Wednesday, April 28, 2010

End of Semester Reflections - ENG 100

Actually, the end of my first semester as a Real Teacher (I feel like Pinnochio - "I'm finally a real boy!") is next week, but I'm winding up my classes and I've begun to get nervous about the administrative part of my job. I've taught at the college level before, but I wasn't expected to know a heck of a lot about how the administrative aspects of the job went, so it was easier to get away with being stupid. Of course, this being my first semester at LCCC means I still have a license to be stupid about how LCCC does things, but I feel more responsibility in finding out information; it's on my shoulders this time, and there's less of an excuse for not getting the info. If I don't know what I need to know, I have to track it down; I can't presume that it'll be shared. Fortunately, I have an inkling of what I don't know. (It's better than not knowing what you don't know.)

This is getting way too meta.

I've gotten reflective about how I've taught this semester, and I have Dr. Lindblom and Harry to thank (blame?) for teaching me that skill. It was painful while I was learning it, but I'm really grateful for knowing how to  be reflective as a teacher now.

ENG 100 (Fundamentals of Writing) is making me more nervous than ENG 105 (College English I) - I've taught a comparable course to ENG 105 before, so I have an idea of what I'm doing. And ENG 105 doesn't have portfolios, unlike the ENG 16 (Freshmen Comp) class I taught over at LIU. ENG 100 requires portfolios, which are to include a certain number of drafts (with revisions) in the portfolios, as well as their exit exam (a response to a writing prompt developed by the English department). I'm anxious that I'll have given my students incorrect information about what to include in their portfolio. The adminsitrative aspects make me nervous because I haven't been observed yet; I'm teaching at satellite campuses this semester and am not interacting with other adjuncts or English department facult too much.

I should have required of my students: I should have used the departmental  rubric; I should have made them write more of the different types of essays; I should have relied less on the textbook to teach grammar. (The one grammar exercise I came up with myself, using op-eds, went over really well; the students were involved and talkative in a way they aren't normally.) In my defense, I don't think anything was an abject failure, but it took this first semester teaching this level of writing to get a sense of how to teach this level of writing.

Half the ENG 100 students failed beacuse of exceeding the number of absences I allow - not by one or two, mind you, but by missing more than half the semester. Several might not pass because their writing simply isn't up to a basic standard.

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