Today was a good day of college teaching for me. There were some occasional not-so-great moments, but overall it was pretty good. Today we analyzed song lyrics. We looked the stories they tell. I gave my students song lyrics without punctuation. Their task was to place the correct punctuation in the songs. One girl remarked as we were going over them, "it needs a dot." I looked at her puzzled. I thought maybe she meant ellipses (...) because not many people know the term ellipses. No, she meant period. "No, it needs the dot that goes at the end of a sentence. What's that called?" I did my best to add the period and move right along. I didn't want to call attention to it. She is an incredibly bright student and I recognize that command of the English language and grammar does not make one intelligent. There are plenty of people who are skilled writers, but are dumb as all get out. However, my English teacher self cringed on the inside....just a little bit!
I also held my first set of writing conferences. I conducted my conferences like this:
-identified strengths and weaknesses in their writing
- reviewed the final writing test expectations
-asked what I can do to help them better prepare for the test
Most of my students said they are glad they are taking the course (they have the option to just take the test). Many of them have taken the test and failed by one or two points. They said the work we do in here is giving them the skills and confidence they need to do well on the test. They all said the vocabulary quizzes stress them out, but they really like that they're building their vocabulary. They just don't want to be quizzed on it each week. I'm thinking of maybe doing away with the quizzes and using the vocabulary as an activity in class or incorporate it into their writing assignments. We'll see. I told them my goal is not to make the course difficult, but to give them the skills to do well in the next level of Developmental Writing or in Freshman Comp I.
Many of them said they enjoy the class as well. That is a plus, because we meet only once a week on a Saturday morning. I guess I feel good because I know I am a good junior high English teacher, but this solidified that I'm not so bad at teaching college students. While students liking me is not my goal, I am glad they feel the class is worthwhile.