09 December 2006

A Teacher For One Week

I've now come through one week of teaching at Metro Community College and at this point i've not yet been chased out of class or booed. My first week of teaching was a bit nervy, but enjoyable. I'm generally a bit awkward, particularly with new people, and these classes were no exception. I tried to bridge the totally scripted/seat of your pants style of presentation for the first class. I'm not very good at either extreme and found an ok place somewhere in the middle. I must say, i was a bit weirded out by how much of an authority my students seem to see me as. I've, somewhat randomly, come up with some things to say, some things to talk about, and they listen (sometimes) and write down (very occasionally) things that i say.

It's not that i think i haven't anything that i think they need or could at least use, but the arbitrariness of what i'm telling them impresses me, sometimes. In my film class, i showed A Trip to the Moon for no other reason other than the fact that it was a short film i could lay hands on. I had literally never seen it before when we all watched it together in class, which i know is irresponsible (my VCR at home seems to not function any longer), but i had some sort of pedagogic sense behind it. I thought, if we were all just seeing it, we could share initial reactions in a very gutty, reflexive way, but it's just so weird. I surely know a lot more about movies than they do, but for them to write things down that i'm saying... that just ain't right.

Also, on my first day of film class i noticed that my book was a wholly different color than that of most of the students. At first i had a faux-oh-n0 moment thinking that a new edition had come out. I checked the nearest student's copy, which happened to by the 10th edition of an entirely different book. That wasn't good, as i'd planned an entire syllabus based on my book and (after consulting the department and realize that i am a peon) now i have to change it all over to this other book, that i've never read. But, whatever.

The other problem, or at least concern, i feel like i'm running up against is that i may not be thinking of these students as they actually are. The first day of film class i talked about Stan Brakhage, and while i haven't brought it up yet, i'm going to very soon introduce the concept of 'warrant' to my Comp classes. I worry that i may be thinking of these students as if they were University of Chicago students (or even Luther kids), but they're beginning community college students, some of whom are in very job specific programs, not really wanting to write papers (or understand the work of the filmic object in the world). I think there's something to the idea of talking up to people, but perhaps i'm just talking at them...

I dunno. I worry, sometimes, that Chicago really spoiled me. In any case, the students are mine, for now at least. I survived my first week, my first department meeting, and an assassination attempt (more on that later)...

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