Thursday, December 17, 2009
Wait and See
I've got one class going pretty smoothly. After many quarters, each one with alterations and improvements, I've gotten comfortable, with few surprises. I've taught my other class three times - should be enough time to make changes. But this one has doubled in size each quarter. Behaviors that worked for a few people don't work for a couple dozen. This quarter especially, I'm dealing with a winter break that eats up much of our class time. I made concessions to the syllabus. Adjusted expectations. While I consider this to be one of my strong suits - my flexibility and my ability to reflect and adapt - I think I've come across this quarter much weaker. And so today, when much of the class was absent due to sickness, job interviews, and omigodihaveabigtesttomorrow ("let's skip English to study!") I see the result of my lax attitude.
I give weekly quizzes in the first class, as soon as class begins. This results in great attendance as well as punctuality, not to mention the fact that students get immediate feedback on how they're doing. I think next quarter I'll start doing the same thing in the second class. It's literature, so the quizzes will be over the readings.