Sunday, September 9, 2012

Week three

For me, a semester really has to get into full swing before I feel like I'm “learning” anything. For the first month or so, I'm always caught in this bizarre transition period where I'm caught between summer and school. I'm thinking, “I have to read this article and write 500 words and also finish Beowulf and read the Bible and I'm already thinking about finals?! Two weeks ago, I was at the zoo!” There is, of course, a chance that I am making it harder on myself than it really needs to be.

However, despite my nostalgia for that day at the zoo, and my lingering summer (mental) fog, I am learning things. (I'm kind of making it sound like I'm learning against my will.) For instance, I was fascinated the other day to hear that long sentences are not necessarily a bad thing in writing, so long as they contribute to sentence variety. One of the issues I see in my own writing (and this could just be me) is that I do not really have enough sentence variety. My sentences are long, my paragraphs are long, my papers are long. I suppose that no one has ever really complained about it, but it's something I am trying to work on nonetheless. As a high school student, my stuff was too long; as a college student, it's way too long. I can only imagine what will happen when I get into grad school.

In another vein, I also appreciate how much we emphasize ways to work around having to use worksheets and drills with students. I would like to implement these practices on my future classroom, since I have yet to meet someone who was helped by worksheets. For example, I tutored a young girl last year whose teacher's biggest learning aids were worksheets. I helped her work through these, and she learned basically nothing from them. Unfortunately, the organization for which I was working also relied heavily on worksheets, which I felt was indicative of their lack of creativity. For the most part, the worksheets were not even theirs; they had been pulled from workbooks and off of the internet.

I look forward to moving further into theoretical and more complex concepts later in the semester; for example, the work we're going to be doing in October looks to be quite interesting, particularly because I am not terribly well-versed in things like noun absolutes. I also look forward to continuing to learn things I can bring to my future classroom, though I do hope that, as I intend to teach high school, students will know how to correctly use apostrophes by then. I suppose if they don't, then I will have a whole arsenal of things with which to teach them. I also plan to continue with my original goals of not interrupting myself so much in writing. For instance: I was going to previously put a dash after the word “writing” and start talking about the excessive amount of parentheses in this post, but I stopped myself!

1 comment:

  1. yup, you also have lots of sentence type variety, measured in structural varieties, not just length. And I hate to tell you: you're going to have to teach apostrophe use your entire career, no matter what grade level. Which should tell you that students aren't at fault; it's the conventions of apostrophe use! I predict, though, that apostrophes may be obsolete in your lifetime, thanks to texting.
    p.s. I love your prose style--and your sense of humor. You're always so much fun to read!