Monday, November 16, 2009

a bit about teaching

Last week I had a class that I went into knowing that I didn't want to do what I had planned for the second half. Did*not*want*to*do*it. By the midpoint I had figured out what to do (gee, they had said "more practical applications, please" very clearly in the midterm evaluations I asked them to fill out), and there it was. In the text was a story we all had read - Alice Walker's "Everyday Use" - and this theory book, probably because it's American, didn't have much of a Marxist analysis section. So that sample essay hadn't been evaluated in that light. I took Peter Barry's "Intro to Theory" (British) and went to his section on "What Marxist Critics Do" and said now let's apply it to this story. I did it as well and since I really didn't have a prepared outcome, was good to see what they all came up with. It worked really well.

The next class was less successful -- it was me trying to tell them everything I knew about feminist theory and trying to manage the three texts we had, plus an article by Annette Kolodny. That was the class with the either/or on the ppt or internet, and other equally unsuccessful items.

Today was supposed to be about post-colonial theory. They had too much to read. I had their annotated bibliographies. So I decided to have them choose one of the readings, to take Peter Barry's question about the version of the theories he presented and to answer his ponderings based on the authors/texts they had. And to assume the others hadn't read them (loud approval here from the group). They will present these on Wed and had time to work on them today. Meanwhile, I sat with each person individually on the annotated bibliographies. Some were great, others needed additional ideas. I think this was the most productive use of time even if we finished early. Also in one case it seemed like I did magic since he was describing a source that he couldn't find and I knew I had read it recently. Probably after reading his research proposal. AND I was pretty sure I had printed it out, so somewhere it was accessible. Indeed, I found it in my office and gave it to him. I love that I have time to look through people's proposals and wander a bit through the sources.

On the other front, the class with drafts that needed comments. Well, I skipped Bangla class this morning to finish those and decided that they needed far more revision than from Mon to Wed (the deadline had previously been Mon, so I would have been giving drafts back on Wed with more revision time). I told them we were moving on, starting the next unit, but that I was taking advantage of the tutorial day - no classes on Thursdays, just TA groups or extra sessions. So I want to see every one of them on Thursday with a revision (and a worksheet that I gave them to evaluate their thesis, topics and supporting evidence) since most had not yet developed a thesis. They were not thrilled since it had seemed that the end had been in sight. On the other hand, the papers were not ready for final revisions.

So why was I still behind this morning? Well, I got distracted on the paper that I'm writing for the conference on Saturday. A really cool screenshot application that I can add arrows and boxes is fun to play with and really, really, helpful so that I will not have to rely on internet access for my presentation. YEA! Thanks again, Paul!


  1. Over my head, but I suspect that some of your "followers" know exactly what you're talking about!

  2. Hey Kris, Long time, no see. :)

    Marxist on Everyday Use! I love it!

  3. Magic? Nay. You're in Bangladesh now; you've merely acquired a Djinn. We all have them. Yours just happens to be good at making EBSCO work, where mine evidently fails spectacularly.

    Thought it was only fair to let you know that one of us had stumbled upon your blog :)

  4. Fawaz, somebody is doing research on the blogs, at least! who knew that's what this research methodologies course would be about?