Fall Term Reflections

Well, writing instructors often make their students write self reflections at the end of the term (Such as,  How many hours did you spend on this class each week? Which of the course outcomes do you think you’ve best met and why?; and, the one they all, rightfully,  groan at, If you were to revise this essay once more, what would you change and why?), so I should be forced to do the same.  Keeping in mind the Sunday night blues, I’ll focus on the strengths/positives of the term:

  • The analysis of a cultural trend assignment was a great success: I actually enjoyed reading those student essays this term.  I can see ways of revising the assignment for clarity and to prevent some wrong turns, but overall, I think it works. 
  • Spending more time having students practice using sources in conversation with each other before doing their researched essays definitely paid off for most students.  I need to develop these brief exercises more, but I was very pleased with the outcome.
  • The Food Fiction  class final projects are a pleasure to read. Students reported on their work during the final where we also ate food that everyone brought to class, food that reflected the work they chose to write about (for the most part: (fried) green tomatoes are not in season in December).  Most students chose the “Cliff Notes/Spark Notes” option where they create a booklet that gives an overview of the novel (analysis of the elements, including pictures of the setting, historical overview, etc); they select two published critical reviews to include in the booklet, after which they compare and respond to them.  One student created what looks like an old cookbook, burnt a bit from a fire, in her Cliff/Sparksnotes on Like Water For Chocolate
  • Although I spent endless hours in preparation, the Oprah’s Book Club speech went well, I thought.  I’m not used to speaking in front of 90 plus people, but really my palms were not too sweaty (though I’m sure my hands were shaking). At the gym this morning I saw one of the community leaders who attended at the presentation and he not only remembered me (it’s not like I look the same at the gym as I do all dressed up to present) but his comments reflected a real engagement with my talk.  A success, I think.

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