Sunday, October 7, 2007

Questions to ponder...

What I love about this class is how much it gets me thinking, especially in those futuristic terms of “when I have my class…” But at the same time, this class has raised so many questions, some of which might not be answerable necessarily.

Writing has always been something I love doing—literally my whole life. I have been writing stories and journaling about my day for as long as I can remember. My parents tell me that even before I could actually write words or make coherent sentences, I used to write “stories” that I would read to them. I knew exactly what was in my head, and I knew exactly how I wanted to write it down. Ever since I started school, English has always been my favorite subject. I didn’t come to love reading or writing because of a teacher. I just always loved it. There have certainly been teachers that could have quenched that passion in me, but for the most part, I have never encountered an English class that I didn’t (eventually) get something out of. (I say eventually, because sometimes I didn’t appreciate the work I learned in a class until it was over.) How do I give/make/offer someone that same passion? More importantly, how do I teach a skill that I find mostly inherent? And it gets even more complicated considering 99% of the students I will someday stand before in Eng 1301 do not even want/care to write. How do I make it important to them? Is it possible to love English too much to be able to teach it?

I also wonder about other areas, which are more quantitative. I think even as a DI, I wonder what emphasis to put on “correctness.” I love grammar. And by love, I mean I literally love everything about it. I love the structure, the rules, the prescriptive, the descriptive. I love diagramming sentences and memorizing grammatical formulas. I love it all. But I also recognize that I am probably one of 10 people who love grammar so much. I think the most recent thing I’ve learned about “correctness,” in terms of what will probably become part of my teaching philosophy, is the importance of revision. My expectations for a first draft, second draft, third draft, or final draft will probably vary greatly. But when grammar does become more important, how do I teach it? Given the knowledge I now have—that students don’t learn grammar 2 or 4—what is the point of teaching it at all? How much does it matter? I still stand firm that it does matter. But how much? A little? A lot? I don’t know.

I think that I’ve raised enough questions for today. So, that’s all for now.
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