I read about the seven principles to follow as a good teacher (you can look them up here), which are all great principles, but with one problem that one of my classmates brought up a couple of weeks ago, which is that as a graduate student taking three classes and tyring to find call for papers and write for those cfp, sometimes it is very difficult to have that (1st principle) face time with students, and it is sometimes hard to give feedback in a “timely” manner. Also, getting paid what I get paid to do what I do– well, it is hard to fulfill all of those principles all of the time. Of course, I try, but it seem overwhelming to teach the way I would like to teach and still keep up with all my grad classes and responsibilities.

Also, I’m all for learning as a team effort (it is in a community, discussing ideas with friends and professors that I was able to write my thesis), but at the undergraduate level, at times, one person is doing all the work and the rest of the group just sits back.

This folds into the quiet students question, I believe, along with issues I am working on as a fairly new instructor. I am trying to find the time to truly engage students and to have students engage with each other. Sometimes, I find this hard when students don’t talk in the classroom (which, thanks to the article, now I see isn’t as bad a situation as I thought it was), but still makes me wonder sometimes if students aren’t talking because I am a bad teacher. I did find this, and I hope to use some if it when I can.

The last piece (​Teaching Composition: Elbow, Ranking, Evaluating, and Liking: Sorting out Three Forms of Judgment pg. 387-406) was my favorite, and I really like the way one of my classmates explains it: “One interesting idea I gained from Berthoff is the uselesslness of asking students “What does this mean?” Instead of asking questions that merely ask what something is, we should be asking them to think about the forms a certain writer uses and how he or she achieves meaning through his or her use of language​”

I told my students the first day that I was going to make them all little philosophers in the true sense of the word: lovers of wisdom. Now as I start the ad analysis essay, this is perfectly stated. The question is not what does something mean, but how does it mean. To illustrate how composition and philosophy and their own majors intertwine, I plan on maybe showing them this:

I hope this will get them thinking of “how” something means, not what it means. And after the readings for the bibliography, hopefully they are already thinking about how “facts” change.