Chris and I had a chance to discuss our Inkshed proposal over the
holidays. Here's where we are now.
First, Chris says he will be able to rearrange his life in order to attend
the entire conference, so we could present at any time.
We have revised our original idea somewhat. Now we would still plan to
begin with some inkshedding in response to the following prompt: When you
first began teaching, what were your goals for the class and your values in
terms of the subject/students? Where did you get these goals and values?
Instead of a three-act presentaion, we now propose to carryon a dialogue.
Chris would prefer not to read from a finished script, but iam more
inclined to have a quite structured piece. Your input here would be very
helpful. We could, of course, fit our presentation to the time allotted.
Here's a rough outline of what we have so far. We are in communication via
e-mail, and Chris will be home for a week in April, so we can finalize our
C: So what did you do in the war, Mom? When you began teaching, what were
your goals and values?
B: Goals? To prove to the students that I was smarter than they were.
B: Values? Well, I taught three sections of freshman english at
Memorial. The course was designed and administered by someone else. I
didn't give much thought to values, only to being unnnoticed in case of
complaints. I was, however, surprised to discover that I had modelled my
teaching style on that of one of my profs at Trinity who asked questions
and waited for answers rather than telling us everything. I found it
frustrating as a student, but that's what I did as a teacher.
C: Ah! funny you should say that (relates similar experience with poetics
course and advice from mature student)
B: I didn't see it as being tough; I guess I saw it as valuing the
students' response and validating their ideas. Mybe I did have values
C: did you ask students questions directly? Did you single them out with
specfic questions? What did you do when someone couldn't or wouldn't
B: Ouch! A painful memory is of saying to a student "I'm afraid you don't
understand the poem" then later, having forgoten my comment, asking her a
question to which she replied "I'm afraid...." Well, you can guess the
C: OK, so everyone knows how bad you (we) were, how have we improved?
What are our goals and values now?
B:Well, I'm in a completely different space, a community college rather
than a university teaching language rather than literature concerned more
with process than product. (Elaboration possible if necessary) I hope I
value students more as people now even though I see myself as more of the
expert in the classroom. What I need now are ways to keep it all fresh for
C: It's still fresh for me -- too fresh sometimes. I don't want to
reinvent the wheel. In the poetics course I taught last fall I had lots of
values and few specific goals. I wanted to incorporate a
feminist/political critique, but my assumption that the students would
share my values was not borne out by my experience. My only substantial
goal was to not run afoul of department regulations.
We want to conclude by asking: What would you like you goals and values to
NB Since I have been the recorder, so far there's more of me, but we will
have more balance in the final version.
What do you think? Will it fly? feedback is welcome!
Happy new year.
Betty and Chris Holmes
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Ann Beer wrote:
> Hello Betty. It is so good to hear from you, and especially to hear
> from you with what sounds like a unique presentation! As these are
> early days we do not yet know about how much time could be given for
> your workshop, but certainly it seems a perfect one to include. Please
> keep us posted as you and Chris develop the idea. I am forwarding this
> to Jane who may want to add comments too.
> Best for now Ann