Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Teaching Post

I've been teaching a "transitional" class this summer. Transitional is what we used to call remedial English back when I started this gig.

I've been teaching Comp pretty much non-stop for well over 25 years (I just did the math, and yes, well over), but I haven't taught remedial English since I was a Visiting Assistant Professor in Idaho. The university I taught at in North Carolina just didn't offer it -- though it needed it badly -- and when I started here in the Fort, all the remedial classes, which were called something else then (I can't remember what), were in separate department.

But a couple semesters go, that department was dissolved, and the Transitional classes became part of their departments -- transitional math with the math department, in other words, and Transitional College Writing with the English department.

All of which is a long way of saying that I am teaching remedial English for the first time in nearly 20 years, and liking it a great deal.

It may be because this is a summer class. All my students are either older students or immigrants. None of them are here because their parents signed them up for the class, in other words. They show up with the assignments done, ready to work. That's just so pleasant.

Also, despite the class, they are both engaged and fairly literate, if not uniformly well-read.

Mind you, some of them are also well-read. One of them quoted Plato at me today! It was great. We had a sidebar about The Republic together before returning to the less-engaging question of how to build an essay map.

Beyond all this, however, almost all of them are here to learn. When I told them that the arguments in their essays had to be supported with sources, and that those sources had to be valid sources, they took notes on what a valid source was. Not one of them turned in an essay with anything other than valid sources supporting their claims.

One of them explained to me that they'd had to change their topic. "I thought this," they said, "but when I tried to find valid sources to support it, I couldn't. So I knew it couldn't be supported. So I changed my thesis to this."

I just nodded seriously and told them they'd done a good job. But in my head?


delagar said...

So how old were you when you learned to embed gifs in a text? I was today years old.

nicoleandmaggie said...

That's wonderful!

JaneB said...

I do enjoy teaching slightly mature students - ones who care about doing well and expect that that will take some effort on their part, that it is not just a gift I can give or withhold that is deserved because of their innate merit or promise or whatever.

Bardiac said...

Teaching adults of whatever age truly is a delight! I'm so glad you're enjoying this class!

Fie upon this quiet life! said...

I used to love teaching adult classes. They took the classes so much more seriously. Plus, they had some really amazing life stories that they shared and made me feel like life didn't end at 30, or 40, or 50 -- whatever. It was good.

As I start to look for job this fall, maybe I should keep my eyes open for adult teaching. It's so much nicer than trying to convince an 18-22 year old that what you do isn't stupid bullshit.