goodbye to Crouse

30 11 2009

owing to the simple, abbreviated weirdness of the schedule at the nursing college, today is already the last day of the semester for my section of ENG 101 here in town up at the hospital complex, and owing to the vagaries of inter-school politics, the course is going to be farmed out to some other institution than mine next year, so it’ll be my last day of teaching there ever. it’s been a bit of a blur for me, really; i think i’ve seen the students with perfect attendance only 12 times total, and most of them didn’t have perfect attendance!

i’ve learned a few things, although like with any writing class, no matter which side of the teacher-desk you’re on (a highly out-dated metaphor, since a) college classrooms don’t have those anyway, and b) pedagogy in the modern era disapproves; when i taught 6th grade, my teacher-desk was in the back of the room facing the window and was only used during classes as a shelf with a handy drawer for storing confiscated tamagachi), the “learning” part takes longer than the length of the semester, so it’s all planting trees for other folks to see.

i’ve learned about scaling it back, and what does and doesn’t work in trying to be a tech-savvy communicator with students who aren’t. i’ve learned about the disconnect between saying something repeatedly and having people nod at you with glazed eyes and the work they turn in which shows you that they didn’t actually hear what you said, at all, glazing or not. i’ve learned that i need more worksheets, because the ones with less school- (or good school) experience don’t know that they don’t know what you’re talking about until they go to apply it and you look over their shoulder and say “wait, no.” i’ve learned that kindness and patience and generosity are sometimes still not enough to fix it, whatever it is (i lost 2 from this batch that only started out at 11; one’s personal issues caught up with her, kidnapped her, and carried her away, and one turned in an entirely bogus stolen internet paper, with some very clever faux-citations, but then dropped out before my report about it made it to the dean’s desk).

and next week, when their final papers come in (electronically saturday night), i’m going to learn about fudging grades, and find out where my lines are. because the nursing college also has this policy that says a C is the bottom limit and anything below that (even a C-) is a failing grade, and some of these dears are not going to make that line of their own accord. not because they haven’t done the work–they’ve busted their butts–but because it’s a lot, and it’s all unfamiliar, and the once-a-week-for-so-few-weeks schedule might work for content and quizzes but is a shitty model for a studio course where learning happens through practice and repetition. they simply haven’t had the chance to learn as much as they should have learned, as much as the rubrics and the grading scale expect. but they have learned, and they’ve tried and they’ve practiced and they’ve gotten better, and it’s going to have to be enough. because in the bigger picture, we need nurses, folks. with or without mastery of the semicolon and/or flawless execution of APA citations.




3 responses

30 11 2009

So maybe you just pass them all and chalk it up to a broken system. Sucks, but… sucks heh.

30 11 2009

amazingly, i’m finding my sympathy significantly dimmed by how only half of them showed up to class today. i’m going to make sure that half passes…

30 11 2009

Well then they made their own beds. Can’t help the unwilling.

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