I had a pretty bad day.
It closed out a pretty difficult month and ushered in a really stressful week, if that helps with the context any.
I had the very worst classroom observation of my teaching career today, partly because the observer, who was passionately angry about my class, was right about a lot of things. I’m trying to mediate a substantial part of my class in digital space. I’ve never done it before, but I’m interested in how it might work, and so I’ve put all the course readings online, and students are turning in all their work digitally. They are co-creating class documents and commenting on each others’ drafts using google docs. The result of these decisions is that students use their laptops in class – which I don’t have a problem with. My observer was really concerned about their lack of connection to each other, about the students who were toggling between Facebook, sports videos, and class notes, and their lack of focus on me. I used a computer to project an agenda and walk them through the Purdue Owl site, and she was concerned that I spent too much time looking at my screen as well. She struggled to come up with even a single good thing to say.
So that was not good.
I have had concerns about the lack of class discussion/community, but for the length of this second paper (2 weeks), we haven’t really been reading texts in common to discuss. “Discussion” has been me trying to elicit answers from them that I already know – the “guess what I’m thinking” game, which I usually avoid. Next week we begin a text analysis paper, which is a more familiar mode for me, and I expect class discussions to pick up. Right now, I’m pretty discouraged.
I’m behind on all the reading, and I feel like everything I’ve turned in so far has not been up to standard – usually for standards that have not been expressed, so I don’t know how I could possibly know whether I am up to standard or not. (Grad school is tricky that way.) And then I had this horrible day that has pretty much called into question the entirety of my teaching experience/expertise and has certainly lowered my motivation to try new things in the classroom, and I am just so freakin’ tired. I have a short assignment due tomorrow, another classroom observation on Wednesday, and a presentation on Thursday. I’m ready for this week to end.
Merlin had a seizure at school today. I missed the call because my phone was off as I was walking home. They called William and then Linda, who texted us both. I got the news within six minutes of the original call, but I felt lousy for missing it anyway. William picked her up, and she’s fine, and I am going to bed at 10:15 instead of 1:15 so that I can get up in the morning and try this again.