Pre-SeeTedTeach: It’s all baby steps, baby

17 January 2011
Meta Journal #1 – In re: our first class on 12 January
As often happens, I was feeling a bit frantic with all the first impressions and getting squared away; as sometimes happens, I was a little long-winded in my self-introduction—need to watch time better for the “real thing”—preparing the class lead assignments further down the road. My anxiety is usually present no matter the amount of preparation I do beforehand; as I begin to feel comfortable with the players, especially the “boss,” in this case the instructor, it does fade in time. Unless of course I never reach a level of comfort and stay stressed throughout the session.

DT used an unfamiliar (or unremembered) word: ki-az-mus…chiasmus?
chiasmus (kaɪˈæzməs) — n , pl -mi
rhetoric reversal of the order of words in the second of two parallel phrases: he came in triumph and in defeat departs
Great, but I’ve forgotten the context.

Other thoughts/notes during class: “Showalter–establish what your goals are” fits in well with what Kevin said last summer about teaching to SLOs; wish I’d heard of that before my experiences with IADT (Int’l Academy of Design and Technology) and Orange County/OMI (Orlando Marine Institute).

It’s EXTREMELY frustrating that teaching is handled (in my experience and from hearsay) so blasted unprofessionally. I refer to the whole “sink or swim” methods that seem to be the norm–most new instructors, except those whose field of study is teaching, have only their student’s-eye perspective as to how to go about teaching and in many ways are expected to reinvent the wheel. Why not create processes or systems, at least of the basics, and communicate them to new teachers? With so little consistency in deliverables and methods, it is no wonder so many children get through the system without the basics—the system can’t seem to agree what those basics are!

Rant, rant, rant. Whine.

Next note to self: ? Donald Murray – writing about literature? Flipped through a few books, found tons of information on the writing process in general but nothing literature-specific. Still mean to read those three books, I bought last year in my flurry of research.

Late in the class while discussing Gatsby, we touched on “teaching students to track”—yes! Hand-holding while going through the basics—eg. these are binaries;how does this affect the story? This is narrative voice in 1st person; what does it make you feel?—at each step of the way (is that scaffolding?) is totally appropriate. For those who “get it” faster, let ‘em run, maybe through a pastiche exercise their way (you say you understand what and how author xyz is doing, so prove it—try to write a page or two in his/her style).

Enough.

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