More journal entries

Journal two – reflections on the Cegep system – includes link to new Ministerial suggestions for making the system better.
Journal three – reflections on Marcia Baxter Magolda’s theoretical framework of knowledge – obviously, I can’t reproduce her work here, but I have included a link to a review of the book in question.

Oedipus was a M*F*

So I’m teaching this course on playreading – kind of an intro to drama, bit of theatrical history, literary analysis, production, yada, yada, yada. So naturally, we’ve started with Agamemnon and Oedipus.
What is it with these people? If they’re not killing each other, they’re eating each other’s children, baked in a pie. Alternatively, they’re boffing swans, bulls, shafts of golden light, each other, each other’s spouses…
Of course, the real question is, can I justifiably use the title of this post in the classroom?

Well, what do you know?

One of the on-going assignments I’ll be working on for the course I’m taking is a journal. Apparently, the journal is something I’ll continue working on in subsequent courses.
Our first journal assignment was to write about knowledge – we’ve been talking about the term in class. Some writers in the field of education think of knowledge as the bottom chunk in the Maslow-esque learning pyramid. For instance, one such writer posits that student first know facts, then understand these facts, then apply the facts to given problems in a given context, and finally recognize when the application of these facts is required in a new situation given out of context.
Anyway, for the sake of nothing in particular, I give you my first journal entry…

Continue reading “Well, what do you know?”

Life on the other side

In a few minutes, I’m off to school. This week, however, I’m on the other side of the desk. That’s right, the teacher has become the student.
This semester I’m taking the first course in the Performa program, which will eventually lead me to a Master’s in Education (one day, I’ll be a B.A.M.A.M.Ed.). What’s neat about this particular program is that it’s designed and taught by CEGEP teachers, for CEGEP teachers.
Today I get to make a presentation to the class – a concept map on the idea of ‘effective teaching.’ That’s right – I did my homework!
Next week, it’s back to school for real – and this semester, I get to try all my newfangled ideas out on actual students. Muahahaha!

Welcome to Denial, QC

Why would anyone resist living in denial? In denial, I am tall and thin and my hair always looks great. Also, my nose is just like Nicole Kidman’s, but better.
In denial, the snow fluttering past my office window is not accumulating on my car, and my car will never die (nor will I, for that matter).
In denial, all the coffee I drink is good for me.
In denial, it’s only a matter of time before the American citizenry collectively storms Capitol Hill and drags the Bush League out of the West Wing, unanimously declaring Bill Clinton (or Colin Powell or Oprah Winfrey or Jon Stewart or Big Bird) in charge “at least ’til we figure out what the heck our foreign policy is.”
In denial, all of my students will have epiphanies in their sleep the night before the exam, and awake with fresh, permanent insight that allows them to coherently analyse literature without any comma splices or sentence fragments.
In denial, the approximately 125 papers on my desk were magically marked by the Grammar Gnomes overnight, and this morning I can relax, put on some perfectly legal tunes, and catch up on my reading.

Hey, where’d he go?

In response to “Why has Macbeth ‘almost forgot the taste of fear’?” one student wrote that the witches’ prophesies made Macbeth believe he was “invisible.”


According to a student essay I was marking yesterday, “a whooping 50%” of Americans support the pro-choice option.

Professional Crastination

So there’s a pile of paper on my desk – no, make that several piles. Unsorted piles. There are essays awaiting comments, grammar exercises awaiting corrections, corrected texts awaiting marks, oral presentation summaries awaiting review, and one or two administrative memos awaiting ignoring. This is why, of course, I’m blogging.
The end of the semester is right around the corner, and I feel like I’ve taught my students nothing. Some of them may actually know less than they did in September.
My Intro course, which finishes in a month and a half, still has to get through the Scottish play AND the elements of poetry, not to mention figure out how to stop writing so many comma splices. My Canadian Women Writers course, if yesterday’s orals are any indication, may stretch into February – the guidelines clearly said 15 to 20 minutes, so two groups presenting yesterday should have taken maximum 40 minutes, right? (See, I can do math) Together, the two presentations took 90 minutes. 90! There are six more presentations. I may call in sick.
As for my Prep (ESL) group, well, some of them are actually doing really well – but others are still approaching college the way they did high school, but with fewer restrictions. I have to admit, as a group they are demonstrating some improvement, both in language skills and behaviour. It’s been a while since I left the classroom thinking “Now that’s exactly why I don’t teach secondary.” On the other hand, I confess I was a little dismayed to kind I’ve been given the Prep Plus course next semester – the class in which all my current Prep students end up if they can’t pass this semester’s class.
The good news is, my goldfish plant is blooming.