Friday, May 7, 2010

One task down, a few more to go

This coming week is the last full week of class in the semester. I will be giving back one set of execrable papers and picking up drafts for another, which I hope will be better, but have little reason, in truth, for that hope. It is still an independent research paper, and the students have shown themselves mostly to be incapable of this--mostly because the topic involves textual analysis rather than sociological issues. It seems that sticking with such issues will be a better idea, unless one does a study of a particular theme or kind of text , or works by one author/filmmaker. So a class in Kubrick might work, with research papers about one of his films, but that will probably not occupy more than one or two research papers, rather than the 3 or so I'd like their topic to examine.
The thing that bothers me most about these papers is the feeling that I have not been able to do my job as well as I would have liked to this time. It is both what is happening with my parents and the topic of the class that has kept me from teaching them to write argument and research topics as well as I would have liked. It isn't for lack of trying; something just had to give, I suppose. And being overly ambitious about taking on a new topic now was clearly a mistake. SO I guess I have learned something, and can go on to the next thing... preparing summer's syllabus and assignments.

6 comments:

Lou said...

Aren't you starting another new topic for summer? Maybe it's time to repeat a topic you've taught and spend time revising and reshaping it as you teach it again. That might give you some extra time for the many other demands on your life.

Robbi said...

I am starting a new topic, and Writing 1, which is much easier to teach, generally. I don't have to worry about teaching rhetoric and argumentation--just texts. That's pretty easy for me.
It's a new syllabus, but I am almost finished preparing for the first book (Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde). I just have to work on the movie--District 9. I haven't done that yet.

Robin said...

Your new class sounds very interesting--Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and District 9. I hope your students like it. I know I would!

marly said...

Robinka, don't forget that they'll meet those issues again some time and gather up the threads once more. One teacher doesn't have to fix everything, even though sometimes one teacher makes a lot of difference...

Hope your mama is coming along, not being too impatient with new limitations.

Robbi said...

The third text they'll read is The Metamorphosis (Kafka). I have done that so much that I don't need to do much footwork. Teaching literary texts and movies is fun and absorbing for me. I can do it without much pain, but I must prepare adequately, of course.

Robbi said...

Marly,
I don't know that they will ever have another rhetoric class again, at least some of them. This stuff is important for their upper division classes, and I feel I have let them down. But of course, they have also let themselves down, by not doing the work I assigned.