Notice about Cookies (for European readers)

I have been informed that I need to say something about how this site uses Cookies and possibly get the permission of my European readers about the use of Cookies. I'll be honest: I have no idea how the cookies on this site work. My understanding is that Google has added a boilerplate explanation. That's the best I can do.

Student Readers: A Warning

I welcome students readers to this blog. However, be aware that, although I do not use anyone's actual name, the descriptions of behaviors and conversations are not disguised. This is a space in which I may rant, vent, and otherwise express responses that I would do my best to mask or at least tone down in professional interactions with students. This is my personal, gloves off, no holds barred, direct from the gut expression of what it feels like to do my job. If you think you might be hurt or offended or upset by that, read no further. The person I'm ranting about could be you.


Hi! And you are...?

My readership has suddenly blossomed, which is a lovely development--but I don't know who is reading the blog, how you found it, and why you find it interesting. I'd love to hear from you! Please feel free to use the "comment" box at the end of any particular post to let me know what brought you to this page--and what keeps you coming back for more (if you do).

Not you, Barry. You already told me--and thanks!






Follow by Email

Friday, April 14, 2017

The frustration factor--again

As I'm trying to summon the whatever to churn through the essays for Nature in Lit, the wall I keep hitting is the frustration wall. Because the students truly do not know how to read with actual understanding--not even surface level understanding, a lot of the time--they are completely incapable of writing essays about the literature, so they end up pulling meaningless generalizations out of their left ears (or places less savory), and I am then stuck with having to tell them exactly why what they're doing is not working.

The sad thing is, I think they're all frustrated too. I first imagined sitting down with them on Monday to tell them how frustrated I am, but I think that won't do anything except make them even more frustrated and miserable. I don't know if there would be any benefit to talking with them about their frustrations, but perhaps. My plan at the moment--subject to change on a whim--is to talk first about the reading that was assigned but then ask them to talk about their frustrations, see if we can come up with any kind of solution. I may end up ditching the poetry I assigned for Wednesday--though I wish I'd spent more time on poetry and fiction and less on some of the essays.

I should be having a wonderful time: this class is my baby, afterall. But I am truly miserable with it, and as much as the students surely wish they could start all over (and probably choose a different class), I wish I could start all over, not only with what I assign but with how fast and fiercely I address the "Johnny can't read" problem.

Truly, the 102s are better. At least I expect them to struggle some with the reading--and they're struggling less, for the most part (though a few are every bit as lost).

I wish I could figure out a way to use my seminar hours to actually hold a seminar on reading literature as it needs to be read. My colleagues in the Reading department (and yes, that's a separate department at NCC) might howl with outrage, but truly, a huge number of our students need help, and I'd like to provide it.

Perhaps I'll propose it to Scott and Cathy, see what they think. I'm not sure how we could make it work, but I'm desperate to address the problem.

See? If I didn't give a shit, things would be much easier.

I would love to find a happy reframe, but not today. Maybe tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. Tonia, I am 100% in favour of your proposed support measures. As I am leaving I can't take advantage of them directly but I too have come to believe that students need hours of work on basic close reading techniques -- and beyond -- else they and we continue to live in a world of tragedy without catharsis.

    ReplyDelete