As expected, I’ve gone through a steep learning curve this semester. I won some battles: I managed to successfully complete the semester with the amount of workload that I had. My students at campus #2 wanted to sign up for my class next semester. I did not go easy on them, so this was a good sign. And, after submitting my electronic grades to the English Chair at campus #2, he informed me that I could have a Comp 2 class next semester because enrollment was higher than expected. I had to cancel one class at the community college (developmental writing) that I so desperately accepted after the chairs reneged on the Business Writing class, but this is how the game of adjuncts goes. Schedules change. I signed no contracts.
I did lose other battles, though: I did not receive good feedback from my Honors Freshman Composition students at campus #1. Perhaps I’d expected too much out of them, and I did not offer enough guidelines or lectures. As per Honors College tradition, these classes are “collaborative” as opposed to “lecture-based.” Essentially, they read the material and provided a “reader’s response,” and we discussed relevant points in class. Additionally, I overestimated their knowledge of grammar, and I had to essentially provide one-on-one consultations about mechanics. I was advised by the Writing Director that I should probably add an element of “teacher input” to make the experience for them more meaningful, as they tend to miss the importance of collaborative learning.
Another issue was grading. I did not do much to quell their anxieties about what grades they were to receive. Because the essays at the end of the semester (Critical Analysis and Research) were weighed heavier, I felt that giving mid-term grades would be misleading. But these students did not do particularly well on their Persuasive or Critical Analysis, so many of them were worried about their final grades. I should have emphasized that other work, such as freewrites, reader’s responses, group work, workshops, and participation would help boost their grades, given that they completed these successfully.
One class out of 5 is not bad. I’m teaching two sections of Honors Freshman Comp next semester, so I have some work to do in re-designing the syllabus/course.
So far I have 3 preps for the spring semester: Honors Freshman Comp, Comp 2, and Technical Writing. I’m considering adding a 4th, as I have an interview at another private university (evening program, quarter system) on Monday. I’m not sure for what yet, but I’d like to get a literature class.