enjoying the warm, sunny light past the tunnel

You know at the end of the Breakfast Club, when Brian (Anthony Michael Hall) gives himself a friendly punch on the arm after writing their ‘breaking stereotype’ transcendent essay?  Yea, well, last night was kind of like that.

At the outset I was a bit nervous; still, once we settled in and we started interacting as a class, I was much more at ease.  Candidly, the best feedback I received was actually privately afterwards from fellow friends who were in ENGH615, Teaching Composition, with me.  They noted a positive difference and improvement from my last lesson.  I’ve been on a cloud ever since.  Really, that feedback meant the world to me. Whew, I did it.  I have a ‘teacher Christine’ who, apparently, is pretty ok!

As for the content itself, randomly earlier this semester Dr. Sample noted, sometimes your favorite texts aren’t ‘teachable texts’ (or something to that effect).  Frankly, last night was a relatively, risk-free test of that.  I was genuinely unsure if ‘Winter in the Air,’ which I find completely charming, could be taught.   I was pleasantly surprised the short story not only could be, but it could unravel much easier than I imagined.  Folks had the same initial, ‘huh, interesting’ and dense reaction I had.  (Which mad props to Alicia for acknowledging the difficulty in her lesson; I wish I had done that).  But if scaffolded properly and as a complement to ‘A Winter’s Tale,’ Warner’s piece could really work not only as an interesting story, but as vehicle to many interpretative strategies.

My regrets: slow down; I should have reiterated the directions again and asked if there were any questions like Meghan did—hat tip to her for being clear, receptive, and on top of those friendly classroom practices.

Sidebar: I’m always very self-conscious of my lesson plans; I’m afraid if anybody ever looked at them, they wouldn’t see what they’re supposed to.  I construct basic outlines for class, with the brunt of the material being questions.  While, I can’t anticipate how the conversation will go or how students respond, in the end, thankfully, the questions always lead to engaging discussion.  And with each success, last night included, I become more confident in my hap-hazard, rundown, lets-fill-in-the-blanks-together method.

My pat on the back: steering and weaving students’ comments into an effective discussion.  I feel confident, if given the time, we would have arrived somewhere – a means to an enlightening end.

Thanks to everybody for a solid, thought provoking last semester.