Thursday, September 06, 2007


Much to my surprise when I got the syllabus for my Literature of American Minorities class my professor pointed out the days she would be out of town--also knows as "the days Emily will teach class." I suppose this is what it means to be a grad student.

So today I taught class. We finished discussing Louise Erdrich's Love Medicine and began discussion of Sherman Alexi's This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona. I also had to give a quiz. Writing the quiz was hard. I wanted to make sure they read but I didn't want to ask anything too obscure. Knowing I had to teach the text I read it a bazillion times and sort of lost touch with how much a first-time reader would comprehend and remember.

There were two problems with the quiz. Okay, wait--there was ONE problem with the quiz. Question nine was too vague. There were two problems with the ANSWERS to the quiz. The movie Smoke Signals is based on the story by Alexi. I asked what a character looked like because there was a very brief, specific description (broken teeth, ratty braids). People wrote things like "he wore lots of denim" (which made me laugh out loud) or "he was a nerd." I think they are describing the character's portrayal in the film. Boo.

The other problem was what these students did when they didn't know the answer. Some people made crazy stuff up in hopes that they just might hit the jackpot and get it right. But my favorite thing at least three people (in a class of 12) wrote as an answer to a quiz questions was "n/a" or "not applicable."

WHAT? "I don't know"? Maybe. Blank? fine. But "not applicable"?!

I have two responses.

1. Oh, so you think this question doesn't apply to you? Everyone else has to answer it but not you?
2. Is this an indictment of my quiz? You don't think the question applies to the text you just read?
I was so amused.
School is going great. It's starting to get a little nutty. Work is picking up. I'm teaching one guy to type. I edit about 6 papers a day (that will definitely increase). I teach two sections of a Learning Lab twice a week. And today I taught my lit class.
Right now I am going to read my Educational Psychology text so that after the kids are in bed, Paul and I can watch Blades of Glory. See? I really am a college student.


jill said...

Oh my gosh--I feel like we're back in Mollie Sandock's class! I hope that one of your students emails you about their virtue!

You are such a rock star, Em, and I am just a little breathlessly awed by how much you have on your plate. Go, You!!


emdunbar said...

Carey commented that it sounds more like I am a seventh grader--I assume because of my movie-watching--which is a very, very, valid point. I think I "accidentally" deleted the comment though. :) So I thought I'd quote her here.

Steven said...

Who's your lit professor? Karrie will get a kick out of this too. Sounds like you are fitting in nicely at HC -- hope you are liking The Learning Center with it's interesting people (from director to freshmen students).

emdunbar said...

Jill, if I'm half as cool as Mollie Sandock, I'll be stoked. I sort of conned myself into thinking this was going to be easy during the first two weeks, now I'm started to feel the brunt of my "full plate." Yikes.

Steve, I have Constance Malloy for Literature of American Minority Literature. And, so far, HC is fantastic. I think my profs are great (Contance, Dr. Locke and Dr. Rempp) and I feel like I fit in very well at the Learning Center. People seem to love it or hate it down there and so far I'm in the love category.

kimbie said...

welcome to the club.

emdunbar said...

How GREAT is it that Kimbie is commenting on my blog?!? I love it. Hi, Kimbie.