Where has the semester gone? I’m not even sure where to start when discussing this class. At the beginning of this semester, I was a little nervous because I am used to a lot of obvious structure in my classes and in my life, and I was a bit intimidated by all of the projects discussed in the syllabus. But because of my experiences in this class, my life as a learner, reader, writer, and teacher have all changed for the better. Over the past sixteen weeks, I have especially loved researching topics that I developed a passion for, learning from fellow students rather than just getting lectured to, and finding an appreciation for unique grading styles, and contemplating my life as a writer.
- Research and Personal Growth
One major aspect of this semester was individual research and growth. Out of the three major topics I researched, the one that had the most impact on me was reading and writing. I chose this topic because I have always loved reading, and writing has always been something that has just coincidentally been a part of my favorite subject. It’s been something I’ve just always had to do. In my high school experience, reading and writing have always been separate in the classroom. We read and took quizzes on specifics of what we read, and we perfected five-paragraph essays. I think if we want students to find real meaning in reading or writing, they have to be connected. I know I’ve written or mentioned this topic a lot in my blogs, but it has made a huge impact on my learning and my thinking about my future classroom.
- Learning Together
I also loved the process of learning from each other. We weren’t lectured on the contributions of scholars throughout history and then tested on them which may have happened in a “normal” classroom. We each had the chance to dig deeper on a topic we found most interesting and/or were most passionate about and then shared our findings with the rest of the class. I loved getting the chance to pursue what I was most interested in while gaining a broader understanding of other figures and topics. I found this learning so much more meaningful than traditional classrooms settings.
Something else that has been weighing heavily on my mind lately is this class’s grading format. For another class, I had to read an article on grading, and it just got my brain going on the topic this week. The article focused on the harmful effects of grading, and how students will normally do the least amount of work they can to earn a grade they find acceptable. I’m not going to lie, at the beginning of this class, I was a little confused why we weren’t getting graded on all of our assignments, but it makes complete sense now. Without a grade, we have to put as much effort in to satisfy ourselves, not a grading scale. In this format, we don’t learn for someone or something else; we learn for ourselves.
- My Life as a Writer
Preparing to write the blog entitled “My Life as a Writer” may have been the longest I have stared at a computer screen without typing anything. I think this may have been the most important part of this semester. Teaching writing means also having a life as a writer. I would expect someone who teaches piano lessons to also play frequently, so why should it be any different with teachers? This class has taught me that to be a writer teacher, I must be a writer. More importantly, it has taught me that I can be a writer which may have been the hardest, most beneficial lesson I’ve learned.