Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Class update...

Ethics -- I kind of doubt they are doing the reading at this point, but we are having decent discussions about the economic justice topic. Next time we'll discuss "Nickle and Dimed", which should be interesting, especially since the wife of one of my students runs her own house cleaning business.

Side note: My student's wife works in the area we'll be moving to in August -- YEA! I was a bit iffy on the last cleaner, as she didn't do some things I thought were basic and that I did when I was cleaning houses -- like make the bed, clean ceiling fans and wipe the inside of the fridge door.... and she was coming from across town, so it wasn't convenint for her AND her boss was very difficult to deal with on the phone. I was never sure it wasn't a "Merry Maids" kind of situaiton -- but, I know that my student's wife is a genuine small business and that she pays her employees 45% of what she bids to clean the place. I also like that she bids on the job and doesn't charge by the hour, so whether or not someone is a slow cleaner doesn't change what I get done.

Logic -- Sometimes students just go beyond what you think they'll do. This group of 10 may be the first group to get almost all As in the class. The class started at 12, 2 students droped the class, but were doing fine when then did -- so who knows why they left... Nine of the The remaining ten are really getting it. The outlier seems to be trying hard, but I think some cognitive and language issues are making it really hard. The other Nine are doing at least the medium to difficult problems in the most advanced section.

I'm really proud of them -- especially a girl I'll call M. M didn't get it, really, really, really didn't get it. She's one of those nice, social and funny people who hasn't disciplined her thinking and wasn't used to doing so. In the past couple of weeks she's tried very hard to understand the material, having done poorly on a couple of quizzes, and she actually got it. In the last few class periods she's been the one telling me how to solve the problems we are working on, she's come up with intersting and innovative solutions and generally she's got it.

Even Miss R -- (i.e. Miss Resistent) is getting into it and solving problems. She asks excellent questions and gets to the heart of what she doesn't understand when she asks them. I think I like her style of student and I think as an undergrad I was like her, but a bit less vocal about not having done the homework :).

It is nice to be near the end of the teaching marathon. I realized today that I haven't had a real break since before our debate tournament trip to Mountain State in January -- as Spring Break was spent doing two debate nationals... So, I'm ready for some summertime off.

Of course, we'll be moving in August-- but that is kind of soothing in comparison. I'm in control and it is just putting stuff in boxes or getting rid of stuff. It isn't trying to drive complex theoretical material into the minds of sleepy undergrads -- I'll go back to that from a new apartment :).


Miss Kitty said...

Very interesting post. I've found that English Comp classes often go the same way.

I've been thrown into teaching an "Intro to Ethics" class by the dean of Small Military College. This is the last quarter the class will be offered, so I get the "honor" of doing it. (The accreditation board wants someone with a philosophy degree to teach it, which makes a LOT more sense to me than having an ENGLISH PROF teach it. But I needed the money and have been doubling up on my reading for the class.)

Any advice on exercises and problems? It's an all-day class that meets for three Saturdays. I'm thinking of a field trip of some sort, perhaps to a homeless shelter, nursing home, or the Humane Society, that would make students really think about ethical matters. Might this work?

Miss Kitty said...

Thanks for your help, ITPF. I think I'll assign some readings from Nickel and Dimed and perhaps watch a couple films...how does Roger and Me sound? Maybe Bowling for Columbine? To Kill a Mockingbird? Can you suggest any PBS "Frontline" specials?

Sorry. I've been hiding under a rock when it comes to movies and shows. Don't get out much or watch much TV, evidently to my detriment.

timna said...

We're on Nickel and Dimed this week. One more week to go.