Monday, September 1, 2008

Pre-Semester Reflections...

... as requested by JC and LM.

As an exercise for my Methods class, I was asked to reflect on four questions. Here are my responses (with minor edits and amendments):

1. What do you think you will be naturally good at in this work?
Using my Summer School teaching experience to inform this reflection, I feel that I have a natural, non-judgmental and approachable teaching style that allows me to truly meet student where they're at. Also, it is in my nature to constantly reevaluate policy and protocol to ensure fairness. I work hard to use culturally relevant teaching methods and to create lessons and activities that are engaging beyond the text (connections! connections!).

2. What do you most look forward to teaching in the subject matter that you will teach? Why?
I am most excited to foster personal connections with the texts that we'll be reading. I am a strong believer in active reading, that reading is more than lying on your bed letting words pour over you and I think that it will be a lot of fun to bring world literature to life in the classroom, whether we're debating the fate of Mersault while reading The Stranger or listening to music from South Africa as we read Things Fall Apart. I also look forward to working with the students on media literacy, though I admittedly don't know exactly what that will look like yet.

3. What fears do you have about this experience?
I am afraid that the students will hate me (I imagine one or two will, of course). I am also afraid of the cafeteria (I have always been afraid of cafeterias). I am afraid that I will unintentionally hurt/offend a student, but hope that if that happens we can mend the wound and learn from the experience. Also, (per my dream the other night) I am afraid that I will oversleep on the first day and show up in sweatpants (I am only partially kidding here). I am also acutely aware of what I am wearing, whether my tattoo is showing, if I have the same scarf/shirt/shoes as one of my students. These superficial fears come from conversations with students, which fueled my naturally self-conscious state. 

4. What skills, habits, behaviors, and attitudes do you think you'll have to really work at?
I think that I will need to work to curb my sarcasm as I am sensitive to the ways that can be interpreted. I will need to be vigilant when it comes to time management and studying, reading, grading, planning, etc. in order to ensure that each class (I'm taking or teaching) is getting enough attention. I will also really need work at planning ahead, I like the security that comes with foresight and planning, but sometimes struggle with actually planning. In the same vein, I have already been working to establish strong organizational systems for myself to help me find things, stay focused, feel in control, and even reflect/process.

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