Friday, June 06, 2014

What Have I Been DOING?

Lots.  Just not blogging.

Summer I session started on June 2, which means I'm teaching two Comp II classes back to back, starting at the punishing hour of 8:00 and going on until 1:00 in the afternoon, not counting office hours -- office hours add another two hours/day to that.  (I do them from 6.30-8:00 and 1:00-1.30.)

On the one hand, teaching Comp II is pleasant because it's all about instructing students in the skills of evaluating sources and arguments, something very few of them have had any instruction in at all before this class -- so they love it.  There's also some work in putting together their own arguments and how to support them with actual sources, and a little bit on how to write.

But (and I know this goes against received wisdom) most students coming into the university these days already know how to write pretty well.  At least here in Arkansas (and I have a really hard time believing we're doing it that much better than other states), our middle and high schools produce students, for the most part, who can construct good sentences and good paragraphs.  Most of them even know the rudiments of grammar, though they occasionally slip up.  But it is nothing to what I saw when I began teaching 25 years ago.

So when I'm teaching Comp II, I am actually teaching what the class says I should be teaching -- the art of evaluating sources and arguments, the art of constructing their own arguments, the understanding of when and why to provide documentation of sources, all the tools of academic writing.

So, as I said, that part is pleasant.

The less pleasant part is that I have to read and comment on work put out by 29 students (20 in one class, 9 in the other) every day, and at least occasionally, large quantities of that work.  It's...labor intensive.

And I have to prep to teach, every day, because summer classes meet every day.

Except Friday.  Yay for Friday!

So: I'm doing that.  And I've been editing for Crossed Genres' next issue.  And I've been writing.  And my kid is getting ready to take some exams, dealing with her entrance into high school in the fall, so I'm working with her Extreme Studying.  (Among other things, she has to take and pass exams in Physical Science, Algebra I, and Civics.  Not exactly easy exams, either.)

My point, and I do have one: I might have a week or two this summer when I'll be able to breath.

Can't say when yet.

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