Saturday, September 3, 2011


Now that I've been an official university professor for an entire week, I am happy to share with you some initial ramblings. This particular university is in love with formality; my Achilles heel, if you will. I fear frequent reprimands in my future. For now, however, I'm livin' it up in the anonymity of a newbie.
I have four Advanced English classes that each meet three times a week. I'm on campus from 7:30 until noon or 8:30 'til 4 (with a two hour lunch break), depending on the day. The worst part is the commute, deserving of its own post. The best part, as always, is the teaching.
Upon arrival, I pick up my attendance list from the bedel (translated: porter) who has his own little office complete with desk, chair and filing cabinet. The entire purpose of his job, as far as I can tell, is to make sure the professors arrive on time and don't have some other poor sap teaching in their place. I am required to take attendance every hour of class (usually two) and turn the list back in at the end of each class. I'm fairly certain attendance was never taken when I was a uni student. Several of my professors didn't even know my name. When does the gradual release of responsibility happen for these kids?
From there, I just have oodles of fun. The vast majority of my students speak and understand at a level that allows me to use the language in a transparent way. This week, I focused on everyone getting to know each other. Read: we told heaps of stories. And laughed. And laughed. Yesterday, to round out the week, I confessed how my 'lil bros and I regularly made Rice Krispie Treats in secret, eating entire batches in one sitting out behind our house, told the true story of saving my brother's life (it does so count, Sam!), and taught 80 wide-eyed city-dwellers how to hypnotize a chicken. Maybe we'll get to some grammar next week.
Unfortunately, I don't think I can justify 14 weeks of "Real Life Stories of a Country-Mouse Oregonian." One of my many weekend goals is to organize some actual lesson plans. This will take a great deal of creativity on my part as my entire list of resources is as follows:
*Hot and humid classroom
Oh the possibilities! Chalk? Really? I turned to my students the first day of class, "Do all of your classrooms have just a chalkboard?"
They all nodded.
"You do know how old school that is, right?"
Blank stares.
Here we go!

1 comment:

  1. Sharing stories is an excellent way to begin! It is the first strategy I introduce in our faculty workshops.