Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Frustrations

My first week and a half of teaching have been both rewarding and frustrating. I have some great students and am excited about the classes. The Comp. class I have of course taught many times before but am always tweeking, and this semester am including the archives for the first time. I'm thrilled to be doing Art, Politics and Protest class for the first time.

On the other hand, as it seems happens every semester, there have been a number of logistical frustrations. The bookstore didn't fill the order for my composition class. The projector in one of my classrooms was broken and the backup didn't arrive. I had hoped to do a laptop order on a few days but didn't realize you can't do this in the C building. It seems these are not only personal frustrations but very often make it difficult to present a clean, organized class to students in the opening weeks of class.

Part of the challenge is rooted in the computer lab issue. When I teach a cluster, I ask for a computer lab one day a week - two hours out of six. That seems like the perfect ratio for me. In a four or three hour stand alone class, I'm reluctant to give up the limited time that we have - I like talking, having them talk. The blogs seems like a supplement - it doesn't take the place of a discussion that gives them a real handle on the readings/assignments before they do their thoughts.

As a result of all this, they're setting up their blogs outside of class, and we're off to a bit of a slower start than some of you all. However, I'm still excited about the work we'll be doing & exchanging ideas.

My course blogs are:

http://www.thesquattingtoadlaguardia.blogspot.com/ (Composition with a Work theme)

http://artpoliticsprotestlaguardia.blogspot.com/ (Art Politics, Protest)

Each will have student blogs linked as they get set up. Feel free to comment, link, and so forth.

6 comments:

  1. That was my experience last semester--though I had no, zero, zippo, smart classrooms and labs. Just chalk and moi. However, for some strange reason that was the semester that I really got the idea to connect my classes online. I'd send them down to B333 with specific tasks and goals to accomplish and a time limit and they just took to it. I hope your class goes more smoothly.

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  4. It is hard to present a "coherent" front when our situations keep changing - I am struggling with 4-5 students who are falling further and further behind because they can't set up a blog, and they are absent all the time/ added a week late. It is frustrating.

    I didn't know there were no laptop labs in the C building - That's rediculous!!!!!

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  5. Hope everything starts running more smoothly for you (and us all) in the next few weeks.

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  6. I'm in a similar situation with my Ethics of Food cluster: no lab, smart classrooms only two out of three days. Fortunately, we meet once a week in the E building, so I was able to get a standing order for the Media Center's portable laptop lab. However, our experience with them has been spotty, and a number of my students have voiced frustration over our lack of access to better facilities.

    On the up side, most of the students were able to set up their blogs on their own; a few students who were struggling were able to get up to speed after a quick after-class session with me. We now have *almost* a full complement of blogs, and I think the remaining students will get it together when they get their first grades today and find out that not blogging = not turning in the assignment.

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