Thursday, April 28, 2005

better than junior high gym classes

Finally got back to the YMCA this morning. Though I never look forward to working out (the way Amelia really does) I always feel better once I go. It's been far too long, too, what with finishing papers and all, so I'm looking forward to getting back in the habit. I've gone back, and that's the hardest part. Now I just have to keep a regular schedule going, which should be easy since I'll take Amelia to work at 7:00 every morning while I'm out of school. I find that if I wait until the afternoon, I'm much less likely to go. Gotta get it done fast and early.

In completely unrelated news, I think I had a pretty good response from my class yesterday. I handed out the teacher evaluations (always slightly nerve-wracking), and then had them come next door to pick up their papers (I can't be in the room while they do the evaluations, and I surely wasn't going to give them their grades right before they evaluated me. I'm crazy, but not stupid). Afterword, everyone stuck around to chat a little while they looked at their papers, which is rare. But one of them, who has struggled with putting effort into his papers beyond one night, finally turned in a paper I could tell he cared about (gun control, he's a hunter, you do the math). It wasn't great (a B-), but it was a big step forward for him, so I told him I was pleased and could tell he had worked on it. He was genuinely happy and proud of his B-. Another student, one who dropped out of high school and is finally coming back, and whose father died this semester, told me he's planning on becoming an English major. Now, I'm not so vain as to think it was all my influence, but I like to think I was at least a positive influence in that decision. It was just a good after-class five minutes, and it made me feel good about teaching. I like that.

Not that everything about teaching is good. I caught one of my students plagiarizing, which is never good. He wasn't in class yesterday, but isn't he going to be surprised on the last day of class to find out he failed a paper and won't get better than a C in this class. I think students must think we're morons. Did he think I wouldn't notice that suddenly his paper became error-free and used words like 'indigent' and 'state budget monies' when befor he couldn't use the word 'bias' correctly? It makes me mad and causes me to lose any sympathy I might have for his situation. Don't have time to write it by the due date? Turn it in late, take the penalty, and let's move on. Don't plagiarize and fail the paper completely!

Well, teaching has its ups and downs. But I like it, and it makes me think that I'm making the right choice to leave after my MA and focus on teaching.

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