Sunday, March 31, 2013

It's the Night Before School Begins: Spring Quarter

So this is not what happens in my classroom. I tend to like a bit of chaos where students talk in small groups and present on projects of their own making. The quarter begins tomorrow and I am nervous and not yet fully prepared. I wish I had new shoes to wear or at least a new scarf. I like scarves.

There is so much potential in the first week of a new quarter --- and so much fear. Students are doing their best to find new rooms, new books, and forge new identities. Professors are trying to send clear signals that they mean business --- and yet are also approachable, fun, and even human.

We are strangers setting off on a cruise together. My job is to steer the craft and keep my eye out for storms. I also need to enstill confidence in the crew --- they have to know that they have what it takes to stay afloat. Every quarter I hope to be the best writing (and film) instructor I can be; each quarter there are days when I succeed and days when I fail.

If there is one thing that I want my students to learn this quarter it's that writing is a way to better understand oneself and the world; that it is truly magical to construct a scaffold of words to live within.  

How can I relay that writing is a skill that can change their lives? That good writing allows them to leap far beyond self-imposed boundaries or the socio-economic limitations they feel acutely?

Wish me luck.

7 comments:

  1. Well, you are one of the best teachers I've ever had and it's a pretty short list. They are lucky to have you.

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    1. Thank you, Deborah,

      Your confidence in my teaching means the world to me tonight; thank you for such generous words. I need them and am humbled by them.

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  2. I love this post! On the eve of my own classes beginning--one on the "architectural fragment" which borrows heavily on literature (Maggie Nelson is a current crush). I am so inspired and galvanized by this beautiful and vulnerable quote. Thank you so much. I wish I had read it two days ago, I'd have mailed you a new scarf! Much love.

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    1. Thank you, Nora: best of luck with your sailing ship! I love Maggie Nelson's book about her aunt's murder. Can't think of the name at the moment -- but I loved it. And thanks for the new scarf sentiment!

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  3. Hope it was a good first day, Susan. I imagine it was. I was also struck by the need for a scarf. i remember you suggesting I get a few before my first teaching job in Bogota. They still do make all the difference!

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    1. So lovely to see you here! Yes, it was a good first day. Now to continue the positive energy for the next 12 weeks. Remember all our talks about "teaching" at the Ed School? Remember meeting Elliot Wigginton and visiting the cool principal "Gloria" at the Boston public school? Thank you again for letting me use your Mac computer -- alone in your apartment. Such good memories of that year of learning.

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  4. ooops... weird they called me Ms. Bandler

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