I'm Exhausted… Thank You, Students!

I’m Exhausted… Thank You, Students!Jerz’s Literacy Weblog)

Thursday is a marathon day for me… class at 11, 2, and a 2 1/2 hour marathon at 6pm. My first class is “Seminar in Thinking in Writing,” during which I asked the students to work in groups to come up with sample thesis statements. Ordinarily pretty dry stuff, but the subject matter was the myth of the American family, and I and my RTA Michelle Fairbaugh tried to get them to look beyond a surface-level critique of family ideals of the 50s. I pushed a little harder than I have in the past, in my effort to get students to research (and understand) opposing views rather than simply think of a research paper as an exercise in finding support for what you already believe. Of course, because I pushed, that meant some students pushed back — and I thought the result was very productive.

Even before Intro to Literary Studies met, I saw a flood of postings on NMJ responding to the “Flash Fiction” exercises that I asked them to do. We didn’t have any time to talk about flash fiction in class, because the discussion on Bernice Bobs Her Hair simply wouldn’t end. I’ll let Tiffany Brattina describe it for you. Since some students prefer a more contemplative environment, I’ll have to find a way to vary the class structure and make the quiet ones feel like their contributions are valid… but I personally prefer a lively classroom with multiple conversations going on at once. I’d like to keep that energy!

While my evening lit class wasn’t all that lively when it came to discussing e.e. cummings (we had one of those horrid three-minute-pauses-that-seem-to-last-for-an-hour when nobody in the class wanted to speak), they may have been tuckered out by the good discussions we had on “A Jury of Her Peers” and “The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock” (see Melissa Whiteman‘s blog about poetry reading as a game. This is the first time I’ve tried a blank slate/new critical approach to teaching poetry, but it seems appropriate for a survey course that is mostly being taken as an area requirement… I’m interested in seeing how it turns out.)

Yesterday we had some excellent presentations on Chaucer in my Advanced Studies in English: Media Aesthetics course. I had actually been dreading the Chaucer days because I thought the discussion would be like pulling teeth, but these advanced English majors are an impressive bunch.

So… I’m exhausted! I’ll probably update this with links to more student blogs, but for now, I’m all tuckered out to smithereens.

And so to bed…

Update, 30 Jan:

Some students who posted their responses to reading and/or writing “fifty word fiction” (found via a search for “fiction”): Diana Geleskie, Amy Blake, Gina Burgese, Amanda Cochran, Johanna Dreyfss, Lori Rupert, Stephan Puff, Karissa Kilgore, Tammy Moon, Jason Pugh, Tiffany Brattina, Paul Crossman.

(I should note that I encouraged them — but didn’t require them — to post their fiction online; I assume that it was the interview with Mike Arnzen that really got many of them inspired to try it.)