Monday, May 05, 2008

Teaching Writing: Reflections, and Thanks, Year Two

Two years of University Writing -- and I've had fantastic students the entire time.

Today's class not only brought me a Thank You card, but gave me my very first round of applause in teaching. Ten students, each and every one interesting and intelligent -- a teacher couldn't ask for more, really.

I've often felt this semester (and other semesters) that I have more fun in writing class than most composition instructors. If that's true -- it's due in no small part to the students I've had. I map a crazy course through a semester which embraces everything from the "human" to the "nation" to monsters and beyond -- but as with all teachers, perhaps, the course wouldn't be any fun at all if it weren't for students who are consistently willing to take a leap, take a chance with their thinking, and find unintended results. This semester saw students who wrote on everything from how we speak about feces, to "villainous" pirates, to folklore heroes and nationalism, to language and communication, to Santa Claus and panopticism, to how mimetics influences stable or instable cultural forms, to the psychology of nationhood, to Jurassic park, to linguistic identity, to Mexican revolutionary imagery. How often does that happen in a writing course? With first years, no less!

We had a class blog -- and so I know some of the class may be reading this now. I generally don't mention my students on-blog (as you all well know), unless it's to praise you -- consider this high praise, then. But I do want to say thank you to all of you guys, and highlight how great a semester it was for me too -- I learned from this class, and for that, I'm grateful.


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