Friday, October 20, 2006
My first week as an English professor was fun, enlightening, and tiring. It looks like I'll have six students altogether. They're all adult students and they're all trying to better themselves, so I have received good reactions to assignments, class participation, etc.
The fun part, though, is the teaching! Tuesday night, I introduced the course and did a little writing exercise with the students. I asked each of them to write a sentence that described their favorite food. Afterward, I took up the sentences and we all had fun suggesting ways to make the sentences better. Then, I gave them a writing assignment and sent them home. The assignment was based on a Langston Hughes essay titled Salvation. It was about him going tot a revival meeting with his aunt when he was 12 years old. It was something of a rite of passage. So, I told my students to read the essay then write a 5-7 sentence paragraph about a change that had occurred in their lives for good or bad.
I got the responses back last night. I skimmed them briefly. One was from a young man whose mother had made him a ward of the state of Hawaii. Another was from a woman who had been through an awful divorce. They were stories they needed to tell.
Last night, I started the class by reading a narrative essay titled Brothers. It was about a man and his brother, how they grew up, grew together, apart, away, etc. We looked for changes that happened as the story progressed then talked about how to make transitions in our own writing. It was tough getting them to see the transitions and changes, but we all learned something.
The last half of class, we looked at writing as a process: prewriting, drafting, revision, editing/proofreading, and publication.
I taught and watched as they finally understood that writing was more thatn putting words to paper. It was cool.
Then, I gave them an assignment to write 3 paragraphs based on a reading about a woman finding her Cherokee heritage.
I told them to write the introduction about their family (member(s) or whole). The body was to be written as an explanation of how their family introduced their heritage. The conclusion is for them,so they can talk about how they plan to carry on that heritage.
I wonder what they young man who was given to Hawaii will write about. I wonder if they know their heritage. Perhaps they'll discover it if they don't. Watching grown people grow is miraculous.