(this picture is the victorious feeling I have of graduating CSUN since this is my last semester)
THE END IS NIGH! Clearly exaggerating, there is no apocalyptic moment (though graduating is both a relief and scary as I now have no anchor or tether to the non-adult world). Additionally, this class’s (which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed) end has come. I enjoyed the structure of the class tremendously, which is to say I took a lot from the activities and lecture/class discussions. As a culminating, last class of the semester class, students can often get a little burnt or worn out. Especially for those in the Student Teaching/English Degree program, this means we have to teach/plan from scratch and on the fly a nearly full class load on top of the work load in our classes. From what I’ve heard, a lot of the seminar classes are filled with huge research papers and an uncompromising amount of work. I am not saying that this class was “easy” or better because it had less work, but I felt it had the RIGHT amount of work for a class that is idealized with future teachers. I felt I was able to throw myself into the assignments, such as the poem writing (which I thought was very silly at first, but once I got into it I ended up having a lot of fun!).
The group projects were also fantastic, because we got to explore the content of the texts while also interacting in a creative way. It’s funny, the assignment my students enjoyed the most and the one where I felt they actually showed off the best content knowledge was our Google Slide group assignment (one was about Patrick Henry’s Speech in the Virginia Convention and the other was about the film Last of the Mohicans which we studied for in the Light Romanticism unit). I was so impressed with their creativity, and they showed me they understood the content quite well. Plus I think they had fun presenting (it was low stakes on the presentation, just wanted them to get experience being in front and speaking to others). A lot of my students are not the best writers, either low skills, IEPs or are English Learners and while we did have a lot of writing assignments, using a different modality to teach sparked a stronger connection to the class/texts/literature. I felt similar in this class. I enjoyed exploring the text to highlight what content I wanted to explore. I loved showing off my google point/power point skills/creativity. And further, I vastly enjoyed talking in front of others (sorry for doing that in class too much though, as a teacher I’ve worked hard to limit how much I talk and allow a much more student led class). On top of that, I never understood the point of a research paper or a heavy paper for the final culminating class. There are no writing skills that are polarizing, this is to say that either you know how to write at this point or you don’t. The essay format give the opportunity to fine tune, but a huge writing assignment seems redundant and unnecessary (this is coming from the educator prospective, not the student prospective). Additionally, student teachers in this class already have a HUGE research writing project, the PACT. This took a solid month to write and put together, and it’s essentially analyzing EVERY aspect of a lesson in great detail. If you fail the PACT, you fail the course, so it’s a very stressful ordeal. In sum, I thought the modalities of the class (the papers, the group presentations, blogs and poems) were a perfect mix and variety to keep my engaged and challenged throughout the semester without feeling overwhelmed for the sake of being overwhelmed.
On a last note, I thought the use of Film was great as most people enjoy movies and had fun to watch, talk and do a project about it but I have to say (and I know, I’m probably a very, very small minority) I would LOVE something on mythology. Maybe as a side choice, or incorporate somewhere else? My dream would be to teach a high school Honors class on world mythology, but again, I know I’m in the minority on that. I also did appreciate the focus on teaching, as every activity gave me practical content or skills that I could bring into the classroom ( like the youtube presentation gave me ideas when we read Shakespeare or plays that my students could act out and film). I saved the poem activity we did in class because I thought it was great for my students to use as warm ups when we do a poetry unit. It’s been a blast in this class, going to miss it, but on to the big, bad, fun, great, exciting real world.
Peace Out CSUN,