||[May. 13th, 2004|11:15 pm]
One of my students, a self-described honors college dropout, won't speak in class and almost dropped out of it until I told her I'd help her stay in. She's only a year younger than I am (not that she knows that) and I just want to say, "you've been through the ringer schoolwise; transferring, switching colleges, majors, etc. so just take a pass on this silly laboratory for Freshman thought." But that's not fair to the other students and of course I didn't do it. I meant to ask her to speak in class and I forgot. When she turns in her mid-term self-eval maybe. . . .
A large number of my students have dropped this term. I want to say disappeared, cause that's what happens on my end. It's a point of pride to lose students in comp to the extent that you have fewer papers to grade. (That sounds awful--it's more like a gallows humor thing I think.) Anyway, I've been thinking about how I don't do much writing about my class on the blog. I do a lot of writing in my daily life but I still have the sense that writing makes something real and permanent and the fact is. . . I'm terrified. I love teaching and I love working with my indivdual students but sometimes just getting through a day knowing I have to teach can be so rough. I hate it when I'm cajoling, coaxing, baiting them and I get frustrated because I don't have time to prepare the way I want, don't aim things at them the right way, don't handle discussions the way I'd like to. . . I've said more than once that I'm REALLY tired of being both a teacher and a student because it's too hard but that can't quite be true because I believe that they're on the same continuum, that they're not really that different. It's just hard to do both in the same place maybe, to juggle the expectations.
But I think I don't write a lot about my students because I'm ashamed of my shortcomings. I get out of class and I try to forget it instantly sometimes, yet I feel like I'm always about to teach again. The kids are always calling me on the fact that I say tomorrow, we're going to. . . and not, wednesday or friday we're going to. . . their lives are very divided by MWF/TR schedule and mine just isn't anymore. It's immediate; I'm always there. I simultaneiously feel like I put too much time into my class and not enough. How is that possible?!
I got out of theater as a job/vocation because I felt like I was just winging it a lot of the time and it frustrated me that people bought it. I wasn't satisfied and I didn't seem to find anyone that would challenge me in terms of learning how to do it. When I finally did take a class that challenged me, it was a great relief because I could see that it took a lot of work to do it with integrity and I could see it was work I did not want to do. Maybe I'm scared of that happening with teaching; as much as I profess to want to teach 'on the margins' and push away the idea of being trained (god forbid) or certified, perhaps it's all just a sham and I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop, where I'll see that I have to move on.
My father, a huge influence on me, has a trait that drives me crazy. He refuses to engage in things that he can't do well or expertly and it narrows his enjoyment of things and produces major anxiety. I have been determined for a long time to NOT be like that but it is hard.
Maybe the blog form inspires confession because you feel like you're not really talking to others . . .
I want to write more about bell's book but am trashed from staying up late to work on my thesis all week. (Turned a draft in today--hooray!!!) When I hang out with you all, I always feel charged up and excited about teaching, so that confuses me more. (Maybe I'm just made for theory, ha ha!) Anyway, I missed you very much this week and I'm looking forward to class tomorrow.