never returned to class to face the consequences.

Finally, (and this is the new-to-you dish) there were the “mixed reviews” I earned from the end-of-the-year student evaluation process. A total of five students (of the 20 that completed the course) reviewed my teaching skills, and I think my overall average was a strong “C+.” Unfortunately, another adjunct was teaching the same class at the same time in another room, so our mixed reviews were mixed up. How do I know? Well, several of the comments penned by the anonymous reviewers referred to the other teacher, “Mrs. Smith,” by name. Consequently, the registrar mixed up the reviews, and I inadvertently saw the reviews for both sections (so much for confidentiality). Let me tell you – I was just glad that I didn’t get some of the reviews that Mrs. Smith got. Let’s just say that the comments directed to her were less than nice (better than barfing orange juice, but worse than eating worms). At least my students (if in fact any of the students reviewing my class were actually my students) had the sense to direct their evilness at me by without using my name. The head of the department seemed to think that my reviews were really positive (wow – I’d hate to see what these kids say about their other teachers). I laughed at that, and asked him, “I’m sorry, but did we read the same reviews?” He was quick to point out that “We tend to assume that the students who were satisfied with the class didn’t review your performance, but those who felt disgruntled did.”

All in all, I made many mistakes in teaching that college writing class, and I will be sure to adjust my approach next time around in order to avoid the same pitfalls.

The online school: At the other end of the teaching spectrum, the online school end of the year went well. Although I graded papers for 80+ hours in the span of two weeks (yes, that is about 40 hours of overtime work there), the students I had this year seemed to really learn something from the curriculum and my mentorship. And, I had more “thank yous” from students and parents this year than ever before – which is always nice.

Hopefully, I’ll get re-connected with my blog buddies this summer. Maybe I’ll even write something that will be worth your time to read.


Gracie said...

I will read whatever you write...and honestly...puking orange juice is in the top five worst things to puke up. Worms probably taste like mud which I think is less bad than orange acid mixed with stomach acid.

I suddenly feel like puking...

Go figure.

pjd said...

Hell's fires left behind
don't look back or you'll be lost
school's out for summer