Monday, March 29, 2010
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
I've begun designing the theme and course website for my Composition class in the winter. Here is a preview of the course banner. I'm going to take the class in a little bit of a new direction, focusing more on gender, race, and how it is important for us to study the rhetoric of identity construction.
This is going to be a very exciting term. I can't wait to start choosing the reading assignments and crafting the unit essays based on Susan Meyers' new curriculum suggestions. I think most of all I am going to really try shaping my students into fine critical thinkers. Those who choose to sit quietly will certainly have a tough time.
More to come.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
I compiled a list of all the drafts, and came up with a rough "table of contents" containing 33 poems. (This number was derived from a number higher than 50 poems....but some were cut/unfinished/unreadable, etc.)
I typed and printed a list of the poems with which I am going to work, and have no begun making changes and trying them out. I'm even posting some to Facebook to gather feedback from people in the outside world. So far....mostly unsuccessful. This is not because people don't offer good suggestions, but because I'm a relative nobody, and no one is interested in reading the work of nobody.
...Which reminds me, I thought I would post a poem here just for kicks. Think of it as a treat.......a treat for all of my non-readers. This is such a mind-trip, talking about my general unpopularity to...well, a group of readers that may or may not exist.
Either way, enjoy!
The Skipping Stone
Jonathan A. Peacock
George said living life is like hearing
the scraping of a stone bounding across
a lake, that between each hop is
uncertainty of what’s coming, or what
isn’t, that in those leaps we’re
falling, and at the end we’re sinking
beneath the ripples and we watch them
scuttle to the shore to make tiny
tidal waves where that stone was picked,
that this was why people scrape
their heels along the floor, that they
search for a way to hang on, that
one day they’d walk right through
that floor, worn soles and all, and tread
the dirt, and those who’re left to listen would
be lucky to hear anything at all: That
those heels take the place of the stone and
plunk and plunk and plunk and gone.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
This didn't seem like something appropriate to post to Facebook, so Blogger it is. I submitted my class grades for WR241 (into to poetry writing) yesterday. The grades were about what I expected: a nice spread, maybe 6 As, 13Bs, 4 Cs, 2 Ds, and 1 F.
Then the complaint emails roll in. "How could I possibly receive a C+???" and "It's POETRY WRITING! How could I get a B?"
I made it very clear early in the term that I don't really grade the quality of the poetry. I grade the students' understanding of fundamental poetry elements. I grade their revision choices. I grade their participation, most importantly.
The students who complained about their grades are the students who never talked in class. They never volunteered to read. Never opened their mouth during workshop. Never gave even one suggestion or comment the entire term. And this, after I placed much emphasis on the importance of participation in a creative writing class.
I just don't understand. Well, I do understand, but I don't understand how I could have been clearer! A creative writing class, a workshop environment, whatever you want to call it, simply cannot function without class participation. If you refuse to talk, and sit idly in your seat, seeming uninterested, not engaged, you will not get an A.
Will I have to explain this to every student who did not receive an A in my class? God, I hope not.
Monday, December 7, 2009
I spent most of the weekend grading poetry portfolios. For a while I was concerned over grade inflation, not just in my own class, but in the higher education machine in general. I had my mind set to ease after engaging discussions with colleagues. I don't believe grade inflation exists as much as I believe the role and function of the grade changes from undergraduate work to graduate work. I know this to be true after seeing the grades of my undergraduate poetry students, realizing that creative writers can, in fact, land themselves outside/below/sub-"A" range.
A good friend of mine said on Friday, "in the field of creative writing, at least when you're an undergrad, it's important to be a good student first, and a good writer second. Because if you're a bad writer but you listen and try to learn, you can actually improve."
I think that's true. Then I wonder what type of student I was when I was an undergraduate. I generated mostly A quality work. Sometimes I would stagger by with a B, especially if I was uninterested in the course material, found it irrelevant to my field of study, or if I was unlucky enough to be in the presence of a professor who simply didn't agree with my polarized perspectives. Then I remembered, with my experiences over the past year keenly in mind, that I was not too different from my students I'm teaching now.
Very odd. This isn't much of a revelation. It's merely an observation. I think I was aware of this fact for a while, but either didn't want to admit it, or the pattern seemed to obvious for me to care.
Anyway, this term is winding down nicely. The house is decorated for Christmas. The tree is up and lit. And I have the sniffles/coughs/body aches. Evvvvvvvverything is falling into place.
I'll leave you with this clip from Countdown, since I'm always a fan of seeing Limbaugh grilled over things he obviously doesn't understand. I'm particularly drawn to Limbaugh's definition of the word "sheep." The healthcare absurdity, as I will call it from this day forth, rolls on...
Good day, all. Thanks for reading.